I’m sure you have all heard the saying, “When one door closes, another one opens somewhere.” I have also heard that saying expanded to include windows (so make sure you have your burglar skills honed).
I will admit, when I first heard people using the phrase (usually in an attempt to cheer me up) I was skeptical. I mean, where is it written in the cosmic rule book that things need to be fair? Where is it written that for every minus there should be a plus (okay, Lavoisier’s Law of Conservation of Mass DOES say that, but I hope you catch my drift).
My skepticism decreased somewhat when I saw examples of door close/door open but I credited that to luck more than anything.
What I have since discovered is, door will open when others close (or open without the closing) but only if you are actively engaged in the activity. For example, if you lose your job, you aren’t likely to find another unless you actually apply for other work.
The same is definitely true of writing. If you submit your story to a publisher/agent/whatever and are rejected, you won’t be accepted unless you submit it again. You won’t improve as a writer unless you write and give yourself the opportunity to grow.
You won’t get the chance to meet and work with interesting people unless you first reach out and try to get to know them.
That last one is important to me. I talk about networking all the time to people because I know that all the success I have had to date (and expect to have in the future) comes from meeting and getting to know people. That has led to publishing deals AND it has brought me various collaborations too.
For example, several years ago I started following JR Murdock. I interacted with him on Twitter and I listened to his podcasts. I won’t say I knew JR, but I knew a few things about him.
A few months later it was suggested by a mutual friend that we should write together. Collaborate on a book. It seemed like a good idea so I reached out to JR and asked him what he thought of the idea.
It turns out, he was following me in much the same way I was following him. He agreed to a brain-storming meeting and next month that initial meeting will result in the publication of Jack Kane and the Statue of Liberty, the first book in our steampunk series.
The door that closed in that example was a writing project. I had finished what I was working on and was looking for something new and interesting. Collaboration had been on my mind and the door that opened was a pre-existing knowledge of JR (and him of me).
The thing that I keep reminding myself of is this: if I hadn’t looked for a door to open, I wouldn’t even have known the door existed and I wouldn’t have the wonderful relationship I have with JR today.
What doors have closed on you? What have you done to find that next door? I’d love to hear your stories about it.