Friday, June 27, 2008

Be prepared!

We’re about a month into hurricane season 2008, and so far, things have been fairly quiet. The season generally kicks into high gear in August and continues through November, so we’re on guard. I have a box filled with hurricane supplies, like flashlights, batteries, a windup radio, and a few other essentials (lipstick, powder, mascara, wet-wipes, etc.) I still need to buy some jugs of water and canned goods.

It’s good to be prepared in every aspect of our lives. Our spiritual preparedness is ongoing. We prepare our children for the real world by making sure they’re educated and have a working knowledge of being good citizens. We prepare for marriage, jobs, and having children. Life is full of preparations for something.

When I first started writing, it didn’t dawn on me to prepare for anything other than the submission at hand. I used the proper format and wrote what I thought was an excellent story. Then I mailed it. What else did I need to do?

Um…quite a few things, actually. I should have done a much better job of researching markets. I needed to have a better understanding of what constitutes a great story. And I needed to prepare my ego for the rejection. Yup. My first and the next dozen or so submissions were rejected, and every single time, I was floored and confused.

Then I discovered there were workshops, classes, and books on writing. Not being one to give up easily, I pounced on every bit of information I could find. I practiced and had people critique my writing, until it sparkled. Then I submitted some more.

An amazing thing happened. I sold my first book to Avalon on October 6, 1999, and my first novella to Barbour Publishing a week and a half later. I now have a bunch of books and novellas in print.

As for the hurricane preparation, I’ll get everything we need for the season. I’ll even make sure we have enough gas in our cars to get away from the coast if needed—even at these crazy fuel prices. I'll also check the National Hurricane Center website periodically to see what's brewing. But still…hurricanes have been known to do the unexpected and go inland, so we’ll just have to do the best we can with what we know. And pray.

There are still no guarantees in anything outside God's promises through Christ—from hurricanes to publishing—but I’m convinced that all my preparation has set me up for whatever success He thinks I should have.

What are your goals? What have you done to prepare?


Carla Capshaw said...

Hi Debby,

You're so right, there is so much to do to prepare.

Having recently sold my first novel, I can look back and see what I wish I'd done to prepare. I wish I'd had my website up, my Myspace and plugged away harder on those stories I started, but gave up on too soon. Now, I'd have more manuscripts to pitch to my editor. lol

As for hurricanes, don't forget the tarps and the battery operated fan. :-)

Super-Mommy (aka Carrie) said...

Haha. I think about preparing for childbirth, but it's kind of an oxymoron. Can one REALLY prepare for childbirth? Even the second tima around it's all new again :)

Debby Mayne said...

Carrie, you're so right. With each child comes a new experience. How's Reilly? Is he excited about having a new baby in the house and being a big brother?

Janet Spaeth said...

I love that in your list of requireds are lipstick, powder, and mascara. LOL!

Do I ever know about the unexpected in my life! I think that what we need to do is to be strong enough to endure whatever kind of storm that comes our way.

I have a lot of goals, but they've obviously changed within the past two years. And they're still changing and developing. One of the hardest parts is getting advice from every corner--and determining what is sturdy advice and what is personal opinion. Everybody knows what I should do--except myself! LOL!

Debby Mayne said...

Hey, Janet! Isn't that the truth? I never know what to do until after it's too late to change my mind.

As for the lipstick, powder, and mascara, a girl's gotta look as good as she can, no matter what kind of storm hits, right? Just so you know, I AM talking about waterproof mascara.