Wednesday, April 6, 2011
So You Wanna Be a Writer? (Pt 2)
So You Wanna Be a Writer…Pt 2
On Monday, we discussed what comes next after you decide that you are, in fact, a writer. As a quick refresher:
10. Start to Budget for extras.
9. Join national/local groups for writers.
7. Start small, dream big.
6. Join a critique group.
5. Adjust your schedule to allow time to write.
4. Don’t give up on reading!
3. Write, write, write!
2. Read every book on the craft you can get your hands on.
And now for the ugly truth.
The number one thing that a new writer has to do is…
LET GO OF YOUR ILLUSIONS.
I know, I know—“But, Ralene, I don’t have any illusions. I don’t expect to be the next “insert name of famous author here”.” (Did I even punctuate that right? Oy!)
Trust me…that’s not the only myths that new writers (and some not so new writers as well). I could start a whole different Top 10 for that, and maybe I will someday, but not now. Instead, I just want to let you in on a few little secrets.
Writing isn’t easy.
That’s the biggie. You may have cranked out 70-200K words blindfolded with one hand behind your back. Sorry—it ain’t that easy. Some of the best times for a writer are when they are creating a new story. They get to live vicariously through their characters and experience things they may not otherwise (or possibly re-experience something they already went through). It’s fun to discover new people, places, and ideas.
It’s also hard work and little immediate return. When you commit to writing, something always gets sacrificed. For some it’s time with family, others it’s their social life, and still others (like me) it’s stuff like housekeeping, hobbies, etc. For some, it’s all of the above. Writing can be a very lonely profession. (And people wonder why we’re obsessed with Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, and other social media!)
Sometimes, though, we just want to give in. Give in to that TV show, give in to that date with the girls, give in to that voice in the back of our head telling us we’ll never amount to anything so crawl under a rock and hide. Writer’s block hits and we’re ready to throw in the towel—is it really worth it?
Inside we discover a strength we didn’t know we had, and we push through and move on. We do what we do because it’s our passion, our heart, our lifeblood.
Just so you know, the publication process is slow.
The average wait time for a novel to go from contract to book shelf is about 12 months. Sometimes shorter, often times longer. And that’s AFTER it’s been contracted. No one told me that it can take up to 2 months to hear back about a stinkin’ query letter…IF I hear back from them at all. Or that, even though the agent/editor sounded SO excited in their request for a full manuscript that it could be anywhere from 1 month to 6 before I hear a yay or nay.
The joys of writing.
All that to say…writing is tough. Not just anyone can write, and write well. That’s not to discourage anyone…but to reveal the ugly truth. Let go of your illusions, roll up your sleeves, and dig in for the long haul.
Here’s just a few fun quotes from fellow writers:
Diane M Graham: “One of the best parts of being a writer is creating a world and characters. One of the worst parts of being a writer is the responsibility of that world and its characters.”
Kimchi Lya McMahon Blow: “The worst thing and best thing...the creative "voice" in me never shuts up!:) Sometimes that's bad and sometimes it's good!”
Katie Ganshert: “The best thing about writing is writing. The worst thing about writing is writing.”
Do you see a trend in those quotes?