In Pursuit of Excellence (Part 1) we asked how could we, as authors, pursue excellence?
We pursue excellence in our writing by:
• Preparing the mind
• Building towards excellence
• Realising excellence
Today we will explore how to prepare our minds for excellence.
PREPARING THE MIND
• Self-examination: As authors, we need a strong ego to survive the rigorous journey towards publication. But, as far as our writing goes, we need to put those same egos aside. We must put the needs of the story and the reader above our ego desires. That means when an editor, a critic, or a reader tells us something we don’t want to hear, we need to develop the ability to examine our inner self, as well as our novel, objectively.
Perhaps the results of this self-examination will be that you disagree entirely with the critic. But unless that decision is based on a healthy self-belief rather than a distorted ego, the chances are you won’t be able to accept constructive criticism that can help improve your story’s excellence. The irony of a writer’s self-examination process is that we need strong egos to be able to transcend the emotions engendered by criticism, but we also need enough humility to accept and use any valid criticism.
• Distraction Control: How many times are we distracted from our writing goals by Facebook, blogging, our work, our families, and even by life itself? We need to find ways to discipline our inquisitive writer’s mind so that its focus can be on the writing. There will always be outside distractions that have us cutting corners and hurrying through a set of revisions so that we can fetch the kids or finish that big work project.
Distraction control requires enough good old fashioned discipline to allow us to meet our personal writing goals despite the vagaries of life. Who knows when the next goal we strive to meet will be a deadline for a publisher? Part of excellence in writing is having the ability to meet goals and deadlines. No excuses, and no distractions, allowed.
Can you think of any other ways in which we, as writers, can prepare our minds for excellence? If you can, share them with us in the comments section and tomorrow we will look at how to build towards writing excellence.