Free Falling With Jodi Thomas….

Or what to do when everything doesn’t go right.

This spring will mark my 27th book. Twenty-two of them have been national best sellers and six have hit the NY Times list. My newest historical, Tall, Dark and Texan (the third in my Whispering Mountain series,) just come out this month. And my next mainstream, Rewriting Monday, will release in April 09. I hope you look for them.

In interviews I’m often asked what one thing would I tell writers. Of course:  Study your markets?  Read everything?  Learn your craft?  Write everyday? All came up as possibilities but one secret I’ve learned kept whispering in the back of my mind. Maybe it’s not the most important tool a writer needs but it can be vital to your success.

Learn to Fall.

There will be times, thousands of them if you stay in the game as I have for 20 years, when this business doesn’t go your way. You have to learn to stop holding on to the safety strap and jump out into the unknown.

The first time I remember taking a tumble was before I sold. I was frantically writing, sending off to every contest, agent, or editor I could find. One day I opened the mailbox to discover three rejections. I felt like I’d faced a firing squad and all twelve bullets hit at heart level. I walked back to the house, sat down and started crying. My four-year-old son, Matt, came up to me, leaned on the arm of the chair and asked what was wrong.  Through tears I told him about my total failure. He smiled and said simply, “Mom, like you say when I play t-ball, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes you get rained-out.”

I stopped crying and realized it wasn’t me. I was a good writer doing the best I could. I just kept getting rained-out by editors who didn’t read the slush pile and agents who already had full client lists.

From that day on I developed a plan for falling. Whenever I stumbled and fell flat on my face, I let go of the corpse I was trying to drag, celebrated and moved on with my career. There for a while quite a few bodies of old manuscripts lay around the house.

The plan for falling:

1. Burying the corpse.  I know writers who wrote a book back in the 90’s and are determined not to go on to another until they sell their first one. They keep painting a new face on the body and shoving it into a new casket. Beginning writers probably don’t want to hear that you may write your first book, or even your second or third, for practice. We need to believe that first book will make millions or we’d never go through the work of learning to write. But sometimes you have to kiss the well-traveled manuscript good-bye and bury it under the bed.

2. Celebrating.  I hope all beginning writers party at each success: a contest win or even an honorable mention. A letter asking for more or a book deal. All are worth a party. But, maybe more important is the party you have when you let go of one dream and open up to another. Celebrate when you send something off or when you enter a contest. That’s when you’re being brave. Find a writing friend or a group and push one another to try.

3. Moving on.  If what you’re doing in this game isn’t getting you where you want to go, maybe you are on the wrong road. Take the tools and knowledge you have learned and start carving out a different work of art. You might surprise yourself, you might just find a place where you and your work belong. I knew a writer who tried to write romance for five years, turned to childrens writing on a bet and sold in five months and is still selling.

When I turned loose and thought of myself sky diving and not falling, my world began to change. Phil Price, an accomplished playwright, once said, “I’ve often wondered why sky divers yell for joy and people who fall off cliffs scream. After all, they’re both seeing the same view. It’s only the last foot that changes.” So, I decided, whether I’m falling or sky diving through life, I might as well decide to enjoy the view.

Mark Twain said once that compared to writing, horseracing is a stable occupation. Maybe he was right, but the gamble is worth the try. When we’re all done and setting around the home which would you rather say, ‘I played as hard and fast as I could,’ or ‘I never ran into the game because I was afraid of falling.’

The winners are not the ones who grab the prize. The winners are the ones who play the game, rainy days and all.

Everyone has down days at one time or another. Whether you’re a reader or a writer I’d love to hear your creative ways to handle the blues, be it with chocolate or. . . . . .

I’m giving away an autographed copy of Tall, Dark and Texan to one person who leaves a comment.

To read more about Jodi Thomas and her books check out www.jodithomas.com

Check out my book trailer for Tall, Dark and Texan

Click on covers to order from Amazon

      

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54 thoughts on “Free Falling With Jodi Thomas….”

