Jennifer Lyon

Wednesday, January 6th, 2021
Wednesday: Some Thoughts on Guiding Principles

So it’s the first Wednesday Blog in the New Year…and I’ve got nothing :-) Okay, I still plan to revamp Wednesdays into something more when I can. But I must write Primal Magic. It’s so easy to let life interfere, which is what I’ve been doing. Now I’m committed, so I’m making sure I prioritize writing the book over other content. 

I will talk about one career related thing—guiding principles. Throughout our careers, we make choices that define us, and reflect our principles. Sometimes we have to make those choices in the middle of a massive upset in our lives. It’s a zillion times harder to make decisions when things are going wrong, emotions are running high and panic is setting in. 

But your core principles can and will guide you. For instance, when I say I’m “family first,” I’m serious. I’ve stopped by career for my family when crap happened and someone in my family needed me. At the time, I was NOT the sole breadwinner, so that helped a lot. But when it came time to make a hard choice, I didn’t hesitated. Family comes before my career, and that’s the principle that guided my choice. It’s also the reason I won’t destroy a family relationship over politics (if possible–there’s always two people in a relationship and I can only control my actions). 

It’s important to know our core principles. Any time I’ve ignored that principle, I’ve regretted it. I can’t think of an example off the top of my head, which is annoying.

All this brings me to why I fought through my physical issues I was having to finish the Savaged Illusions Trilogy even though I knew it wouldn’t make a huge splash. Time had gone by, and the heated anticipation for the third book cooled. That’s normal. Some would say the smarter decision would have been to not finish it, and move onto something that had more earning potential. That’s true if we’re talking about that one book’s earning potential.

But what about building or maintaining reader trust in me as an author over a career? That’s very important to me. In my mind, I needed to finish the last book, particularly because the first and second books in the trilogy ended on cliffhangers. Otherwise I was breaking an implied promise when I published those first two books with the cliffhangers. Readers had every right to expect the third book to finish the story. So I did what I believed to be the right thing in accordance to my core principles.  

It wasn’t a hard decision, it was the right one for me.

The Wing Slayer Hunters has a little of that too, but those books all ended with the hero and heroines story wrapped up. I could have walked away with a clear enough conscience. But I love the world, readers seem interested and want to write Primal Magic and Fallen Magic.

Once those books are done, then I’ll re-evaluate. 

So to anyone publishing or thinking about it, I would suggest this: Know your core principles. Because when tough times or the curveballs of life hit, you’ll be able to see your next step more clearly. Because tough times find us all sooner or later.

Trust me, it’s much easier to be guided by principles and sheer panic.

Just my 2 cents :-)

7 comments to “Wednesday: Some Thoughts on Guiding Principles”

  1. Silver James
    January 6th, 2021 at 8:59 am · Link

    Yes. This. I totally get where you’re coming from. And I understand in ways many people wouldn’t. Kudos to you. And I, for one, thank you for finishing the trilogy. The final book was AMAZING! And worth the wait.

    I, too, love your Wingslayer/Witch world and am happy you’re diving back in. It’s like I found out this morning that Jayne Ann Krentz/Jayne Castle is writing a new “dust bunny” book set in her Harmony world. It’s been a loooong time! But I love that world, reread/listen periodically and am excited for a new story.

    I also get family and personal…I don’t want to call them handicaps in the sense of an affliction but more like an impediment or stumbling block. Family and health can create both of those and tie our hands. All we can do is our best, deal with life, move on, and get back to writing when our hands are free.

    I’ve left lots of my readers dangling and I feel bad, but then I get in that loop of guilt/inaction and stall out. I made strides to break out toward the end of last year and I’m hoping to roll through this year with some momentum. You saw my list. Will I get it all done? Probably not, but to be true to myself, my Muse, my readers–and yes, my core principals–I intend on trying. And that’s all any of us can do. Try. Keep trying. Finally succeed.

    So here’s to a 2021 that is brighter and inspirational for us all! 🥰

  2. B.E. Sanderson
    January 6th, 2021 at 9:27 am · Link

    For a gal who had nothing, you put out a great post today. Good advice all the way around. And yes, you should finish a series once you start it and have readers who love it. I can’t tell ya how irritated I am when I discover a series I love and then find out it has no end for one reason or another. (Usually due to the publisher killing the series because it wasn’t selling as well as they hoped, never considering that the reason it isn’t selling as well is because the series ISN”T FINISHED and people want the security of knowing it’s a finished series before they commit to it. Just sayin’.)

    Ahem. Anyway, I’m not sure I consciously think about guiding principles, but they’re there. I probably should make that stuff conscious and work harder to be more business-like in my business. When I started out in 2015, I was better at it, then I let the lack of sales discourage me and I allowed things to fall apart. I need to get back on track.

  3. Viki S.
    January 6th, 2021 at 4:21 pm · Link

    Can’t say much as I am very disturbed by what’s happening right now.

    But – I love your post! Keeping to your core principles is what makes you a great person and author!

    I need to go hide under a pillow now. Hope things are better in this country soon.

    Have a great day!

  4. Jenn
    January 6th, 2021 at 6:00 pm · Link

    Okay, so before I answer comments, today was a shitshow in Washington D.C. I’m sure we’re all grappling with our emotions. Just acknowledging this first.

    Despite that, I’m going to answer you guys to try to pretend life is normal for a moment.

  5. Jenn
    January 6th, 2021 at 6:05 pm · Link

    Silver, thank you! That means so much, especially today.

    I’m going to have to go check out Jayne Ann Krentz/Jayne Castle plans! I haven’t read her in a while, but always enjoyed her books.

    Yep on family, and it’s all part of the deal in having a family. It’s not easy.

    You can do it! Write the books that you feel led to write. Guilt doesn’t help us create the content that makes our readers happy. That said, I struggle with it all the time :-)

    Despite today, I’m right there with you rooting for a better 2021!

  6. Jenn
    January 6th, 2021 at 6:08 pm · Link

    B.E., I really started off with nothing, then started writing, LOL! But I have a lot of things I really do want to talk about, and I’m not holding back so much anymore.

    I’m the same way on unfinished series.

    Well I don’t think you live your life by guiding principles, so I wouldn’t worry too much. But lately, I’ve been articulating mine to myself to help me stay on track, if that makes sense.

  7. Jenn
    January 6th, 2021 at 6:10 pm · Link

    Viki, totally understandable! I got one promotional project done before the shit hit the fan today, and blew up my plans to write.

    Pretty sure we’re all distracted. But I sincerely thank you for the lovely compliment.

    Let’s all believe in a better future.

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