I recently celebrated my five-year-anniversary of writing full-time. Here's a talk I gave last night at our local library about ten things that I've learned about publishing in those five years.
Life is not fair and neither is publishing. Some doors open and some stay shut.
Think long term. Nobody else is going to think long term if you don’t. What
kind of writer would you like to be? Keep that image in mind even if you
don’t tell anybody else.
Being published, being paid to write, and especially being read is a privilege.
It’s too easy to feel entitled. Don’t act like you deserve to be published.
Publishing can either make you cynical and bitter or optimistic and hopeful. I
used to be bitter. Now I choose hope.
Even if you work twice as hard and twice as fast, publishing still takes A
VERY, VERY LONG TIME. Be patient.
Writing is like running a marathon. You have to train. And you train by running a lot.
But when you’re finally in that race, you might surprise yourself by what you
can do. Write and keep writing to build up stamina for whatever’s next.
If you’re going to write full-time, make SURE you have about ten fallback
plans. Plus about a million dollars in the bank. Think long and hard about
Even if you think you’re well-connected, get out there and build relationships.
Not Facebook friends but face-to-face. In 2009, going to a convention landed me a
couple of jobs. Personal connections matter. Network in every way
So many things in publishing are out of your control. Do everything you can
that’s in your control. For me, that’s thinking of new storylines, talking to
possible collaborators, working on future books, marketing. Be urgent when
nobody else is.
Occasionally remind yourself why you are interested in writing. Re-read that
book you love. Re-watch that movie that moves you. The joy comes in
creating, not signing a contract or holding your book. Don’t ever forget to
love what you’re doing.
Labels: dreams, on writing, Perseverance, Top ten lists, why write