SO, YOU THINK YOU CAN DO IT BETTER?
Since I brushed on that subject in my last post, I thought I’d dig a bit deeper this time.
For a while, and maybe even now, some writers decided to get into this place your description here because they read a lot and thought they could do it better. I said before that I once thought that as part of my reason for becoming a place my description here writer. It was a very fractional part. My main reasons for becoming a writer was that I found my muse, I loved to do it, certain writer’s inspired me (not despite them), and I had a natural inclination to just sit down and git ‘er done.
For those reasons, writing became a passion, rather than a hobby. I can say the same for telescopes and visual observing, which is more commonly known as amateur astronomy. It has been a lifelong passion, rather than a hobby. Both of these passions are in my blood, not some passing thing that I can take or leave.
IT’S HARDER THAN IT LOOKS
Okay, you went to a few writing classes, you’ve picked up a few chops. Now, you’ve read quite a few books and seen numerous examples of lousy writing, some of them probably best-sellers. Think you can do it better?
There’s a few things you need to know. Now, if you’re an experienced writer or author, I’m not telling you anything new. However, if you’re just starting out, this is especially for you. If you’ve been at this for a while and may have “fergotted,” well, let me remind you.
Though you may be a decent writer, when it comes down to putting it on paper, or dashes and zeros (electronic media), there’s a huge difference from what you think and what gets down! What you think you wrote and what you actually write don’t always end up being the same thing.
What about editing? Sure, you can polish and polish, but though you may get the grammar and syntax just right, there may be a huge issue still missing.
What if you get all that right and you have a great book? Well…
THE REALITIES OF THE PUBLISHING WORLD
Just because you’ve written the most fantastic book since sliced bread, don’t expect the world to notice. Trust me on this!
While that piece of crap you scoffed at might end up a best seller, your fantastic tome can’t even get past the slush pile of an agent or editor anywhere in the good old You Ess And A, Jolly Olde’ Englande’, the Great White North or Tibet.
The reasons are too numerous to list, but let’s try a biggie.
There are thousands upon thousands of fantastic stories written by highly skilled wordsmiths in every genre imaginable that will never see print because of a multitude of reasons. One of the biggest is just plain luck.
WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED SO FAR?
You may be light-years ahead of that schlub that got a piece of trash published and is making a killing (boy I could name a few), but the one magic ingredient you don’t have is luck.
MAKING YOUR OWN LUCK
There are plenty of masterpieces of literature, non-fiction and fiction out there in every genre and non-genre. There is plenty of crap. Why? Those people either stumbled into luck or made their own. How did they make their own?
The only way I know how to make luck is persistence.
Don’t give up.
If you want it bad enough, keep plugging away.
I have a file cabinet full of rejection letters and partial manuscripts. I also have, or had e-mail files of whatever rejection letters the agents and/or publishers bothered to return. Many of them didn’t. In total, whether they did or didn’t return something, I have 682 rejections to be exact, last count. It took me 20 years.
How long will it take you?
WHY ARE YOU REALLY DOING THIS?
My suggestion, which I’ve told many, many writers, is do not make a specific goal of a certain number of months or years, or number of rejections before you give up. To me, that is a complete fallacy. When I started this passion, that’s exactly what it was, a passion. I got in this because I found my muse, it was easy for me and I love to write. Because of that, writing is always first. Therefore, getting published is always second. Sure, I’d like to, but despite trying and trying and seeing rejection after rejection, not once did I ever set a goal to quit. I’ve continued making my own luck and writing story after story because I love to write. It’s as simple as that.
It took twenty years, but it was well worth it. I’ve had a long time to hone my chops and now it’s starting to pay off. If I hadn’t got these two contracts, I would’ve continued to write anyway. By the time I croak, I might have a hard drive full of novels to pass on to the family. I really don’t care either way. I love to write and you as a writer need to keep that in mind before you start this. If all you are thinking about is business, you might consider something far more profitable and predictable.