Monday, July 26, 2010

Surrender Yourself

So I spent a bunch of time in nature last week. With a bunch of people. As I was conversing with one of my sister-in-laws, she said something that struck me as poignant, something that can apply to almost anything and most certainly publishing.

She said, "Surrender yourself."

I guess she used to see an acupuncturist and that was his advice. Look to nature and surrender yourself. If a rock lands in the middle of the river, the water doesn't get all torqued off and bugged that it's there. It simply flows around it, over it, through it, wearing it down bit by bit.

When lightning strikes and the forest burns, the trees aren't all mad. They release their seeds and start over. They surrender themselves.

I think sometimes we fight against the flow of publishing. I know I do. I want everything to happen when I want, fast fast fast. That's not how things are.

You may want a specific agent that then rejects you. You may wish your journey were as fast as someone else's. I guarantee that you'll wish something about this whole publishing thing was different after you spend a bit of time really entrenched in the game of finding an agent or an editor for your work.

So my challenge for you today is to surrender yourself. To publishing. To the dishes. The mountains of laundry. Whatever it is. Don't let it get you all worked up. Just flow over, around, and through those dirty clothes until you come out the victor.

What are you going to surrender yourself to?

63 comments:

Slamdunk said...

Good advice. Like the boxing advice: "Roll with the punches."

Tabitha Bird said...

Very true. What is the use in fighting with everything around you all the time? Someone once told me, don't be angry with where you are on the path to where you want to go. Also very true.

Erinn said...

excellent advice. I wished I surrendered myself more often. Instead I tended to scream help I'm under attack!

Jody Hedlund said...

I like that image of a rock in the pond, Elana! I need to remember that more often. Instead of getting stressed out about all the things I need to accomplish, to just let myself ripple with the plunking rock!

Theresa Milstein said...

Good advice. I could use it because in the last couple of weeks all I do is worry about what I need/want to get done. It's so bad that I'm a ball of anxiety 24-7. I have to remember to live in the moment.

Karen Lange said...

This is a good reminder to help start the week. Have a good one! :)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Great advice. My 8 yo needs to read this BIG TIME! I'm surrendering to my wip and am enjoying it. I'm surrendering to the fact I might never be published, but at least I get to write and be creative. :D

Em-Musing said...

Love your post, but can't surrender today. Impending sore throat, my back and dryer went out. I'm leaving for RWA Nationals on Wednesday. I've got to intervene! I need fixing! Fast!

Christina Lee said...

Good Stuff Elana! I've surrendered to all of my worries and just accepted that it will be never-ending! So I am going to become FEARLESS (um...kinda) ;--)

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great advice. I'm going to surrender to having faith that finishing my manuscript, finding an agent, getting published will happen when it's meant to be, not when I think it's supposed to happen.

Matthew Rush said...

Great advice Elana, thanks! This reminds me of the Taoist concept of Wu Wei. To completely over-simplify it it basically says life is like a river, you can choose to fight the current or simply go with the flow.

Piedmont Writer said...

Wonderful post, thanks for this today Elana. I feel it washing over, around, beside me.

Aubrie said...

That's a great analogy. Thanks for sharing. :)

Kelly Bryson said...

The water is gurgling all around me, whispering that I am not Stephenie Meyer. I think the river is lying.

I will be rich and famous! More than ten people will read my book! Agents will fight over me!

Or not. Back to work.

Kay said...

I wish it were my bed.... ho hum, another day.... :)

Candyland said...

I surrender myself to...this coffee...mmmm...

Faith said...

So true... my husband always tells me not to worry about the things I can't control -- to just write, do my best work, and the rest will come in time.

He's much more patient than I am. Surrender is easier said than done, but I'm trying!

Tiffany Neal said...

Awww. I love this and it is SO true. Every time I want something SO badly, it NEVER happens until I surrender myself.

But for some reason I never really learn and end up back at square one constantly!

I'm surrendering to my getting-my-book-published-tomorrow goal and I'm also surrendering to the fact that schools starts back up in less than a month. Aigh.

