In the Trenches: Jon Taffer and Organic Chemistry

A new rejection this morning. Great. Ok. NEXT!

Some days writing is a breeze. Some days writing is a chore. Anyone who tells you they adore being a writer 24/7 is either lying or they aren’t really a writer.

I’m not saying that you need to suffer for your art. But, I am looking at the crowd and saying, like almost everything in life, there are going to be good moments and bad. Count on it.

Which reminds me of something I watched last night. Anyone else out there watch “Bar Rescue”? I will admit it is my guilty pleasure.

Jon Taffer, a professional in the bar industry–think Gordon Ramsey with more swearing (if possible), a bit less hair, and a Long Island accent–roams the nation looking for bars that suck. These are really nasty places <shudder>.

After some tough love, an infusion of owner and staff training, and remodeling, a new bar rises from the ashes.

Let me tell ya, he has taken on some real dumps. Places which I suspect no one could have paid me enough to set a toe in he has managed to turn around.

Well, last night I watched him take on a bar where everyone wanted him to come in and work his magic. I can only think they were really expecting magic, because they wanted success and improvement, but none of the owners or staff (except two staff members) were willing to, drumroll, work for it.

So what do Jon Taffer and Organic Chemistry have in common?
If you said they both require work and a level of commitment, you’re right.

The folks in last night’s episode didn’t understand one basic element of success. Sure Taffer motivates, but the people he is helping have to work. And that’s where this all ties into querying.

Querying isn’t an easy part of the writing gig. It involves a lot more than firing off an email to an agent or publisher with the note, “Read the F*cking pages.”
No kidding, this has happened.
In case you are in any doubt, it didn’t work.
This little story is still one of my favorite “Yeah, don’t do that” examples.

Querying involves research, tonnes of research. The author needs to look at both the agent or publisher, know something about the market they are targeting, craft a letter to intrigue an agent or acquiring editor and make them want to read your pages. Turning to your pages, they need to be as close to perfect as you, and an extra pair of eyes, or two, can make them.

This is a moment of ‘very best foot forward’ because you have seconds to convince someone to read on. Seconds.

So querying, like organic chemistry and Jon Taffer, is one of those experiences which weeds out the serious, committed person from others who may not have the dedication and willingness to put in the work.

And yes, working hard can suck, but the rewards are worth it.

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