Becoming a Juggernaut of Faith

Howdy word Olympians! I'm competing in the coffee drinking and "most deletions of the word 'it'" duathlon this week. I'm thinking I'm a shoe-in for Gold... What are you competing in? :)

*QUICK NA LIT CHAT UPDATE*

The debut of the New Adult Lit chat last week can only be summed up as a massive freaking success. We had lots of smart authors and passionate readers chiming in the entire hour (and then some). You can read a transcript of the chat HERE, which will give you an idea of the types of things we chatted about.

And we don't just chat NA. We had tons of discussion on the finer points of YA, and what distinguishes NA from it. As such, this week's chat will be a nice carryover: WHY IS NA NOT YA OR ADULT? The chat will be at the same time/place: This Thursday, August 2, 9 PM EST on the Twitters. I'll be joined this week by author Victoria Smith of the NA Alley Blog. (Be sure to check 'em out if you haven't already. Fun group of ladies!)

A MASSIVE THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO HELPED PROMOTE THE CHAT!! Seriously, this thing was so hot we were actually trending on Twitter Thursday night. That only happened because so many of you Tweeted and blogged about it before hand. It helped so much, and any help you give in getting the word out for future chats is also mucho appreciated. Really hope you can join in, too.

A JUGGERNAUT OF FAITH

My last few posts have centered around the writing journey, and what it means (to me) being on the threshold of something (publication) I've struggled with for a very long time. I talked about the nervousness in wading through the final wave of editorial revisions. Then, I discussed the transformation in mindset, writing, etc. that had to happen for me to get where I wanted to go (here).

Yesterday, I was treated to a near-final version of my very first book cover. Had my name on it and everything! :) Not bragging, but it's beyond flippin' sweet. I'll definitely be sharing tons more on that in future posts, as well as tell you all about the cover artist I'm working with. She is ridiculously talented, and just as sweet as honey.

But for today, I'm going to continue with the theme of why and how we put ourselves through all of this. Mostly because seeing that cover has me convinced, more than ever, that I'm doing the right thing. Writing is what I love to do, it's what I need to do. I haven't wasted my time, not a second of it, and you haven't either.

But to see the payoff, you're going to need an unstoppable faith.

I'M GOING TO NERD OUT NOW, STAY WITH ME ...

There's this character in the X Men comic book series named the Juggernaut. He's a real baddy. Basically, he finds this ruby-gem-thing (with a rich, nugget filled evil mystical-being center no less) that possesses him, giving him superpowers. As his name suggests, he becomes unstoppable.

Physically speaking, he's completely indestructible. The Juggernaut can run through walls, walk through fire, repel explosions, and fall off of a building and never get a scratch. On top of all that, the gem made him a giant, hulking man with super-strength--he throws cars around like they're toilette paper rolls or something. AND he's got a nasty streak two-miles wide.

Now, as you can imagine, this is one tough opponent. You can't beat him up. You can't slow him down. Essentially, you just have to get out of his way. But, in true comic book fashion, he does have a single, glaring vulnerability. His mind.




"FAITH CONSISTS IN BELIEVING WHEN IT IS BEYOND THE POWER OF REASON TO BELIEVE." ~ VOLTAIRE

When you aspire to write professionally, there are many things that will build your resolve, and twice as many to strip it away. Seemingly, for every line of encouragement left on your blog, you'll get an entire letter full of rejection. For every paragraph of right, there'll be pages of wrong. After years of practicing the craft, when you think you've figured out what and how you should be writing, you'll read something that confirms you still have no clue.

To anyone on the outside looking in, I'm sure that all seems daunting and depressing. But to a writer, it's just what happens between breakfast and lunch everyday. A writer has to embrace failure. We have to breath it into our lungs, cough it out, and breath it back in. Why? It teaches us to have faith in the process, in our abilities.

I equate it to the tear gas training they do in the military. In basic training they shuffle everyone into a room filled with tear gas. When you enter, you're wearing your gas gear (mask-ventilator, etc.), then, on command you remove your gas gear. You stay in the room for a short period, exposed to the gas, and then you're allowed to leave.

Sounds horrible, right? It is! Your eyes burn. Your throat burns. Snot and tears leave your body in rivers. So why do it then? It's the military, so they're probably just trying to toughen people up. Nope. Then they want expose you to the gas so it doesn't freak you out if you ever encounter it in combat. That's not really the point, either. They want you to trust your gear.

There's no way to fake exposure to tear gas. If you've ever been in it, or around it, you'll know it. By keeping their gear on, and then removing it, the soldiers are very aware of how that gear protects and insulates their bodies. So, if the time should come in battle when they're asked to don their gas gear and charge into a cloud of toxicity, they'll do it without fear. They'll have faith in the process, in their equipment, and just do what needs to be done.

"FAITH IN ONESELF IS THE BEST AND SAFEST COURSE." ~ MICHELANGELO 

The Juggernaut is very aware of his only weakness. He wears this special helmet to protect his noggin. Not that he's worried about a concussion or anything, as his head is just as indestructible as the rest of his body. No, he realizes that the X Men have a couple of telepaths on hand, and his mind is vulnerable. His helmet keeps them out of his head.

Ultimately, he's always defeated in the same way: Someone strips him of his helmet, others slow him down (never completely stopping him, mind you), and a telepath turns out the lights.

I'm suggesting, to get where we want to be as writers, our desire to succeed has to be unstoppable, like the Juggernaut. I even think we share his one weakness. Our minds are vulnerable, so we must put on our helmet, our faith, to protect it.

We just have to be cautious about where we place that faith.

We can't put our faith in industry changes and fads. Those things come and go. We can't put our faith strictly in the advice of publishing professionals. They aren't always right, and their perspectives and goals will never be 100% your own. Similarly, we shouldn't put too much of our faith in other writers. We all have our own unique journey, and what works for one, doesn't necessarily work for all.

What we need to put our faith in, is ourselves. To get remotely close to "doing this", I've learned that it takes an incredible belief that I'm doing the right thing. That I'm eventually going to figure it out. That I can push myself beyond anything I've seen, or done, before. And that I can do it time and time again.

There have been so many times in the past 4 years I've thought I'll never see my name on the cover of a book. I'll never write anything anyone else will want to read, much less pay for. I'll never get the opportunity to see a story in print, because I'll never get an agent. 

A belief that I COULD do this--if I worked hard enough, if I wanted it bad enough, if I sacrificed enough--is sometimes all I had. I think I'm realizing that faith is mostly all I ever needed.

~EJW~


33 comments:

  1. wow what a great post. I read it so carefully hoping you had the answers... only to discover I had them all along. lol.

    Congrats!!!! Excited to read you.

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  2. It's like true motivation - it must come from within.
    Can't wait to see the cover!

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  3. Congratulations! It's true, writing is such a huge mind game. If we have faith in ourselves, everyone else has a reason to believe in us, too. :) Great post!

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  4. I liked it in the third X-Men movie when Juggernaut was chasing Kitty Pride (I think that's who it was).

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    1. Ah yes, the X-Men movie that shall not be named. Really was a dud compared to the first two. But I loved the newest one!

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  5. Hey, E.J.:

    Speaking of bookcovers, I've got one now.

    Shelly
    http://secondhandshoesnovel.blogspot.com/

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    1. Woot! Totally heading over to check it, Shelly. :)

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  6. I'm glad your cover is all awesome and stuff :) Even for those who make their own covers, there's something awesome about seeing the finished product :) or even an early mock-up. hehe

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    1. I wish I was good enough to do my own, Trisha. But I think you're right. For any author, regardless of publishing format, seeing that cover for the first time absolutely rocks. :)

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  7. Congrats on your cover. Yep, it's all about being strong in your belief! Way to go!

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    1. Thanks Liza! Confidence is so fickle, and so important, too. Doesn't seem fair at times! lol

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  8. Your posts are always so inspiring, it's like a shot in the arm just reading them. I'm so impressed with what you have accomplished with the NA group!
    Huge congrats on the book cover, how exciting! I can't wait to see all you hvae to share. :)

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  9. Great post, EJ! Belief in self. It all starts - and ends - there. Thanks for the reminder.

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  10. Wow! Now that was encouraging! I think I needed to hear that. Thanks for the advice on self-publishing you left on my blog too. :)

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  11. Aloha E.J.,

    Congrats on all the good news and wow, you were even trending... that's sweet, man :)

    Well done, and don't stop now!!!

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  12. Yes, congrats EJ on moving forward and trusting your gear! :D
    Wow, a cover...how cool is that!
    I so needed to read your post today...I have had one of those weeks, so far. Everything seems like a struggle. Physically I am in pain and I can see my writing is quick and messy, probably like my mind, lol. Where is my helmet? lol

    Today I received some rejected art. I was kind of blah, blue. My horoscope said to keep a list of what makes me feel at home in the world...words, writing besides art and other things. Thanks EJ for sharing your view. It made me feel at home ;D

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  13. Excellent post! Very inspirational words and advice! You are right that we have to believe in ourselves. I always think that if I don't believe in myself then nobody else will.

    Congrats on the cover- can't wait to see it and also wishing you much success with your book. :)
    ~Jess

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  14. Stopping by from FMFB. I hadn't heard about the NA Lit Chat - hopefully I can catch the next one. Congrats on the cover!

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    1. Hi Kimberly! Thanks for checking out my blog. :) We'd love to have you at a future chat!

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  15. Great post like always E.J. I think determination is something important too. My husband did that gas thing in the military and he tells me about how horrible it was but I also hear the sense of accomplishment in his voice and the pride. Congratulations on the new cover--can't way to see it.

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  16. Great post, EJ! Bravo.

    I've always liked the Juggernaut, even at times when he's straddling the line between hero and villain. My favourite story with him is a two part Spidey story pitting the two of them against each other.

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    1. Yes! That's my favorite, too. The ones with the awesome Todd McFarlane art?

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  17. EJ, you're not only a writer, you're a writers' cheerleader. You make everybody see we have to stay the course....

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  18. AMEN, BROTHER!!! That's all I have to say about that. ;)

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  19. Great post! It definitely feels like a blind faith - we have to believe we're doing the right thing and know we're getting better, even if it doesn't always feel like it!

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  20. When it comes to writing, belief in yourself outweighs talent, it's that important. :)

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  21. You are so absolutely right. We must put our faith in ourselves. I cannot imagine the feeling of seeing your own book cover with the title and your name on it. Way to go!

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  22. I swear both of our emotional journeys parallel each other... for whatever reason, your words speak exactly what I'm feeling... it really is quite uncanny... but I love it, because your words really resonate with me. LOVE your posts!!!!!!!! <3

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  23. Good day! Would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook group? There’s a lot of people that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Many thanks

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    1. Hi there! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Can you tell me a little more about your group and how you'd like to use my blog? Thanks again. :)

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“Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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