Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fragments: Ed Schubert & Living Life

Over on Magical Words, Ed Schubert discussed "How to Get Books Published". He ends with a wonderful line:

Relax. Have fun. Make friends.

I'd add: work hard. I see it as more than a formula for getting published, but rather a formula for success. Sure, I could assume luck but the above rules seem much more controllable.

The common theme in the books Ed Schubert has books is networking, but not the high-pressure horror stories of stalkers at conferences, but the slow ways we build relationships over time. It is these relationships that in the long term matter. This advice is as important in my dayjob and my life as it is in my writing.

Everyone finds different routes to success, unfortunately, I seem to choose the hard routes. In swimming, I never developed a smooth effortless stroke, but powered myself through the water with brute force and sheer determination, not setting any records, but providing stalwart performances.

I worked hard, but it was more than that. Spending hours in a pool requires friendship and fun. I remember the coach opening the doors on a cold winter morning, and turning off the lights so that we swam in the fog. I remember water polo.

Years later while swimming with a Masters team, I remember the blue moon swims and the friendships one develops with the other swimmers in your lane. These were the people that pushed me to succeed. If it hadn't been for the fun, friendships, and hard work I would not have won a Most Improved Swimmer award.

How to live your life: relax; have fun; make friends; work hard.


  1. I've never taken the easy route either, so I do believe in working hard. I do hate the word 'networking' when really just 'making friends' is something I do better. The former implies wanting something in return, which always leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

  2. I agree, I don't like that form of networking. It always has that slimy false feeling and I don't do it well.

    I think what I liked about Ed Schubert's discussions was that his experience seemed to imply that one could just attempt to be friendly and honest and that this would work better than attempting to get something out of the experience.

  3. I do like the idea of being able to be informal and genuine as a legitimate means of networking. Probably, that's a more effective technique than the hard-sell networking.

    But I don't think it's any easier to do this sort of informal networking than it is to do hard-sell networking. It still takes 1) access to the right people (You can't informally interact with someone if you're never around that person) 2) at the right times and 3) at the right places.

    And that's a hard formula to balance.

    In some ways, I think that takes more than just hard work. It takes luck.