Why “Keep Moving Forward” Is My Best Advice For Writers Everywhere

PhotobucketGIVEAWAY: I am (again) excited to give away a free copy of either the 2013 Guide to Literary Agents or Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript, 3rd Ed., to a random commenter. Comment within one week; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. Good luck to all! (UPDATE: Chad Lynch won.)

Keep moving forward. That is probably the best advice I can give you as you continue toward your writing goals, whatever they may be. Just keep moving forward.

2011 was a strange year for me. The first eight months seemed to be filled with near-misses and small disappointments concerning my writing. Things just weren’t going my way. I vented to those who would listen; my wife and literary agent both told me they could take no more so I started complaining to the dog. (If he listens for five minutes, he gets a treat.)

But then, in a span of 45 days in the fall of 2011, I had a flood of good writing news. I formally sold the film option and Japanese language rights to my first humor book about garden gnomes. My new freelance editing business is off to an amazing start, and I’ve helped lots of people so far with their queries, synopses, and manuscripts. I sold a new book on writing called Create Your Writer Platform (released fall 2012). And I finally sold my second humor book — a fusion of funny dog pictures and political humor called Red Dog / Blue Dog: When Pooches Get Political (summer 2012).

So much happened in a span of weeks — all of it amazing news. And I attribute it to one simple thing.

I kept moving forward.

In my opinion, the most frustrating thing about writing books is that so much is out of your control. It’s crazy. You can’t control which editors will connect with your book and which won’t. You can’t control what an agent’s mood will be like on the day they review your query letter. You can’t control when your book will be considered “timely” and part of the pop culture conversation (and therefore a valuable project). You can’t control when an editor or publicist assigned to your book will get laid off, or when your agent will retire. You can’t control when Amazon will make a pricing decision that forces your publishing house to decrease the print run of your book. You can’t control if foreign markets or Hollywood will buy rights to your book. You can’t control whether some staffer at EW or Vanity Fair or wherever has a bit of time one day to pick your book out of their “to review” stack and take an interest in your work. You can’t control when another title in the marketplace will be a breakout hit and direct readers to your book because they have some kind of connection.

You can’t control any of these things! All this stuff will drive you mad if you let it.

But there is a way to keep your marbles. The way I personally stay sane is to focus on the things I can control. These include 1) always writing the best work(s) I can, and 2) always building my author platform so that I can control my personal visibility as well as a bit of my sales, no matter what external circumstances bring. But the most important thing I do, in my opinion, is 3) I keep moving forward.

My latest humor book idea was rejected? I vent to the dog then brainstorm more concepts. A blog post fails to generate interest? I punch a pillow then sit down to write two more. 10 people don’t return my e-mails? I write to new contacts and tell myself it’s a numbers game. A writers conference cancels my trip suddenly? I reach out to another one. My first screenplay didn’t turn out the way I wanted? I’ll write a second one — and improve on my mistakes. My script manager left the business? Well I can’t find another one unless I just start querying — so why waste time? — I’ll start querying people this week…

I promise myself that while I may fail at a task at hand, whether it’s small or big — I will not fail because of a personal lack of effort. There are so many things I cannot control, but you can be damn sure that I will keep moving forward through bad news. I do it because it’s all I can do.

Keep moving forward, and I promise everything will be all right.

Photo courtesy Flickr’s themactep

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About Chuck Sambuchino

Chuck Sambuchino is a freelance editor of query letters, synopses, book proposals, and manuscripts. As an editor for Writer's Digest Books, he edits the GUIDE TO LITERARY AGENTS and the CHILDREN'S WRITER'S & ILLUSTRATOR'S MARKET. His Guide to Literary Agents Blog is one of the largest blogs in publishing. His own books include the bestselling humor book, HOW TO SURVIVE A GARDEN GNOME ATTACK, which was optioned by Sony Pictures, as well as the writing guide, CREATE YOUR WRITER PLATFORM. Connect with Chuck on Twitter or at his website.

Comments

  1. says

    This is the most important writing (life) advice out there, and I know a lot of people, myself included, will benefit from this reminder. Thank you for this post. I will forward it, tweet it, share it, link it, and print it out to hang on my desk next to my “Keep Calm and Have a Cocktail” reminder.

