Friday, June 11, 2010

Are You Serious About Writing?

If you are a writer, the first question you need to ask yourself is: Are you serious about it? Sure you say. I write on a regular basis, at least once a week.

But are you serious enough to get published? Here is where responses will vary I suspect. Some say, no, of course, I write for myself and for fun. Others will shrug and say maybe, someday. And still others will say, sure, as quickly as I can turn out stuff.

And what kind of publishing are we talking about? Self-publishing/blogging? Small press publishing? Electronic publishing? print? Both? I don't think the type or method of publishing matters. I do think it is important to remember why you are writing.

I say this because I lost sight of this recently. I , like others, started writing for fun and enjoyment. I figured that if I wrote it, it must be good and I should able to get it published and make a zillion dollars. 

Wrong. I forgot that if I want to be published, I need to treat writing like a business, which it is. I was treating it like a hobby and I can't do that if I want to be published because I'll cut corners and rush something out without the proper review and checks and such. 

Suddenly it became clear why I was getting rejections on everything I was submitting. I wasn't serious about writing.

And that's my message to those of you who want to publish, treat it like a business. Make sure you can handle rejection and critiques of your work. Be open-minded when you receive comments, and be wary of praise. Many who give praise don't look very deeply at your work or want something from you.

As for me, once I realized my problem I changed my behavior and outlook and I devised a way to test myself.

I wrote a short story and gave to someone who agreed to review and publish it in his blog. It turns out he really liked the story except for the ending. That was good information and was the first encouraging feedback I've received recently. It has given me the confidence to revise the ending and work on a second short story. It has also encouraged me to try to submit my novel to another small press.

My focus now is to build my publishing history so that anyone considering my work will know I am capable of writing quality stories. Sure, I don't need that if I self-publish the novel but I don't want to publish trash. The only way I know my work is good enough is to have an independent evaluation. And that means someone else has to publish it.

There's no other way for me. If I am serious about writing then I must aspire to write stories and novels that are worth publishing. Anything less means I'm not serious and I care too much about my work and my potential readers to do that.

No comments: