What Miley has and aspiring writers need



Gorgeous, determined little Miley is the daughter of my gorgeous, determined niece, Jordan, the daughter of my gorgeous, determined sister, screenwriter Jas Lonnquist, who shepherdessed me into the business of writing. (Thanks to Miley's nanny, Inti, for creating this terrific video.) In these 90 seconds, I see everything a talented writer needs to succeed in publishing.

Vision
Miley has one clear goal. She knows what the shoe is and knows her foot belongs in it.

Tenacity
Frustration and tears don't cloud the vision. Toys and TV don't distract her from it.

Ingenuity
The goal is singular, but she's willing to explore a variety of methods.

Work Ethic
An easy solution is offered. Inti would happily put the shoe on for her, but Miley repeatedly says no. The goal is not having the shoe on the foot. The goal is getting the shoe on the foot. If she takes the easy out, she won't learn what she needs to learn to move to that next box on the flow chart of life. She's willing to accept some expert advice, but staunchly insists on doing it herself.

I recently got a spam email from a self-publishing company that said, "Why struggle with an industry that doesn't serve you?" I felt heartbroken for every aspiring author who buys into the belief that this business - or life in general - is supposed to serve us. Life is supposed to teach us, and feet-to-the-fire struggle is way better at that than instant gratification. I wonder how many potentially amazing novels have been stunted by the idea that they could or should enjoy some imagined shortcut to glory.

Miley is missing one element. She hasn't quite figured out exactly how the shoe works. But she knows it's not magic. She knows it's possible. She knows it's her destiny. And she's one breath from success.

Comments

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I love this! Thanks so much for sharing!

Another writer in the family?
Elen Grey said…
Miley's got some serious game going! Great post, Joni.
Suzan Harden said…
Dang! How do I get my innocent vision back?

You go, Miley!
Thanks. I needed to hear that, especially the last part, especially right now. It's spring and so many of my cohort are already publishing, already finding tenure track teaching jobs. There's even one person with a huge advance. I'm not really jealous of them, exactly, but just wondering when my time will come. And wondering where they will be in ten years when something doesn't go according to plan.

God I sound awful, don't I? I really am happy for them. Really.
Suzan Harden said…
You gotta let it go, Kathryn. I know it's hard. I know it sounds like I'm delivering a crapload of platitudes. I know you want a chance to shine.

You will. It just takes faith, hard work and a little chocolate.

I'm eating a Godiva dark chocolate raspberry square right now.
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Jordan the Girl said…
Miley is flattered that she can be an inspirational figure! My mom always said that my stubborn nature was my most frustrating trait as a child but would be one of my greatest assets in adulthood. I think Miley is a chip off the ol' block, and I hope she'll do things greater than I ever could have imagined! We love you, Aunt Joni!

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