Mark Terry

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Control

June 3, 2008
I'm flying out to New York this evening so I can spend tomorrow in meetings with a new client, then flying back tomorrow night. I was stressing a bit. As usual, my biggest issues have to do with actually getting to the airport, getting into the terminal, getting my ticket, getting through security. Once I'm there, I'm generally fine. 

In this case, the client bought the tickets (we spoke with the travel agent together on the phone), booked the hotel, and has arranged for a driver to pick me up at the airport and deliver me to the hotel. All very nice, but it's the first time I've done things this way and I was freaking out a little bit. I'm much happier when I'm taking care of the details myself. Yes, maybe I'm a control freak. Why do you think I became a freelance writer?

As usual, I'm my own worst enemy.

I solved most of this problem by deciding to give myself an extra half an hour to get to the airport and by bailing out completely on the idea that I can land at Detroit Metro Thursday night at 6:04, get to my car and drive home to Oxford (about 60 miles) through late rush hour traffic in time to catch my oldest son's band concert at 7:00. I kept holding onto the possibility I could even though, like, I'd need a series of miracles or a Jet Pack to make this happen. And I relaxed a lot when I abandoned that idea. (Sorry, Ian).

In other words, I took control of what I could and tried to forget about the rest.

Ahem. Is there a writing lesson here?

Okay, yes, let me give everybody some advice. (With the oft-repeated caveat, advice is pretty much worth the fortune cookie it comes in). Maybe I'll even try following it myself.

Focus on what you can control--the writing--and stop stressing about everything else. Stop freaking out about getting an agent, about getting published, about marketing your novel, about making a good impression on your favorite agent's blog, about how much money marketing your novel costs, about the shitty state of the publishing industry, about layoffs at Borders and the continued crash of independent booksellers, about how fewer people are reading today, whether you should write thrillers instead of mysteries or paranormal romance versus supernatural romance because the market's better/worse/nobody knows.

Jettison that crap. And hurry!

Focus on the thing that's most important.

Make your writing the best it can be. And let everything else take care of itself.

Cheers,
Mark Terry

10 Comments:

Blogger Erica Orloff said...

Amen.

E

8:52 AM  
OpenID eric-mayer said...

What Erica said!

9:06 AM  
Blogger spyscribbler said...

Gawd, there's a lot of it going around this week, isn't there? As much as I want to be published by NY, I have a real hard time swallowing how the business goes for authors. I hope Forbes is right about the tipping point, and I hope authors manage to stick to 30 - 40% for e-publication. I'm sorry, but I have a real hard time swallowing less.

So, yeah, after reading all that last night, this is the perfect post to read this morning. Thank you!

9:26 AM  
Blogger kitty said...

I think Dr. Leo Marvin said it best in his book Baby Steps.

...

9:46 AM  
Blogger Lisa R. said...

Or, stop complaining and write it already!

11:28 AM  
Blogger Stephen Parrish said...

'Bout time somebody said it.

12:30 PM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Best advice I've heard in a long time.

1:25 PM  
Blogger Aimless Writer said...

Good post. I think I needed that.

Wave as you fly over-I'm in NJ across the bay from NYC! When I hear a plane I'll wave and think of you.

NYC's a great city.

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Amy Nathan said...

The food? That's an East Coast portion! I grew up on the East Coast and have lived all over the country, Chicago for the past 10 years. No one fills a plate like someone within a day's drive of the Atlantic Ocean.

I think it's the air.

6:38 AM  
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