  1. I definitely pick up a romance book. I escape what ever is getting me down. You just can’t beat a HEA!! + A bowl of ice cream on the side YUMMY!!

  2. Romance novels followed by long walks through the country with my two dogs are my medicines of choice. No matter how high or challenging the obstacle (and the past 7 years have been littered with some very challenging life obstacles), I can’t help but smile and be lifted up again by the unconditional love and joy from my dogs and the rich, complex and ultimately happy-ever-after worlds created by romance writers.

  3. Definitely chocolate, but also spending times with friends, watching a new movie, and reading new romance books can help take my mind off of something. A tall, dark Texan would definitely do the trick too 🙂 🙂

  4. I love your trailer! And…well…your Tall, Dark and Texan book cover is kinda nice to look at, too. 🙂

    So you’re a ‘glass is half-full’ kind of girl, eh?

    How do I handle the blues? First I cry. Then I read because no matter what my problem is, someone in a book is going to have it worse. And yes, somewhere in the book I’ll go looking for some comfort food like chocolate. 🙂

  5. Jodi, I love the trailer. I haven’t done those yet.
    And I just finished The Texan and The Lady, I am now a fan for life. I loved it!

    As for tips for dealing with the falls, I wrote for ten years before I sold my first book. I found that it helped to nurture a spirit of hopelessness. 🙂
    Seriously.
    Just hold out NO HOPE for success. I’d finish a book, send it out everywhere; agents, editors, critique group, contests, then forget it and start the next book.
    When in inevitable rejection would come I’d do my very best to just think, “Of course.” And go back to writing.
    It beat my previous plan for handling rejection, which was to crawl under my desk and suck my thumb for three days.
    Hopelessness got me through some rough spots.
    So I encourage aspiring writer to have NO HOPE.
    Which leaves writing because they love it and feel compelled to do it.
    Love your work, Jodi and I LOVE the cover of Tall, Dark and Texan

  6. Jodi – you know I’m a huge fan of your books. But I’m also a huge fan of your inspirational words.

    Whenever I’m stuck, or feel as though life isn’t obeying my commands, I stop, look around and take stock. After a long deep breath, I find one thing that I can do at that moment that would move me closer to what I want. It could even be calling an old friend just to laugh. That laughter puts me back on track and moving forward.

  7. It would have to be chocolate, no doubt about it. I also like to pick up a good romance noval that alway helps to.

  8. Trying not to gush here. Jodi Thomas is one of my all time favorite authors. One of your RWA National workshops on this very topic really inspired me.

    I have a 24 hour rule. You may whine and cry and stomp your feet but after 24 hours you pull up your big girl panties, wipe your eyes and get back in the game.

  9. Well, hello Jodi! So excited for you to be blogging here!!!!!

    My escape is……..a great historical romance!!!Seriously-it’s the best way to get my mind off of my troubles for a little while! I appreciate a great book and appreciate the great author who wrote it! I think the world would be a happier place if more people would read a great romance! LOL 😉

    and…please dont enter me to win a copy of your book-as I just won the copy from your myspace contest………and my face is still hurting from smiling so big when I found out I won it!!

    Hope you have a great weekend!

  10. Hi Jodi. I love your books. When I am feeling blue, I make a cappacino, wrap up in my favorite blanket and read a good book.

  11. Hi Jodi!

    It’s so exciting to have you back again to blog with us. You are always welcome here. As you can see, you have a jillion fans who love your books and eagerly await each new one. Your stories just touch the heart of readers everywhere. I think it’s because so many people relate to your H/H. But the thing I love is your blend of humor and tenderness. And of course, the romance that makes our hearts flutter.

    I really wish I knew how to fall without killing myself. I think it’s important to take the dive and enjoy the sensations of free-falling. I’m learning a lot from you. Thank God for your patience. You’re a great friend.

    I wish you lots of success not only with these books but in everything you do in life.

  12. Mary,

    The Texan and the Lady is one of my favorite Jodi Thomas books. Another excellent one is To Tame a Texan’s Heart. But really, her books are like a box of chocolates. You can’t stop at one or two. You have have the whole box once you finsh the first one. I’m glad you’ve become a fan like the rest of us. lol

  13. Melissa,

    Isn’t Tall, Dark and Texan one of the best Jodi Thomas books ever? I’m about half way through with mine and the story has really captivated my heart. Teagen and Jessie have a wonderful love story. And I love those little girls! So funny. I’m sure they remind you of your two.

  14. If I can get together with friends and family – play cards or a games, or if no one is around, reading a good book!

  15. Very much enjoyed the trailer!

    For me it’s a pot of hot tea, a box of chocolates,
    my cordless telephone (so I don’t have to get up and leave my book!), tissues (especially if I’m reading
    a romance!), and several novels! I just read the blues away!!

    Pat Cochran

  16. oh Linda…Im so jealous..I have not received my copy yet! Trust me when I say, though-that…the day I get it-I’ll finish it! LOL I’ll email you and let you know how much I like it! 🙂

  17. Jodi, as always your advice is inspiring. My way to kick the blues is to have lunch with as many of my BFF’s as I can get together, cuss and discuss what’s got me down over a glass of wine, and accept all the sympathy my friends have to offer. Then I pick my spirits up off the floor, pay the bill for lunch and go shopping. Buy something I really wanted but needed an excuse … and use my blues as the reason. That’s what friends are for; however, I have to admit sometimes I don’t get sympathy, just a kick in the backsides to remind me that my glass is half full, not half empty! LOL That’s why I call Linda long distance to complain, it’s too far for her to kick me! If any of you guys haven’t read “Tall, Dark and Texan” get it right away. Teagan is now my all time favorite JT hero! Hugs from Texas. Phyliss

  18. Hi, Jodi! Definitely a book, chocolate, and sometimes ice cream! That and a chat with my sister will usually pull things out of the dumpster 🙂 It’s true that when we keep going, we’re definitely winners 🙂

  19. I crawl in my bed andI cry and read when i get down or if funds allow I’ll head to the bookstore! i enjoyed the book trailer and i Love the cover to your book Tall, Dark and Texan I know alot of comments have been left but please throw my name in the hat, I would love to win a copy of your book!
    photoquest(at)bellsouth(dot)net

  20. Hi Jodi! Enjoyed your blog! When I’m feeling blue, I curl up in a comfy chair, get a box of chocolates, grab a good book and read! That usually works for me.

  21. Love the cover and will be adding your newest to my list.
    When I am stuggling with whatever problem, escaping with a good book is how I cope. Since I am struggling to lose weight I am trying to forgo the chocoate.

  22. I read a good book and have a nice drink. Margarita in summer and a Bailey’s spiked hot chocolate in winter.

  23. Hi Jodi! Love the cover of Tall, Dark and Texan! I watch a movie on TV and drink hot chocolate to chase away the blues.

  24. I loved the advice of starting something new…and it comforted me greatly that somebody of your stature has suffered like the rest of us LOL.

    When I get the blues, I try to remember an even worse time (my precious hubby just survived a dreadful illness)…and remind myself nothing is as bad at that. Blessings to you, Jodi. I look forward to more of your books.

  25. when I have the blues I phone my bff and talk; I hang up feeling much better most of the time.

    I also buy a new bottle/color of nail polish if the blues are very insignificant.

  26. Hi Jodi! Welcome to P&P! It’s so nice to have you join us. I loved your list. I’ll have to remember them in times of woe. 🙂 Congratulations on your super success! You’re an amazing storyteller.

  27. I love your books. You are my favorite western romance writer. I rave about you to everyone I know. I also want to thank you for writing Carter McKoy. I love the man and the other day I said I wanted to be Bailee so I could be married to him. Thanks again for the many hours of entertainment and joy that your books have brought me.

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