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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Take Chances, Make Mistakes, Get Messy

Today my good friend Gina Conroy is here guest posting... I love Gina- we've had some pretty fun adventures together. What I love about Gina and this post is that she speaks to a lot of what I'm going through right now... trying so many things that are completely outside my comfort zone but knowing that it's good for me to be challenged so I can learn and grow.

Here's Gina:

Who can forget that beloved Ms. Frizzle who inspired her class to “take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!”All but play-it-safe Arnold loved Ms. Frizzle’s fieldtrips that took them to places they’d never been before, often leading them into scary and unfamiliar territory. But oh the adventures they had! Even Arnold would end up enjoying himself when he finally quit focusing on the danger.

Sometimes I feel like Arnold, wanting to remain in the comfort zone, showing my work only to safe people, people I know will love it. But to go places I’ve never been before (like publication) and to experience the excitement and wonder of taking chances (getting a contract,) I first need to get messy and not dwell on the mistakes I’ll make (writing my manuscript.)

The other day before I sent my proposal to my agent I reflected on Ms. Frizzle's words again and felt a bit like Arnold. I’m still only learning to write a first draft without editing the whole thing as I go. It’s not easy to leave my mess on the page and move on. It’s not easy to see mistakes in my plot and know I must plow forward before I go back and fix things. And it’s not easy to take chances and hit send on my words before I believe they’re ready to be viewed by professional eyes.

But that’s what I did. I hit send on my proposal to my agent because ACFW conference is in few days, and I’d rather look like an idiot in front of him, than in front of an editor. It’s not easy to get feedback on our mess, but it’s necessary. In fact, it was my agent who once told me “you can’t fix nothing!” So I figured he, if anyone, would understand my mess!

When his email response came, I took a deep breath, then hesitated. Then dove into the email, taking a chance, again. To my relief he said, “my writing is really good.” Of course, he pointed out a mess I needed to clean up before I showed an editor, but I took a chance. and I’m glad I did. Now I can move forward with a little more confidence than before.

Are you taking chances or are your messes and mistakes keeping you from your next adventure?

About Gina

Gina Conroy used to think she knew where her life was headed; now she's leaning on the Lord to show her the way. She is the founder of Writer...Interrupted  where she mentors busy writers and tries to keep things in perspective, knowing God's timing is perfect, even if she doesn't agree with it! ;) She is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, and her first novella, Buried Deception, in the Cherry Blossom Capers Collection, releases from Barbour Publishing in January 2012. On her blog Defying Gravity and twitter she chronicles her triumphs and trials as she pursues her dreams while encouraging her family and others to chase after their own passions. Gina loves to connect with readers, and when she isn’t writing, teaching, or driving kids around, you can find her on Facebook and Twitter.


Beth said...

Making messes... I do, occasionally, make messes. And sometimes, I'm just idiot enough to not know I'm making them. LIke a recent submission of a short story to an editor who asked for rtf and times new roman.

So excited, I sent my doc. in calibri or whatever Word is defaulting to nowadays. I also realized that my pages weren't numbered and I had no header with my name and the title.

This on a manuscript that I'd had critted and beta read, so I knew it was good. I just wasn't sure the editor would see past all the stupid, newbie mistakes i'd made in my rush and excitement to get it out.


And now, for the rest of the story... he liked it! :D

Danica Favorite said...

That's awesome!! And yes, it's amazing the things editors will overlook for a good story. NOT that we shouldn't follow the rules or do our best, but they're not going to chop your head off. :)

Gina Conroy said...

Bethanne, sometimes messes become masterpieces and isn't it wonderful when someone sees past the mess to our potential!