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What Nadal and Federer’s Losses Can Teach You About Winning

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I love watching tennis and look forward to smaller tournaments as well as the Grand Slams. With the third slam of the year underway at Wimbledon, I was hopeful Roger Federer and Serena Williams would be the ones left standing at the end of it all. When Rafael Nadal went down in the first round, I must admit, some bit of me was happy, seeing it as one obstacle for Federer being moved out of the way.

But then Federer went out in the second round.

Boohoo!

Big names are falling all around Wimbledon right now — Maria Sharapova is out, Victoria Azarenka is out. One of my dark horse favorites on the men’s side, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, is out; and he reached the semifinals of the French Open a couple of weeks ago.

So what does all this have to do with your writing career?

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5 Poverty Traps of Good Writers

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So you’re a good writer. That’s great. Is that earning you any money? Being able to write well and earning money from it are two entirely different things. It would be nice if fortune followed the talent or hard work, but alas. Fortune follows the smarts and execution. You can be a so-so writer who has marketing smarts and you can make a very good living. Or you can be a hugely talented writer who never can quite close the sale. Unfortunately, it happens.

Make sure you’re not falling into these poverty traps and robbing yourself of the writer’s living you crave.

#1 You’ve Bought Into the Idea That Selling Is Dirty or Not Artistic

Many writers loathe selling. They feel it demeans their work or somehow makes them less creative or artistic if they actively engage in sales behavior. Do they want to sell their work? Of course, but not at the risk of “looking” too much like a salesperson. If this is you, you need to check that attitude. Selling is what you do every day, whether you know it or not. You’re selling someone on your talent, your ability, even your credibility. Every sentence you write, every word you utter is about selling something. Sometimes it’s about selling your truth — you are sincere in your speech and strive not to say anything false. In doing so, you are selling to the person listening that you are trustworthy. If you audition for a part or go to a meeting to land a new project or client, you are selling to the other person that you can fulfill the requirements set forth. If you date someone and hope it moves toward marriage, you are selling the idea that you are the right one. If you threaten your kids within an inch of their lives, you are selling that you mean business. You don’t have a problem selling then, do you? So why do you have a problem selling your work?

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Rewrite the Story of Who You Are

time-for-action-420Unfinished novels are tucked away on his computer. His blog hasn’t seen a new post in months. Writing contest deadlines come and go.

He promises himself he will write.

He wants to.

But doesn’t.

If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. I’ve gotten a flurry of emails lately from people on the Writer’s Living mailing list who feel a bit stuck. They want to write, long to be called writers, dream of selling something one day.

But they live in disappointment and frustration. It seems that everything in life is teaming up against them, to keep them from writing: The kids need attention, the day job is super demanding, the house needs a good cleaning.

It’s not those things that are keeping them from a writing career, though. It’s them.

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Why You Need to ‘Hurt in Your Talent’

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“Use what talent you possess. The woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best.” — Henry Van Dyke

 

Who wants to sing when Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, or Beyonce are belting out tunes? Not many of us would feel confident to stand next to them and raise our voices. But you know what? Many singers of lesser talent do perform and make a very good living. They’ve figured out something that can help you in your career: Success isn’t for only the great.

If you aspire to write, or sing, or speak, or paint, or anything else, but kind of hold back because you don’t think you’re as good as the most widely known or the undeniable greats, then get a bit of confidence. You don’t have to be great. But you go out there and work your butt off and find an audience all the same. You can produce your own best effort and find that people want to hear from you, too. And in the process, you may just become great.

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Champion Wrestler Robles, Born With One Leg, Is ‘Unstoppable’

Born with one leg, Anthony Robles became an elite athlete and accomplished an amazing feat: He became the 2011 NCAA National Wrestling Champion! The former Arizona State University athlete has won many other honors and awards, including the 2011 NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award. He was a 2012 inductee into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Now a speaker, Robles has written a recently published book that talks about how he chose to become Unstoppable.

NUP_145508_0465.JPGWL: Why did you choose to share your story in your recently released book, Unstoppable?

Robles: I wanted to share my story with others because I believe we all face challenges. My life was never perfect and I had plenty of obstacles but through it all I was able to make it out on top. I am hoping that by reading my story, people can walk away with a sense of hope and a recharged belief that anything is possible.

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What a Tennis Match Can Teach You About Being a Successful Writer

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My husband and I went to play tennis recently after weeks of being away from the court. If we get a few consistent days of play in, I can do pretty OK. But if there is a gap, it’s a tough road. This past time when we returned to the court after a gap, it was no different. I was losing. Down 2-4, I could almost see the future. Just two more games, and I’d lose. As usual.

But then something happened. I decided I was not going to lose. I was going to win. Sure, my opponent had more skill. And he had technique. He could talk about what to do to make a certain shot. Me? I could play, but I couldn’t conduct a clinic on shot selection or anything.

But what I could do was dig deep. My mental strength would have to compensate for my physical limitations. That, and the fact that he was nursing an old injury — the reason for our hiatus from the court. So I decided to make it all work for me.

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13 Nifty Moves for Writers Who Want to Succeed in 2013

It might be a little hard to see past the singing, partying, gifting, and celebrating of the holiday season. But see past it, you must. If you’re a writer who wants to be successful in the coming year, it’s time to do a wee bit o’ planning to help make next year start off a bit more smoothly.

Here are 13 nifty moves for writers who want to succeed in 2013.

1. Get something completed.

You’re not a writer unless you write. Forget the writing forums where you spend your time discussing the nuances of a writing career or railing against the popular misuse of “a myriad of.” Forget the writing groups where you forever meet and critique other writers’ work. Forget even the creative writing classes where you always seem to be in a constant state of revision. Forget all those things that seem to interrupt your flow. Just. Get. Something. Done. Make that a priority in 2013. Maybe you have five unfinished manuscripts on your hard drive. Maybe your blog dashboard is littered with post ideas that haven’t quite been fleshed out. Maybe the notebook next to your bed has a half dozen not-quite-there poems. Whatever it is, just complete something.

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The One Thing You Can Do to Become a Successful Author — Now

News of the potential merger of Random House and Penguin — likely reducing the number of publishers vying for authors’ works — is enough to send authors into hand-wringing depression as they bemoan the tightening industry that has already seen smaller book deals. But this merger doesn’t have to mean bad news for authors.

If anything, it’s a kick in the pants.

That’s because you can take this news as the inspiration you need to actually take charge of your own writing career. You don’t need a Big Six publisher to be successful. You don’t even need a small or mid-sized publisher. What you need, are the smarts, hard work, and good products to make it happen. In other words, you need you. Publishing success comes down to you, not whether some far-away publisher has deigned to grace you with a book deal.

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How Bad Writing Helps You Get Better

The woman was there to bury her sister and her niece, who had been murdered by the husband.

Lives cut short, so short.

And then she had to deal with me, a young reporter who had telephoned to do an interview about this news event for a story to run in the paper the next day. My question? “How do you feel?”

Her answer? A quick, biting, “How do you think I feel?”

Amazingly, she didn’t hang up on me.

Stupid reporter.

I somehow managed to stumble all over myself, my words pouring out of my mouth like wild children racing from the schoolhouse at the end of the day. They had no direction, no focus, probably very little understanding of the moment.

That was at the start of my career and was one of the worst interviews I’ve ever done. I can’t remember if I was an intern or if I had just started working full-time at my first professional newspaper job. But what I do remember is how awful I felt after that interview and how terribly I messed it up. Who asks a woman on the day she is burying her sister and niece, “How do you feel?!”

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