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    • says

      I can’t tell you just how much I needed to read this post today. After a tough week of writing and doubts about my work, this really helped me refocus and reframe. Thanks so much for it!

      Joann

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    • says

      I have a white coffee cup that I love, though I can’t exactly say what it reads on it . . . “Write like a M . . . F . . ” and that’s just what I try to do!

      And I agree – control what you really can control – and keep moving forward.

      Great post!

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    • says

      If someone sold those mugs, Marisa, I’d buy one!

      Great post, Chuck, and I agree completely. Forward momentum is so important. Even a day or two without writing and I start getting edgy and anxious.

      “The way I personally stay sane is to focus on the things I can control.” — sound advice!

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  2. Nancy says

    Thank you for reminding us that for every success, there are challenges to be conquered. Perseverance is a necessary quality for writers that can be learned. Most important: never ever give up!

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  3. Densie Webb says

    Oh yeah…I’m definitely printing out those three little words and taping them to my computer. Love Marisa’s idea of a coffee mug. How about t-shirts, sticky notes, napkins, aprons, bumper stickers to remind all of us undiscovered and underappreciated writers to hang in and “keep moving forward.”

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  4. says

    Since I have started sharing more of my writing, I feel better. Commercial success may or may not come in the future, but hearing “I liked your story” keeps me going in the meantime.

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  5. says

    Yes!!! That is just the perspective I needed to hear today! I am in the process of querying (as my dog knows all too well) and as soon as a ‘not for us, thanks’ comes into my inbox, I fire off a query to the next agent in line. It helps immensely to know YOU have to struggle to keep your chin up sometimes, so thanks for sharing. I’m devoted to your blog and columns, so thank you for that as well!

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  6. says

    Chuck, thanks for this fantastic post. Patience and perseverance are essential qualities for writers. The rewards don’t come easy and often don’t come at all, but we must move forward. The work itself is its own reward and must sustain us. Outstanding post. Thanks again, Chuck.

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  7. says

    This is one of the hardest things to do sometimes. There are days when I’m tempted to just quit, but I’m drawn back to writing. I just keep working away, a little every day, trying to reach those writing goals, because I’m a writer.

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  8. Hong says

    I’ve been querying agents for the past month and got my manuscript rejected twice so I’ve been revising a lot.

    I’d love to get a copy of your book to see other agents who would be interested in my revised manuscript and keep my fingers crossed that they will request a full this time.

    I agree with you to keep moving forward and focus on things I can control.

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  9. says

    Very good advice. Writing and keeping yourself focussed is so difficult. There are so many outside distractions and when people don’t believe in what you are doing, it is that much more difficult. It has taken me 30 years and a move from Canada to the US to finally have a publishing company accept my novel for publication. So what would you call that?

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  10. says

    A wonderful post, and a timely one for me. It’s easy to get bogged down on what the universe isn’t granting you instead of focusing on what you can do for yourself.

    I follow the Dory school (from Finding Nemo) of self-motivation:

    “just keep swimming. . . “

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  11. says

    Perfect. I’ve recently had some writing setbacks and a health setback. It’s almost like the health setback gave me pause to consider the writing ones. I was on the verge of coming to the conclusion you so perfectly illustrate here. You’ve tipped me to the right mindset. Thanks, Chuck!

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  12. says

    Good advice. When I finish a project I take a few days off, but if I wait too long to start on something new, even if it’s just typing phrases , ideas, whatever, the inertia seeps in, the self doubt follows, along with a horde of excuses of why I’m not moving forward.

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  13. Natalie Aguirre says

    Such great advice Chuck. Because you’re so right. There is so much we can’t control that it’s important to recognize it and as you say, move on with what we can control. And you’re not alone in having a family who gets tired of hearing of all the writing frustrations (and celebrations). We may be getting a puppy soon. At least he/she will listen.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

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  14. says

    Fantastic, Chuck! With so much of the “business” of writing out of our control, it’s sobering to focus on the truly important fact that we nevertheless control our writing “attitude.” I really have to laugh when I think of how many times I kept writing out of spite! For every “no” it always feels pretty wonderful to rev up the keyboard and retaliate by writing another 100 pages.

