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?
Excellent points Angie, and I agree with all of them.ReplyDelete
I would also add that success also requires you to read, and read a lot. Read within the genre, and outside of it, build a vocabulary of titles. So many people write in a vacuum ignorant of what is in their genre or what is expected of the genre.
Also, just shut up and write. So many people moan about how they don't have time, and yet watch TV or go out drinking, or spend time on other hobbies. If you're serious about your writing career you need to log thousands of hours. That combined with critical review are the only ways to improve IMO.
I would add to keep writing, however terrible a writer you feel, and even when you think nothing will come out of it. Determination, discipline, and hard work is key.ReplyDelete
Loved this post, Angie.
I think you've said it well. Keep writing and keep plugging away is definitely key. Yeah we all have distractions, but if you're serious, you will finish what you start and that's half the battle. Rejection doesn't always mean it's bad, but you have to keep trying. Good post Ang :)ReplyDelete
Great post, Angie. I would add, don't let youself get caught up in the myth of writer's block. If you're blocked, it just means you need to plot more. Or, if you're a pantser, write through it. Rachel Caine is a pantser and she said when she gets stuck, she starts deleting one sentence at a time until she gets back to a place she can start writing again. Sometimes it's one line, sometimes it's an entire chapter. She literally backs herself out of the corner and starts again.ReplyDelete
Thanks for all the great additions, folks!ReplyDelete
I think that I'd add, read a lot, it might be best for some to avoid reading the same genre as you write in but read a great many titles in different genres, write what works for you as a reader and you'll soon start to see the architecture underneath. Add to this that you can learn as much from a title that doesn't work for you and you'll soon have osme additional help in designing your own unique pov.ReplyDelete
A very pertinant topic, Angie. I would also like to add that if you're not having fun with your work, then the reader won't have any fun reading it, either. Remember the good times, before the pressure and the criticism? Get back to the love of writing - the joy it brings you, without profit or design.ReplyDelete
Great post Angie. Not only for new writers starting out and stuck, but a good reminder for everyone. Also some great additions from the posters here! You have a lot of wise blog readers.ReplyDelete
Reading and having fun...check and check...lolReplyDelete
And yes, Krista, I've got the wises bunch of commenters going!
What to add to the solid points in the post, and in the comments? I've been writing for seven months, so I've hardly paid my dues.ReplyDelete
You can self-pub the stuff that comes easily, and take the short-cut to getting your work out there, without going through all crits, rejections, and the drama that goes with them. Tempting, isn't it? Yes, but don't.
I have to agree with Angie; go ahead and take the short-cut if you want a series of 2 star reviews and knuckle-cracking crits on Amazon. People who've given you their money are a lot less forgiving and helpful than other writers. Take the knocks when you can still learn something from them, and then make the changes you need. You will regret it in the short-term, but in the long-term it is still a lot less painful than taking the seemingly easier road.
So true TJ!ReplyDelete
An author wears many hats in addition to the core writing -> promotion and marketing, public relations and account manager.
An agent may help with many of these but it definitely helps to find the business balance in nurturing a writing career.
That said, the core is still writing, good writing, and your stories. :)
I guess the only thing I would add is that if you want it, you have to keep after it, even with all the rejections.
As has been noted, there are lots of great ideas started by Angela (thanks, Angela, you're all sorts of awesome), and continued by others. Thanks to everybody.ReplyDelete
One weird little trick I use is doodling. Doodling helps get creative juices flowing with any pressure to perform. It's like masturbation. Except doodling isn't so messy :)
I'm of the no excuses tribe. Read a lot, write daily. Even if the end result is weak, over time it will make you a stronger artist.
Lots of good points. Read read and read some more. Read the classics as well as work in your area or genre.ReplyDelete
Also, if you have a website don't use white print on a black background (sigh) I say this to everyone who has a web page.
As alway excellent points and a great topic. It took me doing a Nano project before I truly learned the meaning of 'shut up and write'. There really is time, but only when you make it a priority. Job hunting can be a full time job in itself, so is submitting and querying. You have to treat it as such. :)ReplyDelete
I just added this blog site to my feed reader, excellent stuff. Cannot get enough!ReplyDelete
Thanks for all the positive comments everyone!ReplyDelete
I don't think this is is going to start a riot hehe. I'm not sure there are any writers out there who would be able to argue with any of that! All good points :)ReplyDelete
I really like reading an article that will make people think. Also, thank you for permitting me to comment!