I’m a Jersey girl. Not born, but raised. To be a Jersey girl means to have attitude. So, what is attitude?
Webster defines attitude as “a feeling or way of thinking that affects a person’s behavior.”
Attitude is a form of mental programming that affects how we think about ourselves and how we view the world. For the writer, attitude is the way she thinks about herself and her writing.
Attitude is a particular pattern of thinking that directs the course of one’s life throughout one’s life. Attitude is a tool not only for surviving but also for overcoming the challenges of life.
In New Jersey, where I live, attitude is that special “in-your-face” ability to confront life’s tough times head-on, with courage, competence, and conviction.
Attitude—as in “Jersey attitude”—is essential to your success as a writer.
My favorite book, the Holy Bible, says this about attitude: “As a person thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). Your current state in life is a direct result of your attitude. Your attitude will determine who and what you will become in life.
So how does a Jersey-girl attitude relate to your writing success?
A Jersey girl is straightforward and honest. She is intentional and focused. She knows what she wants and goes after it.
A Jersey-attitude writer is intentional and focused. He knows what he wants from his writing career and goes after it.
A Jersey girl is confident. She thinks about herself with respect and views the world as a place to rule and reign by serving others. A Jersey girl knows that how she thinks affects how she lives, so she strives to think and live truthfully.
A Jersey-attitude writer is a confident writer. He thinks about himself with respect and views his writing world as a place to rule and reign by serving his readers. A Jersey-attitude writer knows that how he thinks about himself and his writing affects how he writes. Consequently, he strives to think and write truthfully.
To the out-of-state world, a Jersey girl comes across as arrogant or rude. But she knows that what others may consider arrogant or rude is really disciplined and determined.
A Jersey-attitude writer may come across as arrogant or rude when he chooses writing instead of lunch with the guys, but a Jersey-attitude writer knows that he is really being disciplined and determined in pursuing his dream.
A Jersey girl is focused, fearless, and friendly. Yes, friendly, despite what outsiders may think. You see, it takes a while to earn the trust of a Jersey girl. As a rule, and with good reason, she is initially suspicious of strangers. But once you’ve earned a Jersey girl’s trust, you’ve earned a friend for life.
A Jersey-attitude writer is also focused, fearless, and friendly. He seeks to earn the trust of his readers. At first, he may be suspicious of reviews, but he keeps on writing anyway. And once he’s earned the trust of his readers, he remains loyal to them by giving them his very best.
No matter where you live or where you write, you have an attitude. And that attitude is affecting your writing career.
Just as a Jersey girl has attitude, so must a writer have attitude. That attitude is called “writing savvy” and it’s a key to your writing success.
Here are some other characteristics of a Jersey-girl attitude that apply specifically to writers:
1) Indifference to what others think about her dream. A Jersey girl doesn’t care if her family and friends tease her for chasing a pipe dream. She knows the truth and that’s all that matters to her. She knows she’s not chasing a pipe dream. She’s chasing a real dream. Her dream. She’s focused on making her dream come true, and she won’t quit until she does.
Like a Jersey girl, a savvy writer doesn’t care what others think about his writing dream. A savvy writer with attitude doesn’t let anything stand in the way of his fulfilling his dream. If his dream is to write a novel, he focuses on writing a novel, and he won’t quit until he writes The End.
2) The ability to cut to the chase. A Jersey girl can cut through the unimportant to deal with what is important. She doesn’t waste time majoring in the minors. She puts first things first and fits less important things into her schedule as she can.
Like a Jersey girl, the savvy writer knows how to prioritize his time by putting first things first; namely, his writing. He doesn’t waste time on the pebbles in his life (the less important things) but makes room for the big rocks first (the most important things).
3) Team Spirit. A Jersey girl knows she can’t achieve success alone. She asks for help when she needs it and doesn’t depend solely on her own resources. She knows it takes a team to be successful.
A savvy writer knows he doesn’t write a book alone. He needs an editor, a critique partner, maybe an agent and/or a publisher. He needs the input of beta readers. In short, he needs a team.
4) Discernment. A Jersey girl can spot a fake a mile away and sees right through him. She won’t let him get her off course through flattery or other lies.
Like a Jersey girl, a savvy writer can see right through the flattery of those who want to be his friend only after or because he is successful. He cuts through the flattery and chooses as friends only those who love him for who he is, not for what he writes.
5) The Real Deal. A Jersey girl is genuine, transparent, and blunt. She makes no pretense about what she’s thinking or feeling. She’ll tell you straight off because her goal is to communicate and connect truthfully. What she says is what she means, and what she means is what she says. She doesn’t hide behind a pretense of politeness or civility. With a Jersey girl, what you see is what you get.
A savvy writer is also transparent. His goal is to communicate truth, although he may do so through symbolic means, like fiction or poetry. A savvy writer also wants to connect emotionally with his readers. He understands that the writing process is a delicate dance between author and reader—a dance that requires mutual respect, understanding, and appreciation.
And, like the Jersey girl, the savvy writer knows how to dance with grace.
Dr. MaryAnn Diorio writes compelling, award-winning fiction that deals with the deepest issues of the human heart. Her latest work, A CHRISTMAS HOMECOMING, was published by Harbourlight Books of the Pelican Book Group and is a moving story about the power of forgiveness to heal wounded hearts and restore broken relationships. MaryAnn holds the PhD in French and Comparative Literature from the University of Kansas and the MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She is Online Adjunct Professor of Fiction Writing for Regent University and a popular writing teacher and coach. She is also the founder and director of The New Jersey Society of Christian Writers and an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers. MaryAnn and her husband live in New Jersey and are the blessed parents of two amazing daughters and the delighted grandparents of a beautiful, little granddaughter. In her spare time, MaryAnn can be found painting in her art studio or playing old hymns on her beloved Knabe parlor grand.
Seven Christmases have passed since Sonia Pettit last heard from her daughter Jody. Since Jody’s departure, Sonia’s world has been turned upside down. Her husband has died of a broken heart, and her son, bitter over his sister’s destructive actions, has become rebellious.
Her greatest desire is to have her family together at Christmas, but after what Jody has put them all through, can Sonia truly forgive her daughter?
Jody Pettit O’Dair ran away to experience a life of adventure and excitement, but since her
departure, her world has been turned upside down. She’s been abandoned by the man she met and married, lost her job, and is unable to care for her two children. With nowhere else to turn, this prodigal daughter begins the long journey home and prays she will be welcomed after walking away so long ago.
Will Jody find forgiveness in the arms of her family as easily as she received it from God?