    And I really need to find myself a mug like Kat & Amy’s :-D

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  15. says

    This speaks to me on a couple of different levels…one, the “I told you so”, that my husband would never say, but he is the one that told me years ago, “write one page a day and at the end of the year you will have a book”. Of course, I dismissed the idea…who can write one page a day when you haven’t found your voice yet. 2011, I got laid off from my job of seven years and I started that book I always wanted to write, wrote 50 pages and panicked…where is that damn voice??? Since then, any excuse wil do…I am spending summer with the grandkids, I am organizing a charity golf tournament, I am dealing with an ill parent, I am volunteering for my local political party, I am reading a great book on writing, a great blog on publishing, let me blog to see if I find my voice, I have avoided picking up writing the book for so long, I’ve lost confidence in my ability to do justice to the project. I think I need a dog.

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  16. says

    Exactly. Moving forward is the one thing I have control over. It’s the basis for both my daily schedule and my long-term planning.

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  17. says

    “I write to new contacts and tell myself it’s a numbers game.”

    I think this is one of the easiest things to forget as writers because we consider ourselves creatives. We don’t like to talk numbers because that somehow demeans our art. But this is a business not so unlike any other, and all businesses are in a sense a numbers game. I’m sure every store owner who hears “I’m just browsing” and watches a customer walk out of the store without buying anything feels as disappointed as we do when an email or query is rejected.

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  18. Rochelle Bothe says

    This advice is taken to heart. Coming from a person who loves to write but does not make the time to write often enough. I am not published and do not write full time. I always find the excuse that I don’t have time because I work full time, or that I don’t have enough experience, or that I am not smart enough to write anything that anyone would want to read. That is when I get discouraged and give up. I think this advice applies not only to published work, but also to focusing on writing in general. In fact, it also applies to my life – when I feel discouraged and let down, I will just move forward, do my best and learn from the trials I encounter. And I will write about it!

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  19. says

    Amen to all of this. We writers have to control what we can control . . . we can’t control who likes our work. We do, however, have a say in how often we submit to publications. In how many agents we query. In how much our writing improves. Those things should mark our success as writers.

    Thanks, Chuck!

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  20. Melissa Lewicki says

    I enjoyed this post too. However, I have one problem: no dog. We have a cat. Have you ever tried to make a cat listen to you? They will demand the treat up front and then abandon you immediately. They have no honor.

    Thanks for the great advice anyway.

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  21. says

    YES! :) Thank you Chuck for a great blog. I think it’s too easy for us to get wrapped up in all the things we can’t control, and to use those to dictate our lives and behaviors.

    Thank you for reminding us that while we can’t control everything, we can control our lives and our will to just keep moving.

    I needed this today!

    Marie

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  22. says

    This is really great advice…perhaps the best advice available. Forward momentum always makes for a great feeling inside yourself.

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  23. says

    Thank you for writing this, I really needed to hear this! I’m in a funk about my writing, because I’m not as much focusing on book writing (fiction or non-fiction) and because I thought I got good placement in some competitive blogging I do, and didn’t. Then I remembered a few things: I’m writing a LOT more than before and writing well is getting easier daily. So are my editing skills. And I am working on the fiction, but it’s all going on in my head (working on theme and ending), so I’ll be well-prepared when my schedule opens up for scene cards. I have to Keep Moving Forward! (Does Disney own that line? LOL.)

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  24. Ann Reid says

    Thanks, Chuck! This was something I also needed to hear. So many things ARE out of our control and the industry is changing and evolving so quickly it is hard to know where it’s going–let alone keep up. This is very “Hindu Law of Right Action” and every bit as valuable!
    Many thanks!

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  25. says

    Motivating post, Chuck. It’s sometimes hard to forget that we can control even the moving forward. But of course we can! Thanks for the reminder!

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  26. says

    Keep Moving Forward-I love it! What an inspiring post.

    And for Elizabeth Torres Evans-about writer’s voice-there are two great books I recommend, ‘Finding Your Writer’s Voice’ by Thaisa Frank and Dorothy Wall and ‘Bird by Bird’ by Anne Lamott.

