July 18, 2014

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way by Dayna Mazzuca

Overcoming Roadblocks on the Path to Publishing Success 

Funny thing happened on the way to the publisher... I hit a roadblock, with a book called "The Roadblocks Writers Encounter on the Path to Publishing" tucked under my arm. I was on section two of the book, word 20,008. And suddenly things came to a screeching halt, right after I swerved off the road, trying to avoid, you guessed it, another roadblock! Arg...

When will this wonderful book I have written word-for-word in my imagination, in the binders I use in my workshops, and even have mapped on bright-blue bristle board... when will it be written in concrete, draft form, well enough to send to the traditional print publisher I... envision?! When?

When it comes to getting a book project off the ground, out of the ditch, away from temptations to do something else (anything else), when is all that matters. The word count ceases to count. The outline can be in shreds. The winning metaphors and relevant quotes all go by the wayside. All that matters, when it comes to keeping a book-sized project on track, is that four-letter word: WHEN.

When will the first draft be done? When will I set aside time to finish it up? When will I stop analyzing what's stopping me and plow through all the roadblocks that act more like magnets to my writing-vehicle than deterrents? When?

The only when that matters is the when I say. Setting my own deadlines is a new thing. I'm used to writing 35 stories a week for a hard-driving newspaper editor, on deadline. I'm used to working for clients and charging an hourly rate, so I work fast. I'm used to hosting workshops and working towards the dates we agreed upon. I am NOT so used to setting my own goals, achieving my own dreams and knowing no one will hold me accountable to the dates that I've picked—entirely at random! In the solitude of my own work space! At my leisure...! Shocking way to live and work and have my being... pursuing something the Lord has put on my heart and into my hands, seemingly for the sheer pleasure of it.


Does writing a book about what I want to write about just because I can and feel it is time to do so at this stage in my career sound like something I'd do for pleasure?

Of course it does. Writing a book is one of the greatest gigs in the whole wide world!

What is not so pleasurable is hitting all these roadblocks myself, while I'm trying to write about them. It's like a driving instructor showing a newbie what not to do, by backing into three parked cars on the way out of the training lot. Bump, Scrape, Oops. I procrastinate, rewrite, overthink. Bump, Scrape, Oops.

And then sometimes I wonder if I am simply denying myself the pleasure of diving in with my whole heart. I know no one is holding a hammer of a deadline over my head. There is no one lurking in the corner office who can fire me on whim. I will not be docked pay. My reputation will not suffer if I do not meet my own self-invented deadline. If I do not write this book... If I do not publish it... Sell it... Sign it and use it a promotional tool for future writing workshops (as I envision...), then no one will suffer but me.

I will suffer. 

I will suffer the loss of the pleasure of creating a wonderful work that will bless others in their writing journey and help them to avoid and overcome the same roadblocks that are currently holding me back...

And so thanks for listening dear reader! Because in my book I say that the only way to overcome this particular roadblock on the Path to Publishing Success is to ask for help. And so I am asking. For prayer first and foremost—to get this thing done. For the JOY of it.

Yes, the joy! I say, yes, Lord, yes.


  1. Dayna, as I read your post I realized what I have never quite conceptualized before. Being this kind of an artist (writer, painter, sculptor, composer, crafter...) means motivation must come from within.

    I wonder if I can use the Holy Spirit within me to hold me accountable? I'm going to try that - my prayer for me, for you, and all of us then is; Lord, show us your assignment, your deadline, your submission guidelines, your plan as we work for you. Amen.

  2. May the JOY of the Lord be your strength and your wisdom and your de-roadblocker. I just created a word for you. Like a de-icer in the dead of the Canadian winter.


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