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Monday, October 1, 2012

WSG 24: Expand Your Bubble

Writer's Survival Guide 24: Expand Your Bubble

Writer.

So many labels apply to that word.

Introvert. Creative. Sensitive. Unrealistic. Starving. Wealthy. Smart...

Bubble 2
Photo by Ali Smiles

Unless you have a writing partner, one label stands out. Independent.

Writers have to be independent. No one is forcing us to write. We do it because we want to--because we're independently motivated.

But with that independence comes a side-effect. It's true, no one can do the hard work of writing for us, but too often we drift into a bubble, a bubble of one.

When I'm in a bubble, I miss out on opportunities. I get closed into my own small world. I see things through narrow eyes. I miss the big picture. And my writing suffers for it.

Recently, I expanded my bubble. I reached out to a few writer friends who I'd become lazy with. I purchased a new book on the writing craft recommended by a good friend. I took a workshop from one of my favorite authors. I Skyped with a friend to practice pitching my book. I listened to advice from an editor. I added "Make the Effort" to my goal list.

All of these things were outside of my comfortable bubble. But they improved my writing life. The friends I reached out to strengthen me regularly. The book on writing is giving me new ideas on how to keep the middle of my book lively. The workshop refreshed my knowledge of story structure and the inner journey. The Skyping session gave me confidence to pitch my book. And the advice from the editor came in time for me to tweak my first chapters before it's sent out to the world.

Sometimes expanding our bubbles is hard. Sometimes we don't like what we hear. We wonder why we even bother. But every time I take a chance, I feel better about myself. :)

How do you expand your bubble?

Have a lovely Monday!

37 comments:

  1. I do. And I just did (this weekend), after making the decision to write not only YA, but also New Adult novels. But my NA stories would be SP. I have no intention of SP my YA ones.

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    1. Wow, congratulations, Stina! It's exciting to try a new direction--good for you!

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    2. Taurean, SP means Self Publish. :)

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    3. Thanks. Can't believe I didn't figure that out.

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  2. Love this advice, Jill! It's the stuff that truly pushes us to succeed and this is why I've always believed in you. You don't settle...with others or for yourself. You are constantly looking for ways to improve--this is an admirable quality!
    ~ Wendy

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    1. Thanks, Wendy. I admire you. You've helped me push out of my bubble so many times! :)

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  3. Ohhhh. Our comfortable bubbles. I, too, have been expanding friendships and doing new things that stretch me, both as a writer, and as a Christian. It's exciting to see how God stretches us in the midst of challenges.

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    1. Good point. Stretching isn't always easy and we don't always want it! It's worth it, though. :)

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  4. When I read someone's blog that I really like, I email that writer and let him/her know. And it's not one of those "Hey, I like your blog, here's the address for mine" kind of emails. It's a genuine, "I really like your stuff. I'd love to know more about you" emails. I don't do it to rack up my contacts or anything like that--I just figure that I can learn so much from other writers and I'm always looking for ways to be taught.

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    1. What a kind gesture, Lindsay! I love that you go out of your way to spread joy. Nice!

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  5. I have been known to stay in a bubble too. I try to do many of the things you do and also to be more available to those around me. I can get closed off when honing in on JUST ME.

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  6. So true. This year at conference I tried to concentrate less on pitching and more on building relationships with writing friends, editors and agents. It made this year such a wonderful and positive experience!

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    1. I'm so glad! It's too easy to get caught up in the "celebrity" feel of conferences. You're so down to earth and nice to be around--I loved hanging with you!

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  7. Wow, couldn't agree more Jill! Last year I found myself getting caught in my own little writer's bubble. I forced myself to step out and volunteer at my kids' school and a soup kitchen. Both experiences opened my eyes. We can't write if we don't experience life, right?

    Great post!

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    1. So true, Heidi. We can't write if we don't experience life. Couldn't have said it better!!

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  8. Uh - SO TRUE! That's what the ACFW conference was about for me. I'm still working on moving outside my bubble:)

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    1. Aren't we all, Susan? :) ACFW peeps make it easier, though, don't you think? :)

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  9. It's exciting and scary to step outside that bubble! I'm prioritizing, setting goals, connecting better with people, and trying to invest as much as I can in my son, who is growing up and away from me so quickly!

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    1. It really hit me this summer how much I want to invest in my kids too. They are growing up! And I love that we're close--I want to hold onto that as long as possible. You can never invest too much in your kids! :)

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  10. Oh dear...I'm feeling guilty here! LOL I love my bubble. It's so soft and warm and protective.
    I should step out though. I do with the family but often I just want to go back to my bubble and live there.
    Good stuff, Jill! Thanks for sharing and I hope I get up the guts to do this (like meeting with writer friends, etc).

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    1. I love my bubble, too, Jessica! Sometimes life is too much and we need our bubbles. But other times, we know we need to make them a little bigger. :)

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  11. Kudos, Jill, on e-x-p-a-n-d-i-n-g your bubble. I'm glad you've reaped the benefits of doing so.

    I like my bubble, but I force myself to stretch it at times. Just yesterday, I was the guest at a book club meeting. I only knew the hostess, but I had fun getting to know the other ladies and made a valuable connection.

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    1. You're good at stretching your bubble! I'm always impressed with how active you are with writers. Wish I could have joined you at book club!

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  12. Great to see you're expanding your bubble!

    In the last several months, I've expanded my bubble by going to local ACFW meetings and joining a local critique group. Much of the time we don't even critique work, but just encourage each other and help each other follow through with goals--which is exactly what I needed!

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    1. That's awesome, Cindy! Having local writers to connect with makes a huge difference in my life! I'm so glad you've found a local group!

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  13. I started attending lectures of Willamette Writers last year. I love being surrounded by other writers and listening to the speakers.

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    1. Ooo, love the name! I always learn something when I listen to writers speak. What a blessing to us that they are willing to share!

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  14. You are really moving along. I love all of these ideas. I haven't expanded my writing bubble, but I did do a new twist in my greeting cards. I took some arty black and white photos and I want to incorporate them somehow.

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    1. Cool, Nancy! I get excited when I try different approaches. The black and white photos sound great!

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  15. Oh yes, I get stuck in the "me" bubble. :) One of the best things I ever did was go to a My Book Therapy retreat. My writing bubble was instantly expanded. :)

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    1. And with My Book Therapy, your bubble expanded to a new level of fun! Those ladies rock!

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  16. Ooh, I really like this, Jill! Good for you for getting out of your comfort zone. Looks like you are really making progress! Tell us how the pitch turns out, okay?

    Hugs,
    Kathy

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    1. Thanks, Kathy! I really like trying new things and meeting new people, but sometimes it feels like too much work! I'm always glad when I stretch myself. ;)

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  17. I've been expanding my bubble. I'm connecting with a few writers, and learning some new writing tricks.

    Great post, Jill.

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  18. Seriously, anyone, WHAT does "SP" mean?

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