Friday, November 11, 2011

If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster

If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster.” - Clint Eastwood

I love Clint Eastwood. Tell me he directed a movie, and I'm there. There's something about his self-assurance. Even at 81 years old, he's a presence. If you read anything about him,you realize he liked to take a stand and strike out firmly with it. He makes a goal and pours 110 percent into it. Most writers fear doing so, in need of guarantees or assurances that their attempt will reap reward. Risk isn't in their genes.

You may say that Clint Eastwood can afford to take risks. Once up on a time he couldn't afford it. And he's a huge  believer in instincts and being true to yourself. I actually got caught up in his bio, because it showed quotes from him along with many of his beliefs, again, demonstrating a man of substance.

People love it when those in the limelight take a tasteful stand on subjects, admitting who they are, without walking on the heads of those without the same opinion. As I stated earlier this week, it's a Live and Let Live attitude - knowing who you are while accepting who others are.

But taking stands can be pricey. You may commit to a vampire novel, because you have this unique take on the breed like they hover or can read weak minds yet not strong ones or can swim underwater during the daylight and be protected from the sun. Or they run for President, or form a union, or run the largest international bank which impacts the entire global economy. However, when you mention it's a vampire book, you instantly receive winces, because the character has been done so many times in so many ways.

Do you continue with your project, taking a gamble? Or do you follow through, fearless that you will make this formula work?

Other un-guaranteed moves as a writer:

1. Hanging the shingle as a copywriter without a string of clients.
2. Entering contests.
3. Pitching to an agent at a conference.
4. Submitting to a New York agent who has Pulitzer writers in her stable.
5. Writing a story your family will not approve of.
6. Writing about a subject that will make people wonder about you.
7. Self-publishing and scheduling a book tour.
8. Renting a booth at the state book fair.
9. Changing from mystery to romance, regardless of what your mother thinks.
10. Signing up for a writers retreat that requires you to produce a story by the end.
11. Attending conferences and sitting in on an advanced class.
12. Approaching an editor, shaking hands and introducing yourself.
13. Speaking to a writers group.
14. Cold-calling businesses and offering your services.
15. Writing on something that makes you cry, then submitting it.
16. Admitting you are an author to friends, relatives, acquaintances, business people . . . the world- and not a person who writes on the side.
17. Submitting to a national magazine, three times.
18. Writing your bio and make yourself sound amazing.
19. Pitching a column to ten newspapers, purporting you are an endless fount of material.
20. Posting comments on blogs of famous editors, authors, actors, editors, columnists.
21. Asking for a fee that is representative of what you're worth.

Confidence gives you power. Not confident? Them the appearance of confidence gives you power. Those you address see it as the same thing, plus eventually you learn to believe it. And that sensation opens doors to way more opportunity. People like to affiliate themselves with the self-assured.


widdershins said...

I love that quote from Mr Eastwood too.
... in other words, fake it 'til you make it!

cyclingrandma said...

Once again, an inspirational post, direct and pithy.
Thank you. I've created a file on my desktop for you columns.

Jen said...

Perfect timing, Hope (as usual). I have a big job interview today and really needed to hear this. Thanks.

D.G. Hudson said...

Rowdy Yates never lost his cowboy wisdom. I'll see that new J.E. Hoover movie mainly because Clint directed it and DiCaprio is the main actor. They work well together.

As I went through your list, I noted how many of those actions I've done and which I might be likely to do in the future.

We all have different comfort levels, but I agree - occasionally stepping outside of that 'guaranteed zone' will help us gain in confidence.

That's a great list, Hope.


There's a quote that goes something like, "Better to say 'Oh well' than 'I wish I would have.'" Besides, I've already got a toaster. :) Great post.

Julie Hedlund said...

LOVED this post. Thanks for the inspiration!