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  27. says

    I love that your post described more than simply not giving up, but you obviously carry a good attitude into that moving forward. You can brainstorm new ideas, write better, do more, make contacts, etc. I think perseverance is a huge part of the writing business, but I have to keep moving forward with purpose, plans, and pep in my step (well, after a very brief pity party to which my cats are always invited). Great reminders! Thanks.

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  28. Robin Miller says

    Keep moving forward will now become my mantra. I think you have some good marketing advice form some of these people, Chuck. I’d buy a cup with keep moving forward on it!

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  29. Margaux DelGuidice says

    I love this! Thank you for this post. Your optimism will keep me moving forward with my writing. I always tell myself that I am “only as good as my NEXT book or article.”

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  30. says

    Good timing. I’ve been wavering on giving up my current WIP only a few chapters from the end of the first draft, and part of that is because I’m thinking of things beyond my control. Thank you for this timely post to help get me back on the right path :)

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  31. says

    Great advice. The friend I run with a few times a week is trying to sell her house, and I keep buoying her spirits by saying, “It only takes one person to like it and want to buy it!” until I realized how similar our situations really were.

    It takes an agent, on the right day, in the right frame of mind, at the right time for your subject matter… to embrace your excellent writing. I keep plugging away and work towards making it happen. Thanks for the pep talk!

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  32. says

    Not only is so much in the publishing world beyond our control – so much in life is too! The one thing we have any control over, for sure, is our writing. That is a good reason in itself to hang in there. Just remember – you are always starting over. With everything you’ve done already – when you start a new story, you are starting over. there is always a future.

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  33. says

    The one thing we have any control over, for sure, is our writing. That is a good reason in itself to hang in there. Just remember – you are always starting over. With everything you’ve done already – when you start a new story, you are starting over. there is always a future.

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  34. says

    Great advice. I appreciate how well you advice applies to writers at all stages–from students (like me) to seasoned professionals. It is all about the journey. Thanks!

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  35. says

    I do keep moving forward, though right now, it’s a matter of moving through a sea of molasses :)
    It’s true though. Never look back, try to keep your eyes on the prize, keep (social) networking, blogging, and above all, keep writing. It’s the only way to get better and eventually, you’ll be able to see how all those puzzle pieces come together.

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  36. says

    “If he listens for five minutes, he gets a treat.” LOL! Now I wish I had another dog. Thanks for the inspiring advice, it’s too easy to get bogged down with what doesn’t happen in the time frame we conjure for our goals. I will remember your words. :)

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  37. Sara Mikulic says

    Inspiring post! I think it’s a common myth (or maybe just the ego) to feel like we’re supposed to be successful the first time around. When first starting to write a novel, it was like finding out there wasn’t a Santa all over again when I realized that multiple drafts would be needed. The same goes for any creation and any market. We have a lightbulb after Edison failed so many times. We learn from our failures and the pendulum eventually swings the other way. Moving forward is the only way to get closer to that success, however you define it.

    Only we can kill our dream by stopping, stagnating, and surrendering when the battle is just getting started. :)

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  38. says

    This is exactly what I needed to hear today. It’s easy to wilt when things don’t seem to be going my way, and then I don’t put as much effort into writing as I should. I need to remind myself to work on what I have control over and keep pushing forward!

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  39. says

    Thanks for this, Chuck. It really is the only way isn’t it. The ‘get back on your horse if you fall’ dictum — it was true for horse riding and it’s certainly proved true for me regarding the writer’s career. I don’t know why it is so common for us writers to think we can be successful immediately, that it doesn’t take the 10,000 hours.. but it is. I know I thought I should be, and nearly gave up when I wasn’t. But now, after years of just keeping going, regardless of the countless rejections, the pages of awful writing, I realise that success comes largely from a willingness to stick with it… day in day out.

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  40. Malori Dahmen says

    Always good advice. It’s easy to get discouraged and become counter productive. But the “secret” of just keep working will always be true.

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  41. Jodelle Brohard says

    Thanks for this great advice. It’s exactly what I needed to hear after a bit of bad writing news followed by a bit of good writing news. If I can just keep moving forward irregardless of my mood on any given day, then eventually I will succeed!

