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Getting Published: Persistence and Believing in Yourself

June 28, 2010 by in category Blogs

This morning a friend sent me a link to a blog post that stated that the secret to getting published is not persistence, as I always thought, but believing in yourself. My friend’s purpose in sending this to me was to remind me to have belief in myself–not to get published, but to remain published.

I remember being an unpublished author, striving to improve my craft, going to the conferences and the writers’ group meetings, submitting my work and getting rejected. For six years I kept at it until finally, on January 26, 1998 I got the call. Suddenly I was a published author.

I had never thought beyond that moment. My goal was to get published, and I accomplished that. Now, twelve years later, my goal is to stay published. And that is not as easy as it seems, especially in this shaky economy where New York is tightening their belts and not giving out offers to established authors as often as they used to.

If you think becoming published means you know everything there is to know about writing, think again. The stakes are raised every time you submit a proposal to a publisher. Submission does not get any easier once you have sold a book. Each book has to be better than the one before it, so you need to keep learning and growing. Getting published the first time is no guarantee you will continue to publish.

So, you say, how do you stay published then?

Before today I would have said persistence. I would have told you to stick to it until you made it happen. But then I read the email from my friend, and I realized that persistence is only half the battle. The other half is believing in yourself.

Persistence is easy. You can do the work and the research; you can write the book. But how is that persistence going to help you get the attention of an editor or agent? That is where believing in yourself comes in.

Opportunities will arise in your journey toward success, and your job is to recognize those opportunities and have the confidence to grab them when they come your way. Go to a conference and meet that editor you are interested in. If you can’t get an appointment, then attend her workshop and maybe speak to her afterwards. Believe in yourself enough to pitch your book to your dream editor (or agent).

Persistence is a necessary evil if you want to become published or if you want to stay published. But believing in yourself will always put you on the right path, where luck and opportunity will be able to find you.

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“Break Free From the Slush Pile ” with CJ Lyons

June 26, 2010 by in category Blogs

Online Class

July 12 – July 24, 2010

Enrollment Information at http://www.occrwa.org/onlineclassJuly10.html

This is only a 2-week class.

COST: $10 for OCC members, $15 for non-members

If you have specific questions, email occrwaonlineclass@yahoo.com

ABOUT THE CLASS:

Join award-winning medical suspense author CJ Lyons as she explains the secrets to successful pitching, tips to engage an editor or agent through your query letter, and reveals the creation of a high concept.

CJ has received requests for manuscripts every time she pitched. She’ll help you feel more comfortable during your pitch session and more confident with your pitch. This workshop will help you polish your query letter, create a pitch, and prepare you for meeting an agent or editor.

About the Instructor:

As a pediatric ER doctor, CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about. In addition to being an award-winning medical suspense author, CJ is a nationally known presenter and keynote speaker. She has been invited all over the country to present her workshops and speak to audiences ranging from physicians to first responders to romance and thriller authors including: Colorado Fiction Writers, Oklahoma Writers Federation, the University of South Carolina at Beaufort, RWA National, MWA’s Sleuthfest, Lowcountry RWA’s Master Class, Left Coast Crime, and PennWriters, among others.

CJ’s award-winning, critically acclaimed Angels of Mercy series (LIFELINES, WARNING SIGNS, and URGENT CARE) is available in stores now with the fourth, CRITICAL CONDITION, due out December, 2010. Her newest project is as co-author of a new suspense series with Erin Brockovich. To learn more about CJ and her work, go to http://www.cjlyons.net/

Enrollment Information at http://www.occrwa.org/onlineclassJuly10.html

COST: $15 for OCC members, $20 for non-members

Coming in August 2010–
“Understanding Men”with Dr. Debra Holland

Do you wish you had a better understanding of men? Now is your chance to improve your real-life relationships with men and enhance your male characters all through taking the same course. This will be a five-week session with new material that this award-wining romance writer, who also is a noted psychotherapist and consultant, has developed on how male sexuality affects responses, attitudes and behaviors.

http://www.occrwa.org/onlineclasses.html.

 Check out our full list of workshops.

Want to be notified personally two weeks before each class? Be sure you’re signed up for our Online Class Notices Yahoo Group! Sign up at the bottom of http://www.occrwa.org/onlineclasses.html  or send a blank email to OCCRWAOnlineClassNotices-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

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Isabel Swift on Sports Clubs–what’s is all about?

June 24, 2010 by in category Blogs tagged as

What works for you?

OK, I’ll admit it. I am pheremonally challenged. Sadly, I do not possess the trait that gives me the ability to be filled with whatever delightful pheremones happen to other people that creates voluntary repeat exercise-seeking behavior.

Not only are those those pheremone-blessed types gung-ho, but any shared exercise experience inevitably ends with that fatal (but perhaps actually genuine) earnest post-exercise question: Wasn’t it good for you? Don’t you feel great/less stressed/filled with energy (whatever)?

No. No I do not. I feel tired and usually sweaty and smelly. The sweaty and smelly part does offer me a sense of achievement, of course. I must have done something! But the tired part doesn’t allow for much enjoyment.

I go to a class because it’s the only way I can make myself exercise. You have to turn up at a specific time. And the many laughably impossible things you are asked to do by the lithe or muscular instructor are viewed through a humorless haze, for in a class, you can irrefutably see that these activities are, in fact, doable.

Of course, I don’t count the instructor–clearly a being from a different planet–though the fact that s/he can do all the activities and talk at the same time does give one pause. But all around you are people like you. Younger, older, fatter, thinner. Remarkably, all of them seem to be able to do the activities.

