Friday, April 29, 2011

What Glass Ceiling Will You Break?

We have to be different to be noticed. Otherwise, what's to notice? All too often, we cringe at stepping outside the norm such as:
  • Writing about abnormal sex
  • Writing about family in memoirs
  • Writing about religion in a negative light
  • Writing about werewolves that fly and vamps that can't
  • Writing literary instead of commercial young adult fiction
  • Writing about killing animals
  • Writing in first person in one chapter and third in the next
Whatever it is, it's not what "they" tell you to write in order to be accepted. Unfortunately, in your effort to conform and land an agent, publisher, bookstore or educator's nod, you compromise item by item. No rules breached. Nothing unique. No glass on the floor from you busting out of the room and through the glass ceiling.

When we think of glass ceilings, we recall the 70s, when women strove to bust out of the lower and middle ranks into corporate headquarters as other than a secretary. The unwritten rule was that their place was in a support role, not leading the pack. One by one, the most daring women rose to be different, often alienating other women in addition to the men in charge. And they broke ceilings.

Every work we publish ought to break some ceiling - cross some rule - be different. When someone asks you what makes your copywriting business, novel, children's book, play or journalism  unlike all the rest, what can you say? If you can't put your finger on it, you fall back into the sea of mediocrity.

Bust out. Be someone the public knows how to describe, even if they can't remember your name. Because you know what happens when you break that glass? Who knows? The sky's the limit!

NOTE:

Hope is presenting "How to Find Grants and Financial Resources for Your Writing" - a Writer's Digest Webinar on Thursday, May 5, 1:00 PM Eastern - This presentation is jam packed with links, resources and ideas on how to turn writing into an income-earner...to include grants!

6 comments:

BECKY said...

Oh, WOW, Hope!! Although all of your blog posts of advice and support and encouragement are wonderful, this one really spoke to me this morning!! Look out world, here I come!! :)

BECKY said...

P.S. My word verification on the above comment was "Bilev". Coincidence? Just another way of spelling "Believe"!

Sally said...

I agree completely but getting published outside the norm can be difficult. Hachette Book Group is starting a new imprint;

http://livelearnwithsally.blogspot.com/2011/04/publishing-times-they-are-changin.html

for a fresh, non-traditional perspective. I'm hoping those who are writing to "break the glass ceiling" will find a home, or at least a place to rest, there.

Hope Clark said...

Can't see resting in this business. It's in a constant state of flux. I think resting is equivalent to retirement.

Kristi Bernard said...

Love your posts. They are always so encouraging and informative. Thanks.

Karen Lange said...

Good food for thought. I think we need to challenge ourselves, always, to think outside the box. On my to-do list for next week: Bust out.
:) Have a good weekend!