Get Writing or Get Lost
Contracts are being written at this very minute. People are being published. Booksellers are getting books and placing them on shelves. All this happens while other writers are getting lost with their writing. There’s much ado about writing out there. I’ll break it down into three categories of A.D.O.
There’s an abundance of advice on how to write. Thousands of books cover the topic of writing, from Stephen King’s On Writing to Donald Maass’s Fire in Fiction. There are websites, blogs, and conferences where you can do seminars to learn the craft. There’s as much advice on writing as there is air to breathe.
As a writer, you need to get to a place where you combine it with actively practicing the art of writing. When the writing day is over, make sure you’ve written something. One of the best writing schools is writing itself. By the simple act of writing, you become better at it. It’s been said you need to write over a million words before you’re considered publishable.
Writers procrastinate. It’s pretty standard for writers to reread their work, edit this, edit that. But you can’t dawdle around and expect to have the next bestseller. Read what advice you want; then write. Come up with reasons to do this or that; then write. People with excuses don’t have book deals, and people with book deals don’t have excuses.
If you find trouble getting into it, set some time goals. Between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., I’ll read, study, take notes and ruminate, but at 1:00 p.m., I start writing.
If that doesn’t work for you, set word count goals.
We’ve all heard the odds of getting published. They’re stacked against a novice writer. Literary agencies tell us that queries mount into the thousands per year. Hundreds upon hundreds of unsolicited queries hit an agency weekly. And that’s just one agency. There is a vast number of agencies in New York alone. I’ve read agents who have said they took on two new clients this year. That’s two out of thousands of queries. Wow, you’d have a better chance of buying a lottery ticket that’ll produce dream-inducing results.
With that in mind, it doesn’t matter. That’s correct. You read it right. It doesn’t matter—none of it matters.
It doesn’t matter if you wrote something unique. It doesn’t matter if your voice is unheard of, your style is a dream, and your storytelling ability is incredible. The odds don’t matter when you’re good. Just write a good book, and none of the odds of getting into publishing will matter.
So take some advice and don’t dawdle. Avoid thinking about how hard it is to break into the industry. Just write a damn good story.
Make it original. If you knock people out of their chairs with your work, you have a better chance against those odds than if you just knock their socks off. Don’t dawdle; write. Avoid spending too much time with much A.D.O. about writing and get your story on paper.
After all, you’re a storyteller.