Meredith said...

I definitely need to learn to surrender myself to publishing and realize that the path is always different for everyone. Thank you for the advice!

salarsenッ said...

I am so like that. I want it now! Fast, fast, fast, but I'm not there just yet. Close, but just not yet. I'm learning to surrender myself to a break. Giving myself permission to put writing, studying, blogging, aside for a few and recharge. It's been hard for the past two whole days, but I think it's helping me.

Jonathon Arntson said...

First of all I love that I get to be water in your metaphor. I always end up as odd things in my own.

I will be flowing over cleaning this week and getting my room back in shape as summer classes come to and end.

Janet Johnson said...

I like it. I need to surrender to the chaos that is 3 small children.

Zoe C. Courtman said...

I'm surrendering to my freelance work since, yanno, it pays the bills. What I really wanna do is take down one of the last 16 scenes I have between me and THE END. But I can't. Cuz work came in. And this is me surrendering to it. :|

Christine Fonseca said...

Ah yes, surrender....I'm surrendering to the process, yep. I am!

Mary said...

Very profound and encouraging.
I was set to surrender to writing and you went and mentioned laundry. Don't think I want to thank you for that. On the other hand at least it wasn't groceries. Lol
Writing it is!

Jaydee Morgan said...

Great advice - and advice I take for the most part though a reminder never hurts ;)

Steena Holmes said...

I have no problem surrendering to certain things - like the chocolate bagels I bought yesterday, or that OMG fantastic watermelon drink I concocted last night!
But I'm not willing to surrender with my current WIP. I have 3 chapters left to go. If I surrender, they won't get finished. I know it. Maybe when I start to query I'll remember your words of wisdom, but for now ... I'm off to toast one of those bagels :)

Holly Ruggiero, Southpaw said...

That's a life lesson.

Lola Sharp said...

Word.

Dude, I am surrendering to the plump blueberry muffin sitting on my counter, calling my name.
I GIVE UP! *cries UNCLE* *waves white flag* *runs to muffin* *shoves muffin in gaping maw*

Happy Monday, E! :)

Love,
Lola

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

Good advice Elana! I think you could easily go nutty if you don't go with the flow. In lieu of your advice I will ignore the computer that crashed and burned with a fried hard drive ;)

Adventures in Children's Publishing said...

Elana, spot-on. With many people sharing their journey in the world of publishing online, it's hard not to compare yourself. While I love hearing about others' achievements, one can't help but consider how their own journey measures up. I love your advice here. I'm going to repeat it to myself as much as possible today! :)

Thanks, Elana!
Marissa

Regina said...

I'm surrendering myself to myself for once. I am going to do today on my terms and not everyone else's. Ok, maybe I will still work, but you know what I mean. lol

Elana Johnson said...

Ah, thanks everyone. Being here is like breathing after a long time underwater. Thanks!

Natalie said...

This post was especially poignant for me today. My whole life seems like an exercise in waiting lately. It's been a difficult month, but I really have no control over what happens with anything right now, and I think surrender is the key. Thanks Elana.

storyqueen said...

GReat post...but I shall never surrender to the laundry!!

NEVAH!!!

(yeah, it's a battleground at my house this week...and we just watched the LOTR trilogy.....)

Shelley

Jenilyn Tolley said...

Great advice. Today, though, I'm going to surrender to this cold and accept that not much writing is going to happen. And if it does, it's not going to make much sense. :)

Kelly said...

Look at you, nature girl, all zen and stuff! :)
Thankfully I'm (mostly) a roll with the punches kind of girl. But great reminder to just be.
I'm currently hanging with the fam immersed in nature (oops and a laptop) and lovin' it! Lots of frog catchin', fishin', and gazing out at a peaceful lake the last few days.

Jemi Fraser said...

Hope you had a good time on your vacation :)

I'm going to have to surrender myself to the laundry - definitely a plan!

KarenG said...

