My New Year’s resolution is to blog regularly. It’s been a year since I made an entry here and that’s just too long. It’s not that I’ve nothing to say. I’m chock full of opinions—just ask anyone who knows me well. I’ll try to share some of those thoughts as we make our way through 2010. Mostly I’ll blog about writing and getting published. Many of my Facebook friends are writers and I suspect many of my blog readers will be also. But I reserve the right to blog on other topics as it seems appropriate.
Probably the best place to start is to help motivate you to success as a writer in 2010. Every writer I know has faced rejection and discouragement about their writing. I certainly have my share of rejection slips (and am collecting more all the time). If you’re a beginning writer, rejection slips can be very depressing. (Not that they aren’t depressing to seasoned writers—they ARE). But for new writers, it’s especially hard. You wonder, “Am I on the right track? Did God call me to be a writer? If so, why is it so hard to get published?”
I could probably blog all year on those three questions alone, but let me start by making three observations about writing success.
1. Repeated rejection does not necessarily mean you’re not a good writer. In my role as a senior editor at Harvest House Publishers, I reject good writers all the time. I do so with great reluctance, but the truth is that every publishing company has limits to what they can publish. We know what our company can reasonably publish in any given season and we choose the proposals that we think best fit our goals and are an appropriate fit for us. Thus, we often have to reject fine proposals that we trust the author will send elsewhere until he or she finds the right publisher.
2. A successful writing career is probably 60% about your writing and 40% about all the non-writing aspects of your career. So, if you’re a good writer, you’re well on your way. But are you doing the 40% that will give you a leg up? That 40% consists of things like knowing the current market, personal reading time, going to writer’s conferences (and meeting with editors), building the dreaded “platform,” belonging to a good critique group, and so on.
3. For most successful writers, the path to that success was very incremental. Patience is mandatory for aspiring writers. If you love to write and desire to succeed, then write down some incremental goals and keep moving ahead.
Certainly prayer is key too. That almost goes without saying. I’ve published nine or so books now and mostly the way they came to be published astonishes me. At some point in my blogging efforts this year, I’ll tell you how my first non-fiction book came to be published. It was nothing short of a miracle—and that’s often what it takes to get published these days.
Now I’m working on a book that is possibly the most exciting I’ve ever undertaken. It’s still in the proposal stage, but I’m very hopeful about it. For this writer, it’s a dream come true. But it almost didn’t happen. That too is a story I’ll try to blog about later in the year (after the proposal finds a publisher and I’m at liberty to write about it).
I don’t want to keep you here so long as to bore you, so I’ll try to keep my blog entries a reasonable length.
One final thing: I read several blogs myself and I’ve noticed I enjoy it when those bloggers answer questions about writing (or other subjects). So you can help me out by asking questions you think would be of interest to writers and I’ll occasionally use this space to tackle some of those questions. Email your questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll try to answer the ones that I think will benefit the most readers.
If you find what I write useful, please send my blog address to your friends. I’d love to build up my readership. And if you’re not a writer, I hope to blog some things you too will find of interest in the coming months.
Next time I’m going to discuss the editor/author relationship.
Now go work on your WIP (work in progress).