Publishing Isn’t for Sissies: But you absolutely MUST whine…

You hear it all the time, how hard this writing and publishing thing has become. Or whatever else your thing is, you know what’s making your journey impossible. ”Suck it up,” everyone says. “It’s just business.” And they’re right. Life isn’t always easy. Sometimes you have to say, “‘Tis,” and battle on. But other times, you need to whine. If you don’t let the frustration and anger and disappointments out, how will you know what’s most important to you and what’s worth waging your epic battle over?

epic battle cuteness

I mean, you need to have a plan, right? Beginning with a goal, so you know what you’re staying in the fight for. When it gets ugly and you want to quit, your battle plan is all you have to keep you going. Make the battle simple and clear, and about what’s most important to you. And your army must be filled with those who see your vision most clearly.

pez army

How do you give yourself all of that, if you’re  not honest about what you’re fighting for. If you’re not whining with clarity ;o)

My full proof plan for whining with purpose and pride, whatever your battlefield ?

  1. Begin with a tantrum. A completely out of control moment where your barriers are down and there’s nothing left but what’s driving you round the bend and the people who’re willing to stand beside you, calmly watch the meltdown, and be there when the dust settles to help you pick up the pieces.
  2. Dig beneath those real emotions for the core conflict that sparked your freak-out. What’s being threatened that’s so near and dear to you, you can’t let it go, no matter how irrational your instinct to rebel? That’s your nugget. That’s the invaluable part of you that you feel powerless to get/protect/preserve/make thrive.
  3. Now, leave the irrationality behind, and suit up for battle.
    Why the powerlessness? Who says you can’t do anything about getting/doing/protecting what you want–besides you? Here’s the “suit up” part of my plan. You know what you really want now. Beneath all the sort-of goals and easier expectations you’ve placed on yourself, THIS is the real deal. How can you make this happen?
  4. Recognize, honor, and ‘rally round your team. Those people who are with you no matter what, no matter where, no matter how ugly it gets. Your superheroes. Your crew. Equip yourself for battle by owning what you want and how you’re wanting to get it–with yourself first, and then with your team. Selling it to them will help you grab hold of the reality of what you’re embarking on. You’ll feel stronger, by being honest with others about what might seem an insane goal, and by seeing those you trust shrug their shoulders, look at you like you’re nuts, but say, “I’m in,” regardless.
  5. Keep being honest while the battle rages. With yourself. No minor pouts or digging your toes in the dirt and crying, “Not fair!” This is war, and war isn’t fair. But your intentions are pure. Your goal is sound. Your plan is in place and can weather any setback that comes, ’cause you’re focused on the end game. And your team is there, through it all, making sure you don’t feel alone. Don’t cop out while you’re in the kill zone, giving into emotions that don’t help after you’ve worked so hard to prepare for battle. Fight!

go team

See, whining is a valuable part of the process. It’s our souls, crying out for what they need, begging us to pay attention to the core of what we can be, instead of the day-to-day details we tend to distract ourselves with.

Whine as much as you need to, to discover what your epic fight should be. Then arm yourself for battle. And if you need a kick-ass teammate, one who’ll calmly watch you whine in the midst of your war then tell you to leave the emotion behind and get back to work, I’m available. As you might imagine I’ve been there myself a time or two.

“And what’s my epic battle?”

  • For me, it’s finding the soul of why I am what I am (a writer and a teacher and a creative artist who’s limited myself too long to being what others thought my talents and skills said I should be).
  • For me, it’s fighting for the stories I should be writing, rather than what’s most easily sellable. It’s working in publishing however I’m most needed in the moment, and in whatever capacity I’m most successful, so I can help put my teenager through college in the next few years and still feel my creativity thrive.
  • For me, it’s keeping my eye on the long-game: books being published, books that are uniquely me and the very best emotional, inspiring, entertaining journeys I can give a reader; authors learning and growing and creating because I’m lucky enough to be there to help them; a publishing community where I’m at home being who and what I am professionally, rather than feeling like an outsider because I’m wasting energy appearing to be something else.
  • For me, it’s growing the team of people and personalities and support that will get me to that victory, a team where I’m helping my comrades get where they need to be, too. Because for me, it can’t be a zero-sum game where only the ruthless win. Only the golden child gets the best of the best. We’re all in the same war, and the spoils should be enjoyed across the board. There’s not just one way to win. My way is simply my way, and I’ll fight to the death for you to find yours.
  • For me, it’s NOT about being right or being respected as being recognizied for having the only answer. It’s about empowering myself to do what’s right for me, and helping others discover the path that’s right for them. Enough with the threats and isolationism and us-versus-them and protecting ourselves from the change others are inflicting on our worlds. Do your business, fight your war, but stop fighting other people as if they’re your problem. Your problem is your own fear and need to scream that it’s not fair, yet you’re not willing to throw down the way you’re going to have to, to level the playing field and battle on your own terms.

And how do I know all this?

Because every time I deviate from my battle plan, any time I let myself feel weak or alone or powerless to change my fate, I’m the one throwing a tantrum. Any time I don’t want to take the next step I need to, because I’m tired and I’ve taken thousands of steps already and it’s time for this to be easier, I’m the one whining. Because I have a team around me that allows me to feel frail as often as I need to, to take a closer look at where I need to be strongest.

Whining is my clue to look inward at who/what my real enemy is, settle down, cling to my team, and get back in the fight!

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