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  42. Britney Bouldin says

    So, I am 38 years old and have lived in a total conundrum. I have always thought that I have the heart of a writer. I am constantly writing in my head. It is usually about humorous or quirky ways to look at everyday situations. The problem is that I was a horrible English student, I am a slow reader, my grammar is lacking, and my punctuation and spelling can best be described as original and creative. How can someone who clearly isn’t good a English have a such a deep desire to write. Simple…I love words, language, people, and relationships. Most of all, I love to learn!

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    • Britney Bouldin says

      Editing: As you see above, I am not good at that either.

      What I meant to write was:

      How can someone who clearly isn’t good at English have such a deep desire to write?

      Hey, I am still moving forward!

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  43. Amy M says

    This post came at the most perfect time for me, as I have felt that I was finding myself approaching the crossroads. Yes, yes, keep moving forward. No matter how small the step, it’s still a step.

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  44. Jill says

    Hi Chuck. One thing that really resonates is the truth about not being in control of many factors in the whole writing journey. You also mentioned some factors related to control that I haven’t ever considered, but it was good for me to hear about since I am a new writer (e.g., Amazon & pricing). Controlling our own actions, like continuing to move forward, is really a great reminder.

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  45. says

    Ah keep moving – it gets you through lots of things. I’ve got a refrigerator magnet that says “When you’re going through hell keep moving.” Pretty much sums up my actions for the last year and a half – things are great in some ways…career-wise at the moment, they could be better…but I just keep on moving forward…though in my case it is three cats rather than a dog that listen to my rants.

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  46. says

    One of the beautiful things about this business is also one of the most difficult things to face–so much of it is out of our control. This is no different from any other aspect of life, really, though we love to fool ourselves with the illusion of control. But when the timing is right and things go your way, success is all the sweeter.

    Great post and congratulations on your hard-earned success! :)

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  47. Melody G says

    Thanks for the great post! Keep moving forward is definitely something that I, personally, need to keep in mind.

    Too often I get into the habit of walking away to clear my thoughts only to then postpone things instead of stepping back to the plate and moving forward.

    I’ve actually bookmarked this page to return to as I need a boost. Thanks again for the great post!

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  48. says

    I just had a relapse of rejection depression that resulted in 3 weeks of procrastination. And came to the same “keep moving” conclusion. Again. I think this is one of those lessons we need to keep relearning.

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  49. says

    I agree with the moving forward part. While I sent my queries and waited for replies I began writing another novel. My question is how do you decide it’s time to move on to the next project? When do you give up on one baby and start planning the future of another?

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  50. Allison says

    Focussing on what’s in my control: that’s how I got through childbirth–three times! Thanks for the uplifting post, Chuck.

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  51. says

    Wonderful and inspiring post, as always, Chuck, thank you so much for your wise words. “Keep Moving Forward” – I love this; think I’ll make it into a sign, print it out and post it right by my computer … for those days when I need a lift and a reminder to keep moving forward with those things that are within my control!

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  52. Cleo says

    I had read most of these insights before, scattered throughout the books I’ve read and courses I’ve taken on writing. Reading all of it together in one chunk solidified it in my consciousness – especially at a time right now when my last manuscript had been rejected, I haven’t heard from any subsequent agents I’d since queried, and have been floundering in making progress on my other writing ever since.

    The important thing for me to remember from now on:
    Move forward with my writing;
    Let go on my need to control its outcome.

    Thanks so much!

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  53. Marianne says

    Thanks! I just hope forward is the way I’m moving. Sometimes I wonder, but then detours do come around to the right route eventually.

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  54. says

    This is great advice, for not only writing but also life. If you keep moving forward then the things that might stop you now will just be memories when it finally works. And if you keep moving forward, then something will eventually work out for you, won’t it?
    At least that’s what I think, and you might as well think positively while you keep moving forward.

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  55. says

    Geeze, Chuck, did you touch a nerve or what? I’m the 67th response. Writing, being a solitary endeavor, depends on our discipline and motivation and you have neatly winnowed the mantra down to three words (keep moving forward). I’m further reducing that to the essence (Forward!).

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  56. says

    How encouraging. Why oh why do you let ourselves as writers get so down at times? Writing is hard work. I have to keep telling myself that. Moving forward – a great mantra for Monday morning. Thanks!

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  57. says

    Spot on, Chuck, even if it’s into the wind. Thanks for the reminder. Which reminds me, are you aware that the theme line for MSNBC is “Lean forward”?

