♦Welcome to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop!♦
What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a writer?
Welcome back to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop! If you’re new to the series, the authors included are grateful for your reads and appreciate, even more so, when you share our writings with your friends. If you’re new to the series, welcome aboard. The authors engage and impress weekly. Be prepared to become a regular reader.
There is so much I wish I could tell myself back in the ninth grade when I set my sights on becoming an author. Aside from reassuring myself that I did not forget to remember my beginnings, and to give back, I could alleviate a great deal of heartache, which can be a damper to the creative life. The trial nearly stopped me from becoming published, and it is a tale that is not unique to myself, but is hidden in the wings by almost all authors. There is a precarious line between exemplifying the success that allows readers to believe in you and your work, and being real about where you actually are in your career. Authors have to exude professionalism in its many facets.
To the would be writer, I would say, prepare for a long journey of which your path will be unique from those of your peers. So comparing their successes, or what appears to be successes, is not helpful to you. You could look at the things they have done, and perhaps find something you might be able to repeat, but don’t expect the same results. Every author is unique.
Should you choose to take on this art form, be aware that it is an arduous fate. If you think lawyers work very hard at what they do, with their long hours and reams of research, you are in for much the same. Do go to school to hone the skills you need, and to gain life experiences that will inform your writing, and to get the structured practice of writing at the collegiate level. Go as far as you desire for a degree, because it really will help you.
Start with what you are comfortable writing, and allow yourself to grow beyond your comfort zones. There is great treasure to be found there. You’ll know when you are ready to stretch, because the desire to do so will nag you. You can do it. I know, because I have.
Network for more than business connections. The colleagues you have are real people, and they can love and support you through this journey. You’ll be thankful to give them your best, as well as receiving their best in return. These connections are worth more than business contacts could ever be. You might be reluctant because you’ve heard of how authors have their ideas stolen, but you’ll understand how to navigate this world by keeping your work in progress a secret until you’re ready to share it publicly. (The more you talk about it online, the less likely someone is to steal, because you have date stamped proof.) I’d be more worried about something happening if you sell an option for a screen spec, than another author taking from you.
Don’t take the advice that you need to live a sanitized persona online in order to please others, and not make waves. If you’re disingenuous, would be readers will know, and they will not feel compelled by you or your work. Vapidness such as this is very uninteresting, the complete opposite of what you want to attempt. Just like in life, those who will be drawn to you will come, those who are repelled will always leave. There are enough readers to go around.
Do review advice with a critical eye. Not every bit of it will suit your situation, but you can’t reject it all. A writer can always learn something new. What you think might not work for you, could just need a tweak to be the exact tool to fix the problem. Imagine that you get a bit of advice from a professional in the field that you queried, and it’s a declination. Many authors will take that letter and throw it in the trash, hurt and angry, tired and fed up. But, what if the professional had something to say that was key to opening the doors you find shut to you? Go ahead and feel your feels in the moment. Rejection sucks. Go back to the advice later and see if you can glean something from it useful. if not, file the letter away. It may be entirely useless, or it may be that you’re not ready to hear what it’s saying quite yet. Sometimes we need just a little time to gain new perspective. Don’t wallow.
Lastly, remember why you write. The publishing industry and the frustration of marketing your work can make you forget. The struggle will be the hardest you face in your career. Be prepared to face innumerable closed doors, high walls to climb, and massive-rugged terrain. For the most part, you will be on your own. This is why you need that support system I mentioned above. You are going to get rejection letters that are cold, some could even be called cruel. The industry is harsh, because the folks working at the other end of those letters are burned out. Some enjoy being cruel (just like any other job).
My blog and my vlog is full of advice for writers. Don’t be shy. Give it a good look over. Be open minded. You might just find some things you can put to use for the journey.
Let’s hop over to some other author responses and see what they have to share…