It becomes very clear very quickly that they are impossible…only to you. Nothing like a little quiet peer pressure to put one on notice. The activities and expectations are, alas, not inappropriate.

Whatever.  But even for me, the experience can be better or worse, and I was thinking about what made a difference.  I’ve developed a simple draft list of suggestions for instructors. What works for you?

#1. Music:

Having the music link with the movement, so I am moving to the beat.

Amazingly, many instructors think of the music as a kind of background noise.  They know they are supposed to have music, but they don’t know how to use it.  Total waste of a major asset!

If I am exercising to the beat, it makes me feel like I’m dancing, not exercising. Much nicer! It gives me something other than tiredness and pain to focus on.

Some instructors have actually figured out specific songs for a particular exercise sequence because the beat speed is right and they actually switch or time changes in their routine to work with a new song. Brilliant. Works for me.

#2. Counting:

Counting in tens–or even eights–to give me a sense of accomplishment (in business language it’s called “celebrate the small wins.”  The concept of peppering progress with step by step achievements to note, instead of saying nothing until the very end when you have either succeeded–hey, great–or failed–too bad).  Three sets of eight or ten just feels more doable than doing thirty repetitions.

Also count DOWN on the last set (10, 9, 8, 7…).  It just feels down hill.  Surely I can make it to zero.  But I may not be able to climb up to ten!

#3. Benefit:

Tell me what I am accomplishing by putting myself through this agony.  Yoga does this a fair bit and others should pick up the concept.  Let me know that this simple, but remarkably painful leg circling is tightening my butt.  That these tedious sit ups are flattening my stomach. That breathing deeply is helping burn calories (really?).  That my tiredness and agony is strengthening my heart, getting me in shape, and is the reason I joined the gym, so no cheating.

#4. Rhythm :


Alert me if we’re concentrating on one area ahead of time, so I feel focussed, not bored. Have exercises flow from one to another, so moving from standing to sitting to lying down feels natural and a progression, not awkward.  Don’t have me standing up, lying down, getting back up, lying back down.  It feels clunky and I think you haven’t figured out your routine.  I should feel energized, rocking & following the beat of my amazing instructor.


#5. Alternatives:

Always offer/encourage alternatives–both easier and harder–for the various movements so a varied class can find a place for themselves.  Encourage everyone to challenge themselves, but NOT to overdo it.  Better to live to exercise another day.

#6. Pacing:
Create segue exercises instead of having a break.  They can help move from one position to another, allow me to catch my breath, to relax, to stretch muscles that have just been worked, or just to keep the energy up between sets of high energy exercises.
#7: Favorite Sayings:
“Haaard Work!” “C’mon Guys!” “Finish up strong!”
#8: Least Favorite:

Anything that sounds authoritarian, bossy, militaristic, competitive (can  you tell I am not always an easy customer?!)

Do you have favorite exercise dos and don’ts?  Things you love/avoid?

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July OCCRWA Online Class — Break Free From the Slush Pile – CJ Lyons

June 23, 2010 by in category Blogs tagged as

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Hi everyone! Check out the exciting online classes offered by the
Orange County Chapter of RWA!

“Break Free From the Slush Pile
with CJ Lyons
July 12 – July 24, 2010

Enrollment Information at http://www.occrwa.org/onlineclassJuly10.html
This is only a 2-week class.
COST: $10 for OCC members, $15 for non-members
If you have specific questions, email occrwaonlineclass@yahoo.com

ABOUT THE CLASS:

Join award-winning medical suspense author CJ Lyons as she explains the secrets to successful pitching, tips to engage an editor or agent through your query letter, and reveals the creation of a high concept.

CJ has received requests for manuscripts every time she pitched. She’ll help you feel more comfortable during your pitch session and more confident with your pitch. This workshop will help you polish your query letter, create a pitch, and prepare you for meeting an agent or editor.

About the Instructor:

As a pediatric ER doctor, CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about. In addition to being an award-winning medical suspense author, CJ is a nationally known presenter and keynote speaker. She has been invited all over the country to present her workshops and speak to audiences ranging from physicians to first responders to romance and thriller authors including: Colorado Fiction Writers, Oklahoma Writers Federation, the University of South Carolina at Beaufort, RWA National, MWA’s Sleuthfest, Lowcountry RWA’s Master Class, Left Coast Crime, and PennWriters, among others.

CJ’s award-winning, critically acclaimed Angels of Mercy series (LIFELINES, WARNING SIGNS, and URGENT CARE) is available in stores now with the fourth, CRITICAL CONDITION, due out December, 2010. Her newest project is as co-author of a new suspense series with Erin Brockovich. To learn more about CJ and her work, go to http://www.cjlyons.net/ .

Enrollment Information at http://www.occrwa.org/onlineclassJuly10.html
COST: $15 for OCC members, $20 for non-members

Coming in August 2010–

“Understanding Men”
with Dr. Debra Holland

Do you wish you had a better understanding of men? Now is your chance to improve your real-life relationships with men and enhance your male characters all through taking the same course. This will be a five-week session with new material that this award-wining romance writer, who also is a noted psychotherapist and consultant, has developed on how male sexuality affects responses, attitudes and behaviors.

http://www.occrwa.org/onlineclasses.html . Check out our full list of workshops.

Want to be notified personally two weeks before each class? Be sure you’re signed up for our Online Class Notices Yahoo Group! Sign up at the bottom of http://www.occrwa.org/onlineclasses.html  or send a blank email to OCCRWAOnlineClassNotices-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

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