Great advice! I love the illustration of the trees after a fire. Gosh. Very profound and an excellent reminder for a Monday morning.

Stephanie Thornton said...

This is my all-time new favorite post of yours, Elana. Very Zen and very true.

I've spent months wishing my journey was like someone else's (almost anyone else), but a couple weeks I ago I decided to just go with the flow. I think I might actually be learning how to be patient. Who'd have thought?

Renae said...

Great post Elana and welcome back! Today I have no choice but to surrender myself to the laundry. And maybe The Young and The Restless at naptime!

Tere Kirkland said...

Surrendering myself to my revisions.

I know there's a solution that's right for me, and I know I'll figure it put soon.

Great post!

Veronica Roth said...

Definitely going to keep this in mind today. It was pretty much exactly what I needed to hear, even though I'm not really waiting for anything (maybe that's the problem?). Great post!

Liza said...

Does saving enough money until it gets fixed mean I'm surrendering myself to a broken camera?

Sara B. Larson said...

So true! I love this post. Okay, I'm surrendering to so many things right now, I won't list them for you. But thanks for the inspiring post! Hope you had a great trip!

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Good advice, especially applied to publishing. I had to surrender myself to writing a scene in my current WIP that probably wouldn't be expected of the genre and the category it's in. But it was right--it's how the book's supposed to go. So I did it. Now, I have to surrender myself to edits :)

Lisa Amowitz said...

This is very suitable advice for the place I'm at today. Thanks, E!

Lisa

lynnrush said...

Great post. Way to start the Monday off on a positive note!

Nicely said.

Michele Emrath said...

Even the river ripples a bit when the rock is thrown in. It is unnatural to be completely infazed.

But...I took this advice to heart today before I even read your post! With my kids--my greatest joy and frustration. They had friends over today and I just let things go, things I would normally get all riled up about.

So--surrendering myself to the ebb and flow of parenting. Hoping for a more stress-free day.

Michele
SouthernCityMysteries

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I love it! I am going to surrender myself to my messy house and mile long to-do list. :-)

Angie said...

You rock, Elana! I needed that reminder (again). I have a lot to surrender to right now.

Krista said...

Oh, that was AWESOME. Very good. I need to surrender to the mouthy teenager right now. She'll get hers. Mwha ha haaa.
*breathes deeply, closes eyes, whispers "Surrender"*
*whispers "Elana is awesomesauce*

Rose Cooper said...

I love this post. And you're so right about the publishing world, how we want things to be fast. Patience is so hard. Surrendering yourself to anything sounds so much better than fighting against it, stressing, getting in a bad mood.

Lydia Kang said...

Fighting against the publishing industry is not something I enjoy doing, but it's a struggle. On the days I go with the flow, I'm much happier.
:)
Welcome back!

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

"Surrender Yourself" is going on my design wall. LOVE it!

lisanowak said...

Wow, great advice.

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

What great advice! Just surrender to it. I'm going to remember that one. I really needed this.

Jennie Englund said...

Really relevant words today! Yay!

And nature is just the place to learn to surrender.

Deep breath...

Patricia A. Timms said...

Thank you for bringing back a bit of the peacefulness of camping.

Today, I surrendered to taking all three of my kids to the dentist for their appointments by myself when normally I wait until my husband is free. Luckily, the kids were all so good (maybe because I surrendered).

Nichole Giles said...

Wait. Back up. You want me to surrender myself to laundry? To dishes? But...I wanted to write. My plan was to ignore the laundry and the dishes and the vacuuming and...well, you know. The toilets and stuff. But now I'm confused. Is it possible to surrender myself to all of it?

Kidding, of course. Once again, your words are very well timed for me. You have no idea how badly I needed to hear them. Thanks.

Carolyn V. said...

It looks like I will have to surrender myself to time. I never have enough of it and when I get it...I have too much with nothing to do.

Angela said...

Great Post!

Julie Musil said...

I just want you to know how helpful your posts are. Sometimes I get so caught up in the "now" that I don't relax and enjoy the ride. Thanks!

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