Writing is a solitary gig and it’s easy to be discouraged sometimes. Maybe you’ve had a hard day at work or you’re sick or perhaps you just feel down. Those can be the times that make or break a writer. I’ve been there.
It’s when you are at your lowest that you need to step back and look at why you write. Find something about your writing that makes you happy. This can be a tough thing to do. It’s really easy to see the things that aren’t working or haven’t worked. Avoid thinking about them. They won’t help you. Remember, you’re trying to build yourself up.
Why is this important? In a nutshell, sticking to your writing and continuing to submit is what differentiates the published authors from the unpublished.
You thought it was pure talent, didn’t you?
Consider this… the Olympics just finished. Every athlete there has literally spent thousands of hours training and practicing. Even if he or she has natural talent, they wouldn’t have made the Olympics without that practice.
If you read Stephen King’s “On Writing” he will tell you that he wrote dozens of stories that did very little. He wasn’t an instant success. He kept writing and honing his craft to get where he is today.
Let me put it to you another way. I’ve spoken with several writers and publishers and the one recurring statement is that “Overnight Success” usually takes 15 (or more) years. I met an author by the name of KA Bedford (www.kabedford.com) who now has four books in print. Does he believe he has made it yet? Not in the least.
The public never sees all the work and sleepless nights and angst that came before the “Overnight Success”.
I’ve had a couple people tell me that they believe I will get published. They aren’t saying that because they’ve read my work and think I’m brilliant. Far from it. Neither person has ever read a single word I’ve written. They’ve made that comment because I’m enthusiastic and committed to seeing my work make it. I’m sending my books out and actively talking about them to publishers to give them the best chance I can.
I know my stuff isn’t perfect, but then no book is. Every single book goes through the editing process before it sees print (at least the ones that are professionally published). I also know that every story I’ve written has been a little better than the last. I consider this my apprenticeship. One day I will be a master.
Trust me, there are days when I have a heck of a time getting started. I can’t imagine that I’ll ever succeed. I definitely won’t if I quit. That’s the mantra I have to keep repeating. Eventually, someone will decide they like one of my stories and agree to publish it. When that day comes, I plan to have lots of other stories to give them. If they still don’t want the others, I’ll write new ones and continue to flog the old ones elsewhere, this time with a publishing credit on my resume. The first story will be the hardest, but it won’t be the last.
Hang in there. Keep writing and keep submitting. Only then do you have a chance to get your work published.
I’ve got my most recent story in front of my first readers. I’m hoping to have all comments back by mid-September so I can look and see what (if anything) needs changing. I’ll give it a final polish and send it out by the beginning of October.
I’m in the midst of rewriting my Fantasy novel. I am still targeting the end of October to have a minimum of four chapters complete. Just in time for the World Fantasy Convention. I’m really excited about this one because I already know it will be a better story for the rewrite. I’m going to run it through Critters.org to get additional insight.
Part of my excitement comes from knowing the story is better and part of it comes from the fact that I met with a publisher and had a really good chat with him. I have submitted this story to him in the past so I was hesitant to mention it to him. But mention it I did and he has given me permission to resubmit it. He gave me some great advice on the writing process and I left feeling really jazzed. Even if he rejects it again I know I’ve made a terrific contact.
Mik Murdoch is still out at another publisher. They’ve had it for about a month and a half so it’s still pretty early to expect anything back. Fingers are crossed though. This publisher has the full manuscript and I’m very hopeful.