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  58. Diane Watanabe says

    The best direction to move is forward and one step at a time…..no matter how small those steps are.

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  59. says

    Thanks for the inspiring post, Chuck. I started writing in 2011, and haven’t stopped writing, or learning, yet.

    Keep Moving Forward + the Nike (victory!!) motto: Just Do It = Success!

    How could it be otherwise? :::runs off to fire up the laptop:::

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  60. K Morris says

    Thanks so much, Chuck. For the honesty, the advice and the giveaway.

    Control what you can control, find a way to let go of the rest. Hard concept to follow, but a life lesson to strive for, for sure.

    KM

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  61. says

    Wow, what a great post. It is so easy to get discouraged in the writing field, but you are spot on in your advice. Just keep moving forward. Keep writing. Get better and wait for it.

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  62. says

    Great advice! This strikes a cord with me since 1) I LOVED the move that emphasized it and 2) I’ve adapted this phrase a motto for life in general.

    Excellent advice!

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  63. says

    Absolutely the best advice out there. It’s so easy to wallow when things don’t go your way, but I swear, activity–any activity– breeds positive results, if only by keeping you in a positive state of mind. Re-tweeting for sure.

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  64. says

    Hey Chuck, thanks, again, for the great advice. You are a sage, my friend. The Morpheus to my (hopefully) Neo.

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  65. Phuong says

    I’ve outlived both of my dogs, and my 15 year old cat can only take so much. Thanks for the great perspective and helpful advice.

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  66. Andrew says

    Excellent advice. Nice and timely too. It’s how I got my first break and since then everything has been really quiet. I’ve considered various options, but moving forward is easily the bet one.

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  67. Lisa Combs says

    Hi,
    “Keep Moving Forward” is the mantra for any writer, writer coach, critique group participants.
    I recently read a novel, Long Train Passing by Steven W Wise. I was touched by this story to the point I emailed Mr. Wise to let him know. Never expecting a response, I was delighted the very next day to hear from Mr. Wise. In his note he thanked me for my letter, gave me a bit of background on Long Train Passing and said what so many writers lament, “. . . the job is draining and I find little time to write . . .”
    His last line was “. . . –you made me feel like a writer today.” He has kept moving forward even though influential persons in the industry commented his novel was overly sentimental and squelched the advance to production of a more commercial format. It is readers and writers that have to push forward in all matters of literary concern. I applaud Mr. Wise in his endeavors to move forward and will continue to move onward in my own writerly efforts.
    Have to say I love WU and all the contributors who make the writing life’s blood flow for us all. ~Lisa~

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  68. Pauline Micciche says

    Before we can strike while the iron is hot, we need to put it into the fire. Thanks for striking a match.

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  69. says

    When I first heard “keep moving forward” on Meet the Robinsons, I wrote it on a post it and put it on my wall next to my computer screen. Thanks for this great post!

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  70. says

    Certainly one of the most important writing lessons I’ve learned is to focus on what I can control. And that’s what I write, how well I write it, and putting it out there.

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  71. says

    I love this advice. I’ve had a long stretch of weird luck too — from a concussion that left me unable to write or read for months, to a string of rejections that tipped over into comical proportions. But I just kept going. I’m still going.
    I’m also going to try enlisting the dog for sympathy. Brilliant.

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  72. says

    Hey Chuck,

    If I look over my shoulder while I’m stepping backwards, am I still moving forward?

    My problem with always moving forward — and I agree with you in principle — is deciding which direction equals “forward.” I seem to spend too much time walking in spirals.

    Stephen

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  73. says

    I am infamous for not moving forward but rather letting things pile up until I can’t get anything done. All hail the procrastination queen!

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  74. says

    Great advice and timely, too. Reminds me of one of my favorite mottoes, which I stole off the back of a Greyhound bus: “Go more. Stop less.” I find this applies to pretty much everything in my life. Thanks, Chuck!

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  75. says

    Good advice. I have a number of different writing things on the go, and always try to work on as many as I can. That way, if one fails/stalls, I keep moving forward with others.

