I had the opportunity to attend Madeline Hunter’s workshop “Surviving Almost There.” One of her main points was “the closer you are, the greater the temptation to quit.” My husband puts it another way: “races are won in the final 10 yards” (spoken like a former track runner, huh?)

“Surviving Almost there” was a fabulous workshop, and I can’t begin to communicate all Ms. Hunter managed to pack into the 45 minutes or so the session lasted. If you are a conference attending writer and you have the chance to experience this workshop, I highly recommend going. I imagine most aspiring writers take away from it what they most need to hear at their current stage and what I remember best was Ms. Hunter’s advice to assume you are going to sell, put yourself on a professional writer’s schedule, keep writing complete manuscripts and learn contracts.

Sometimes it’s so easy to read articles about the falling sales in bookstores or the pending bankruptcy of some once-lauded publisher and allow that information to stir the pot of unease. “Who am I to think I could succeed?” the mind whispers. Ms. Hunter gave me an alternative to that track-to-nowhere: stop divining and start being a professional. Ms. Hunter isn’t the only one dispensing such advice. This morning Jason Pinter tweeted: Author Tip of the Day: there’s too much info available to be uninformed about the publishing industry. Learn the business you’ve chosen.

I think it’s empowering advice. I’d rather be empowered than dismal & depressed, especially when in the stage of almost… not quite… a little to the left/right….

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