Tip #11 in the “Art of War for Writers” from James Scott Bell is: To keep from turning off those who can publish you, you must not be desperate.
Bell shares a couple of rather unbelievable stories of desperation at work (an anesthesiologist pitching an editor while the editor is giving birth!?!) Bell writes: “There are many ways a writer can give off the scent of desperation. And believe me, agents and editors can pick up that scent from a distance of 300 hundred yards. When they smell it, they mentally spray themselves with repellent that puts up on instant protective shield.”
I was sharing with a good friend recently about my faith-adventure of taking an extended leave from ministry to write, and how I was entering the marketing phase of my work. My friend is an exceptional musician and singer, and he wrote back with some wonderful advice. “Let your persona lead ahead of your work. You are not like the various emotionally-fragile disasters [that agents] have had to try to deal with in the past. You’ll show up on time, you can be trusted, you won’t be hung-over or high. You are committed to success. Not desperate, but determined.”
Those are really good words, and I hope you’ll take them to heart as well. Not desperate but determined. Desperation comes from despair. Despair feeds off of fear. And fear is birthed when we stop trusting in God, and decide we need to take things into our own hands. That’s not a good place to be in for an artist. So make sure you work first on your relationship with God before you work on your art. Offload all that fear and despair onto him. Then get back at it.
Bear Clifton is a pastor, writer and screenwriter. His blogs and devotionals can be enjoyed at his ministry website: trainyourselfministry.com and his writing website: blclifton.com. Bear is the author of “Train Yourself To Be Godly: A 40 Day Journey Toward Sexual Wholeness”, “Ben-Hur: The Odyssey”, and “A Sparrow Could Fall”, all available through Amazon.