Wall Building: Guest Post by C. Hope Clark

Happy Monday!   I spent a great weekend at the Missouri SCBWI Advanced Writers Retreat.  As always, it takes me a bit to process what I’ve learned.  Not to worry.  I’ll be blogging about that later.  To tide you over, here is a guest post by an amazing author, C. Hope Clark.  This first appeared in her newsletter Funds for Writers (April 18, 2014) If you aren’t a subscriber, you are missing out on many opportunities.

Hope is the author of the Carolina Slade mysteries — a must for mystery fans.


A couple of comments in emails, on Facebook, and yes, even in person, made me sad this week. When a person was confronted with an opportunity, they spoke first about how they could not do it. Without flinching. Without a thought about trying to find a way to learn.

They are building walls across a flat piece of ground that could lead to success.


“I am afraid to publish because I don’t understand the difference between self-publishing and traditional.”

“Darn, I don’t know how to write a short story to enter that contest.”

“Someone will tell me I’m bragging if I tout my writing in public.”

“I’m afraid someone will steal my idea.”

“I don’t have enough money to publish.”

So many writers see the obstacles before they envision the opportunity. They feel the pain before they get injured. They flinch before they are pricked.

As I told the Nebraska Writers Guild last week: “Go ahead and be afraid. Go ahead and hold back, fearful of what to do next, because that just gives me and all these other people the chance to pass you by and make something of ourselves.”

Whatever you think, do, or hold back doing, takes energy. You can infuse your energy into being proactive and learning how to proceed, or you can expend your energy worrying about what might go wrong. With the first, you might gain headway. With the second, you get nowhere.

Make a decision, then pursue the solution or march toward the goal.

Read short stories and learn how to write them. Study the difference between publishing opportunities until you are comfortable in your choice. Decide if you’re worried more about publishing or what people might say about you. Dare to submit, realizing the odds of someone stealing your work is miniscule. Save your money or start a crowdfunding project on Kickstarter.com and earn the money you need.

There are options. There are opportunities. But you have to reach out for them. They do not come to you.


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