The Write Stuff

You have talent, you are determined. So, why can’t you get that book deal? For the un-agented, why can’t you snag that elusive dream agent? Here’s why. You’re chances of making it are chance. Just like everyone else. In publishing, chance is king.

It’s a subjective business. Let me clarify that: what floats your boat doesn’t float mine, or that agent, editor, reader. It’s based on opinions and opinions are like assholes – everyone has one. Talent has something to do with it, but not nearly enough. Talent will only get you part of the way there. To be talented, my advice is to write. Then write some more.

Be careful not to think you’re better than Grisham or King. Don’t be to hard on yourself because you’re not. No one will ever be Grisham or King except Grisham and King. And they’ll never be you. No one will. Strive to better than only one other writer – yourself.

Don’t waste your time on jealousy and envy. Neither will get you published. The only way to get published is to write. Write a little every day if you can. Write in your head when you can’t.

Don’t listen too much to others who say you are fabulous. It’s a compliment, not an invite to the top spot on the NYT bestseller list. You are not nearly as good as you can be, or will be. Write.

Don’t take rejection letters to heart, at least too much. Five minutes of self-pity, that’s all you’ve got time for. If you spend more that that, you’ll doubt yourself. Doubt won’t get you published. Doubt leads to giving up. Look for something in those rejections you can use and then write, revise. Write even if they’re form letters. Find other writers like you. Then write.

Hold on to your critique partners. Be kind, but truthful. Expect the same of them. If you think you’re an artist and perfect, you’ve taken a u-turn and are headed for a dead-end. Advice from your critique partners is crucial. They are your road map to your destination. Listen. Read. Think. Edit.

Be kind. Be polite and professional. The publishing world is smaller than most home-town communities. They have long memories when it comes to negative things and short memories when it comes to the good. Keep your good name out there. Write.

Dream. It adds depth to your words. But remember, dreams alone will not get you published. Dreams, if over-indulged, will rob you of your goal.

Live. It’s the only way you’ll experience things worthy of writing about.

Have persistence. Persistence will get you part of the way there. No one can see the future. If you could, my recommendation would be to play the lottery. Everyone who has been published knows the value of persistence – even above talent.

Have patience. Patience will get you part of the way there. My advice is to learn patience. Few have ever made themselves an over-night sensation. You are not one of those people. Trust me, instant success will not happen to you.

Now, go write. In the immortal words of Henry Ford, If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.

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6 thoughts on “The Write Stuff

  1. Hi Michelle,
    Great post, to be honest I write for pleasure and whilst I do dream of one day making it into print I’m pretty realistic. Theres all sorts of things that can be done to improve your chances but, at the end of the day, its just a case of hoping that your letter and sample land on the right desk, on the right day at the right time.

    I have to also agree heavily with your crit group comment, you really can’t beat a group of alpha readers that are also trying to do the same thing as you. However Critism is just that, you have to learn to develop a thick skin and to go with your gut as if you try to sell an idea to everyone you’ll sell it to no one.

    The whole thing has to also stem back as to why you write. If you’re writing because you want to make millions then you’re in the wrong game, if you write because you have to and write what you want to read, you’ll appeal to others. The thing is to find your own voice and not to attempt to copy others “voices.”
    When you can do that and with the backing of a good crit group who can help you improve your craft then your well on the road.

  2. HI! Great post, excellent advice.

    Lol, I write because I have to write (and I love to do it). That’s what keeps me going when I get the rejections: The knowledge that if I don’t write I go crazy and stop sleeping so I might as well keep on. Kind of sounds like an addiction huh? ^^

    Just gotta keep on trying cause I KNOW I can.

  3. Excellent post, Michelle! Wanna write my guest blogs for me? LOL

    I’m with Firewolf. I write because I love to write, because it makes me feel good to visit the people and places I love. And because if I don’t write I go a little nuts.

    DBR

  4. As many successful writers have admitted, Lady Luck can favour you, or not, as she chooses. But if you don’t write and submit Lady Luck won’t come a-calling.

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