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Achieving Goals May 18, 2014

Posted by lycan librarian in writing.
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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA We all have goals. You can call them aspirations, dreams, hopes or ambitions, but all those words represent the same thing – a place we want to get to. Many of the most successful people in the history of this world have attributed their achievements to persistent, raw determination and an unshakable belief in their ability to reach that ultimate destination.
My goal is to be a successful novelist. I am already published but my agent had his own goals, and they didn’t include my success, so I had to move on and am presently looking for a new agent. Today major publishers don’t work directly with writers to acquire books, they work only through literary agents. The publishing industry was hit as hard as any other by the recession, so fewer books are being published and agents are being extremely selective about the clients they take on. I have been on the agent search for about two years, which sounds like a long time, but it isn’t when you consider that an agent can take months to respond to a query and even longer to review a full or partial manuscript. Agents can get hundreds of queries a day and it’s anyone’s guess how huge their reading piles are.  workshops, conferences and book fairs, and their first responsibility is to their existing clients, so patience is a must. I once read a blog where a writer said that in the submission process, three months feels like three years to a writer and three days to an agent.
Recently I have advanced a bit in the process; from receiving just rejections to receiving rave rejections. My latest novel is getting personal comments from big agents in the industry about how lyrical my writing is, how good my plotting and character development is, how exciting the story is and even how marketable it is. Then comes the “but” – the reason they chose not to accept the book. This is the cryptic part, as the reasons can range from “It wasn’t what I expected,” to “It doesn’t fit my list” or “I didn’t connect with it as I had hoped to.”
These rejections can’t be taken personally. All art, including telling stories, is very subjective. Think of the best sellers you’ve read that you didn’t finish or wondered how they got such terrific reviews. How many times has your favorite television show been cancelled while the one you couldn’t sit through even one episode of went on for six or eight seasons? Consider that Herman Melville, Franz Kafka and Edgar Allan Poe were all considered failures in their lifetimes. Great artists such as Van Gogh, El Greco, Cezanne, Manet, Gauguin and Vermeer suffered the same fate. So was the difference between them and those who knew success in their lifetimes simply how they directed their determination and the way they felt about themselves?
My goal is to get those “buts” I am receiving eliminated and find the perfect agent to represent my books. I feel I have been doing everything I can to accomplish that, but we all sometimes need outside help. Timing and luck are also factors so a writer needs every advantage they can get. I have turned to a  life coach to coach me so I can achieve clarity, focus, ease and grace. She says she can help people grow beyond their normal stopping points and navigate the obstacles that might be in the way. She will give me the tools to achieve my goal, but I’m the one who will have to put the energy and time into using them. She will keep me and my mind focused so I keep my eye on the end result and don’t drive myself crazy with those self-limiting conversations that filter so easily into my head. She will give me support when I need it and make sure I think and act in a positive manner. She will help me see things differently and, most importantly, she will show me how to fully believe in myself and my work. In my first meeting with her, she already made me realize I must appreciate the achievements I have already made and that writing a novel, in itself, is a great achievement.
Life coaches aren’t cheap, so I lucked out. I am being coached in return for writing articles about the experience in the local paper I write for, and I will be posting them all here as well. It’s a pretty rural publication, so will give you city folks a chuckle. You can check it out at http://www.middlefieldpost.com. (That’s me, the little shit, in the photo above in a publicity shot for the publication with two coworkers.) I hope, that through these articles, I can inspire others to not only define their loftiest dreams, but to reach out and act toward achieving them. We all deserve to be the best we can be and to feel great about ourselves and our lives. We already have the power to do so within us, but the trick is to learn how to release and utilize that power.

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