The reality, of course, is that she’d be much more likely to empty her drink in my face or, worse yet, simply laugh and saunter away. Which is why I don’t generally go around strutting my stuff and puffing out my feathers. But as writers, this is what we need to do. We need to shout Baby I’m your writer from every mountaintop.
For some of us, this comes easy. For others, and I suspect it’s a majority of us, this is not a natural thing to do. It’s important, though. If a novel falls in the woods and nobody is there to catch it, to read it, to dig their feet in the sand, and put the book down because they don’t want it to end just yet, was it ever actually written?
Well, yes, it was written. That’s a stupid question. Of course it was written. Somebody, maybe you, spent months, maybe years, throwing words on paper, taking them off, then putting them back. Crafting a work of art. Moving characters in and out of trouble. But if nobody is ever going to know about it, why bother?
So, write, then write some more, then a little more and once you have something worth reading, get out there, on every street corner, and shout your message. Send out queries. Join a writer’s group, tell people what you’ve written, make contacts, attend conferences, hobnob with agents and editors. Talk to other writers, the ones who’ve made it and those who are still running up that hill. Use social media. Get the word out.
You’ll get knocked down. Many times. But dust yourself off, slip your spurs back on, hop back on that horse of yours, and head off into the woods, shouting Baby I’m your writer. Perseverance, my friend. It will pay off. Just make sure people have heard of you, and what you’ve written.
-- John Bartell, DFWWW Member since 2009
photo credit: alphadesigner
There’s lots of writing advice floating around. I’ve learned hundreds of tips and tricks from craft books, from conferences, from industry professionals and colleagues. But if I had to single out the one tidbit, the very best piece of writing wisdom anyone has ever shared with me, it would be this:
Write another book.
Seriously, I promise it’s the all-purpose, regenerative, industrial strength cure for what ails. Facing rejection, again and again? Still revising the same novel since 2002? Write another book. Each new project helps you grow and gain perspective. You can’t develop your voice or hone new skill sets if you’re forever rearranging the same tired words. A new book is a second chance. Be courageous and take it.
Or maybe you’ve already had some success, but new worries are a constant plague. Are you angst-ing while on submission? Did your agent leave the business? Did your first contract fall through? Did your first (or fiftieth!) novel fail to earn out? Are critics (or critique partners) calling for your blood?
WRITE ANOTHER BOOK.
When your inbox spells doom and your last project is in doubt, dare to move forward, turning your back on everything you’ve tried before. Your last manuscript was not a failure—those words taught you what they could. They prepared you for the next page one. But don’t let them become the end, the barnacle-encrusted stopper in a half-empty bottle. Open yourself up to possibility of future success and begin again. Refill, refuel, and overflow. Write something new once more. This next project may be the one that sees you through, and you will never know if you linger in old blind-spots, dabbling with yesterday’s words.
So take the best advice I’ve ever gotten. Write another book.
-- Jenny Martin, DFWWW Member since 2009
photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/puzzler4879/4230867631/