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  76. Stephen G. Zoldi says

    I just subscribed to this blog through RSS three days ago, and the advice to “Keep Moving Forward” comes at just the right time. Thank you, sir, for reminding me to do what I do!

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  77. says

    Man, I cannot tell you how much I needed to read this post. I’ve had a shit week. I was rejected from all four grad schools for Creative Writing and got the last rejection letter today, which, as you can imagine, makes me feel like the biggest loser in the universe. But your post makes me feel just a tiny bit better and more encouraged to continue writing my novels and editing them and querying and hoping I’ll be successful as long as I keep trying.

    Thank you. Truly.

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  78. Chad Lynch says

    It’s way to easy for me to quit. Kind of a naturally lazy person and so many distractions; things needing to be done around the house, kids, my mom’s prolonged sickness and death. If I don’t write every day I find another excuse to put it off the next.

    Having not had anything published yet, there are days when I write and think “What the hell am I doing? This is crap and I’m wasting my time.” I finally realized that there really isn’t anything that I enjoy as much as this. Doing ‘normal’ jobs makes me fell like a leech is draining away my soul. If I never make a buck off of this I’ll keep writing. Even when it feels like crap it makes me happy.

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  79. says

    Any person man enough to talk to a dog is my kind of whacko. Let me know if you need to adopt a grandma. If I were not in open-mouthed awe, I could hate someone clever enough to have a conference in Greece. Then I saw your laboradoodle and was doubly in awe. Paw and I have been lusting after one of those.

    Show off, just put me into the drawing for “Keep Moving Forward”. I love your Red Dog/Blue Dog idea. Let me know if you need a picture of the world’s late, great soccer playing sheltie for some other wild-a$$ed idea.

    Best wishes. Hang in there.

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  80. WDillahunt says

    Our dearest little cavalier was lost to us two weeks ago, I can speak to being frozen in sorrow and time. Every comment above relates the courage it takes to have faith and believe in yourself. Appreciate the transparency and positive words that will help all of us move foreward, thank you.

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  81. Antoinette says

    This is great advice! I’m a firm believer that the only difference between people who make their dreams come true and those that don’t is action! There are days that I feel that I may never reach my writing goals, but I just tamp down those negative thoughts and keep writing!

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  82. Shawna says

    Great advice! I need this on a mug too… right beside one that says “Just start already!”

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  83. Heather says

    Chuck,
    Thank you. Over the last 2 yrs I’ve worked to improve my writing and when I couldn’t get any further alone I joined a small writing circle to get the feedback I needed. For all those that ever read a story and said, “I could do a better job than that” then figured out how hard it actually is, I salute you.

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  84. says

    Thanks for this post! This was just what I needed to read this week. Persistance is so important, and you should never give up hope if it’s something you love to do, even if it takes a while.

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  85. says

    I am still having a hard time writing after a debacle with a vanity press company years ago. Writing used to come so easily, and I could write everyday about something.

    Now (and for awhile) it is very hard to write. I’m not as spontaneous with it anymore, and ideas are few and far between. It’s almost as if my gift is trying to dry up on me!

    But I am holding on to it. Writing has brought me a lot of joy, and I’m pretty sure it will again if I just keep working and keep moving forward.

    I started a blog in the hopes of getting my passion back (and hopefully helping someone along the way). I’m hoping for that breakthrough!

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    • Nathan says

      Sometimes it’s okay to write to write. I have to remind myself that so I don’t worry about whether what I write will sell. It’s probably my best stuff.

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  86. says

    This is just what I needed. I feel so good about my latest manuscript, and it’s driving me nuts that I get generous compliments plus the inevitable, “But it’s not right for our imprint/agency/me.”

    Thanks for the reminder to control what I can, and kick ass everywhere else.

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  87. Barbara McInnis says

    My first twitter: Ode to a writer’s white cup inscribed

    “Keep moving forward” so down I fell into the rabbit

    hole, passing all kinds of writers on the way. Some were

    going forward sideways or upside down. Where are we

    going, going, going?

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  88. says

    That’s a good reminder for me today. It’s important to focus on things we can control and not what is out of our hands. I think it’s is critical for writers to just not quit writing.

