HABIT 4: Think Win/Win

Or, Opinions are like assholes: everyone’s got one.

The human race is a competitive lot. Word Wranglers are no exception, even with the mainstream acceptance of self-publishing via Amazon and Create Space and whatever the latest whirligig is. Find a large group of people going “squee” over something, and you will find its detractors. Find the detractors, and you will find trolls, haters, bullies, and other SIS-ies: critters suffering from Severe Immaturity Syndrome. They’re usually flinging poo, and there’s always at least one.

We’re an emotional lot, as well. We don’t, as a rule, handle rejection well, no matter how well we think we’re prepared for it. Rejection sets us on the defensive, and as soon as we’re on the defensive, we’re not listening, because we’re already marshaling our arguments. And in today’s world of the Dire Interwebz, and Everyone’s Gotta Blog blogs, everyone now has the wherewithal to share their viewpoints with said world.

Word Wranglers don’t just put our opinions out there, though. We put our stories. Products of blood, sweat, and tears. Pure, raw emotion that comes with a desperate, sometimes unhealthy, need to be liked. Our hearts soar into the sky with one acceptance, but then turns super nova with a rejection, or bad review. Up, down, up, down, up, do—Jane! Stop this crazy thing!!

Word Wrangling is especially frustrating because even with e-Publishing and readers opening up the world to a gamut of stories that might never have seen the light of day through traditional publishing methods, there is still a mentality that there is limited space available for the number of Wranglers out there to have their voices heard. And when we’re rejected, it goes right to the heart. We lost. Someone else won, and all their dreams will now, no doubt, come true. But we’re back to the drawing board, not sure if it’s even worth the effort. It’s like reading about that already wealthy octogenarian you read about who wins the lottery. Twice.

The Habit of Think Win/Win comes down to engendering good karma. About giving as well as taking. About creating a sphere of influence that will pay back our efforts tenfold on the next go around. There are three basic tenets:

  1. Integrity: sticking with your true feelings, values, and commitments.
  2. Maturity: expressing your ideas and feelings with courage and consideration for the ideas and feelings of others.
  3. Abundance Mentality: believing there is plenty for everyone.

Pretty straight forward, right? And it goes both ways, being generous of spirit regardless of what end of the spectrum you’re on.

The perfect example of this is Neil Gaiman. Read his blog sometime. Generous and sweet with fainting fans, so grateful, at his level of uber-doober success, for his good fortune. Yet it can cost upwards of eleventy billion dollars to book him, three-to-five years in advance, for a half hour speaking engagement. Why? Because he’s a writer. His readers fully expect him to be writing, so we can reap the benefits and head-exploding joy a new Gaiman project always brings us. And he obliges, humble and lovely every step of the way.

But there’s only one Neil Gaiman, you say. (As far as we know. Probably only Great Cthulhu has the right of it.) But before he became The Neil Gaiman, he already embodied the values he displays today. Word Wranglers should begin as they mean to go on.

Why? Because this is a tough biz. Whether you’re working diligently as Bob Cratchett on Christmas Eve without coal, have gotten one acceptance or a hundred or none at all because you’ve just put your first word on your first piece of paper EVER, it never gets easy. It’s difficult enough, don’t you think, without getting flak from fellow Wranglers? Every time one of us breaks through the Great Publishing Wall, on whatever scale, shouldn’t all of us be cheering them on EVERY GORRAM STEP OF THE BLOODY, SWEATY, TEAR-STAINED WAY?

Your task today:

Find another writer. Hug them. Virtually or physically.

Then hug yourself. You both probably need it.

Next Time: Habit 5—Seek First to Understand, Then Be Understood

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