This week I've decided to open discussion on a topic that could create a little bit of debate. I'm not trying to cause a riot or anything, but after spending considerable amount of time busting my butt to get somewhere in this crazy publishing world, I've collected a few pieces of wisdom that I feel are vitally important when it comes to retaining one's sanity.
I call it "paying your dues" because I really feel like this journey is one that requires a certain amount of "blood, sweat and tears" (pardon the cliche).
1) Dealing with rejection: It’s gonna happen, it’s part of the process, but if you cut and run after only a few, well, in my opinion, you haven’t put the necessary time in. I’m not saying you have to martyr yourself, but in my experience many writer’s feel this process is a badge of honor…I mean, it does and can get to a point of ridiculousness, but accumulating rejections, within reason, is part of the learning experience.
2) Critiquing and being critiqued: That’s right, you do actually have to let someone other than your family or friends read your stuff. It’s difficult and stressful and you probably will hear some criticism that you don’t really want to hear, but it will help you grow as a writer. (Yes, even the crappy crits can be useful…they can teach you what not to do when critting someone else) And that’s the other half, critting others helps you grow as a writer as well. Believe me, you’ll learn a lot from seeing what others do well and not so well.
3) Time and commitment: Good things come to those who wait? Well sometimes…I’ve been reminded repeatedly that in this crazy publishing world nothing happens quickly. (Well, okay, sometimes there are cases of certain author’s getting caught up in a whirlwind of excitingly fast writing=landing dream agent=mega deals, but it doesn’t happen that often. So patience is definitely key.
4) No easy paths: There really is no easy journey when it comes to writing and everyone’s route is very different. What happened in one way for one writer doesn’t mean it will happen for you the same way. Trust me, I know this intimately…things don’t always pan out the way you want or expect them to either…and although we might get vile and pukishly green with envy, it is a fact, your future success is not marred or mirrored by anyone else’s.
So those are my little gems of wisdom. Got any you'd like to add?