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  89. Bonniejean Alford says

    hard to move forward sometimes when you have many many pressures in life, but your thoughts speak to me. thanks

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  90. Nathan says

    I’m watching the Tigers try to put together their break out season and I’ve got to say it is much easier to see them lose a game when it looks like they are trying to win. If no one hustles to get to a catchable ball or to get on first base and if no one seems to fight to hit, that’s when I fear the season is in bad shape. When I see them fight for a win, I don’t mind watching them lose as much. Watching my own losses in writing are most painful when I know I’ve not done what I can to win, like the personally set deadline I just missed. Man that’s when it really hurt. I resonate when you admonishment. Thanks!

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  91. LaNita Mosley says

    I thought you gave great advice when stating keep moving forward in you writing endeavors. Write and make it count by giving it your all. I also believe in praying too. Lol because what God has for me, it is truly for me. I pray for guidance and ideas that are logical to gradually push my novel forward. I keep moving forward even when I’m tired and want to give up because this is my dream to be a published author and to receive financial gain from something that I have written. So, anything worth having is worth working hard for so, again just keep moving forward

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  92. says

    Thanks, I’ve procrastinated too much for way too long. My poor characters are pissed at me for goodness sake!!! I shall get to work right now..I promise.

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  93. says

    A rejection is just a learning experience. It’s an opportunity to refine, improve, and go out and try again. I am totally okay with rejection; it just makes me want to be a better writer.

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  94. Nathan says

    Have you ever wondered if you might be off course and think if you keep going you will end up farther and farther off course. When do you turn around or go a different way?

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  95. says

    Thanks for a great post, Chuck. Your words couldn’t have come at a better time. And they mean all the more coming from someone I respect as much as you. And thanks for the personal examples, too. It’s nice to see real ways in which we’re not alone, and are in fact, more alike as writers than we might think.

    PS – If your dog ever needs someone too commiserate with, my cats would be happy to chat. They have to listen to me all the time!

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  96. Annamarie Naidoo says

    I have been toying with the idea of writing for quite awhile and after reading your post I am definitely going to start. There’s a diffirence between wanting to write and needing to write.I realised I need to write in order to be fulfilled. Every person has a gift, we have a duty to share this with the world. Thankyou for sharing yours.

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  97. Sarah McElrath says

    I like that ‘keep moving forward’ is an attainable goal. It might be baby steps– looking up possible agents, joining a writing group, or revising–but it is still moving. Isnt it Newton’s law? An object in motion tends to stay in motion?

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  98. Emily Cappo says

    Great post — a good read for me today. I am definitely in a “stuck” place right now. I want to build my blog, I want to start querying agents, I want to finish writing my proposal for my memoir, I want to publish my book….but before any of that can happen, I just need to MOVE, whether that means posting on my blog, starting another book, or sending out more queries. Today’s the day!!

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  99. says

    After reading your post my mind immediately went to the phrase that I repeat over and over in my head as I suffer through creative rain delays…..”Clarity Of Vision Is Power”.

    My mind attaches itself to each passing train filled with fragmented thoughts that are unrelated to my creative focus the moment I get distracted. This centering phrase throws me off that train as it reminds me of the clear, specific and rewarding goals I have for myself and my family. I would be lost without it.

    Great post by the way…..I really enjoy your style.

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  100. says

    Keep moving forward and don’t delete! So many times the first things we write are the last to published or produced. Thank you for the reminder!

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  101. says

    Cheers!

    I just learned that one of two novellas I expected to be published this year might not, due to financial troubles for the publishing company. Your essay couldn’t have been more timely.

    I’m just starting to navigate the maze of getting my prose to the right places and people, and working on my script writing (I come from the episodic TV field). Again, your words resonate.

    Someone once told me that perseverance is one’s greatest virtue. Could be!

    Thanks!

    GG

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  102. says

    Excellent advice and Grats on your successes! It can be frustrating trying to juggle everything that comes with being a writer…not just the writing these days. Thanks for the pep talk!

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  103. Carole Caprice says

    Just the “push of the swing” I needed right now. Things have been busy lately and I’ve put off my New Years Resolutions to read my books on writing & start developing my story outlines. I’m going to print out & structure my day by the hour like a high school class schedule to achieve greater success at moving this boat forward…(even if it means I don’t get a finished product by the end of the year as hoped). Thanks ~

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