How in the world am I supposed to write, rewrite, edit, market myself, blog, find an agent, network and find time for the seemingly hundreds of things that writers are “supposed to do” in order to establish themselves and win the great trophy of the title published? (For those of you who can relate to this, it may be an appropriate time to tear at your hair).
I’m writing this to set your heart at some ease and keep the rest of the hair on your head. I spoke to a published author at a writer’s conference a year ago who told me to go head and try all the recommended methods for finding an agent and getting published and then see what doors open for me.
It’s willingness to do the necessary work that tends to lead toward opportunities and much-needed breaks, she said.
When I started getting overwhelmed by how I was going to structure my novel and whether I’d done things in the right order with the right timing and architecture, a mentor of mine assured me that no one in the industry “Knows what they hell they’re talking about.”
He went on to assure me that most people know what they like to read, and that’s where it ends. He didn’t intend to disrespect those on the publishing side of the industry, but the words were meant to comfort me, the fledgling writer who is beginning to spread her wings, and let me know that in the end it comes down to a really compelling story.
Revelation: I can’t write a compelling story if I’m exhausted, overwhelmed and bitter about all the busy-work I think I’m supposed to be doing to be successful. For me, the desire to be responsible wells up very easily and chokes that creative, impetuous spirit that needs freedom and a light heart in order to function well.
So go ahead, enter the contests, create your own blog, join the professional twitter community, attend a writers group, submit short stories to magazines, start getting yourself out in the world and you will, at the very least, feel less alone on your journey. That fact alone makes it worth it to me.
The most important thing for writers is to not lose the fire that started you down this road, before you ever wanted to make a living at it or gain recognition or be able to call yourself a published author. If this means slowing down in your other marketing or networking activities, do it. You can’t let that flame go out.
If you’re struggling to fan that enthusiasm back into being, I want to hear from you. It’s our responsibility as writers to help each other stay writing.