Photo by: Lucas Moratelli
Please note: This article is in regards to being published in traditional markets versus self-publishing.
Writers face many challenges on the long road to becoming a published author — lack of time, money, resources, inspiration, support, etc. One of the biggest challenges (IMHO) is simply staying motivated against the overwhelming odds of getting published, or at least, the perception of the odds.
FacebookPhoto by: Lucas Moratelli
As an aspiring writer, I have collected what I feel is more than my fair share of rejections (count is now up to 48 on 8 short stories…ouch!). The rejections used to be canned, with ZERO personalization or any acknowledgement the story was even read. But as time progressed, I started to receive a hand full of rejections with a few kind words, and even some pointers on what did and didn’t work for the publisher.
While it sucks getting rejections, especially so many, I knew from my research that this is pretty typical for new writers exploring the traditional world of fiction publishing, that it’s going to take a number of rejections (which sadly, is looking like far more than 48 for me) and the value of those rejections improve before the first publishing credit is finally earned.
But things sure got interesting when one of my stories finally got noticed!
The world of art is routed with sharp peaks whose summits exist for only a moment, and long dark valleys that end at the base of another mountain. Why can’t it be the other way around? Why can’t we live in the clouds for days on end and only have time to dip our toes in the depths? I find the answer to be a simple one.
Because we demand more from ourselves.
Writing is taking the long road to say something simple.
Stand up for what you believe in.
Try not to be a dick.
If we all work together, we can do great things.
The funny thing about acknowledging that you’re doing something complicated to convey a seemingly simple message is that what you do suddenly carries a bit more weight. Because of that, most stories weigh more than they’re worth. Readers abandon them in search for something they are willing to carry. Continue reading
Are you stuck in a loop of writing, editing, and submitting with no end in sight? Maybe you have an agent, but he hasn’t been able to sell your stuff. Maybe you’ve published a short story in your local paper. Whatever the case, you are a writer. Obsession isn’t always the right word to describe the passion you put into your pieces, but you put pen to paper and create while somehow juggling life in the foreground.
Most of us are background writers, and that’s more than okay: that’s reality. Now we’re approaching summer, and I always find myself a little more energetic. Why, just these last two weekends I pruned my honey locusts, planted some lilacs, and finished a frame for a three-by-four-foot painting. Now I need to write. Continue reading
with every cry we pierce the sky.
with every word we scorch the earth.
but the sky quickly corrects itself
and eats our voices without pleasure or remorse.
and the earth scars over with growth
to drown our passions without ambition.
What’s your favorite book? Yes, of all time. No, you have to pick one. That’s a terrible book. The characters are flat, the plot is unbelievable, and I care more about Aunt Jemima’s struggles as a slave to Mrs. Butterworth.
So, did that change your opinion? Odds are there’s something more to your favorite book. Something you can’t put into words that just feels right. It’s the book that inspires you, redirects you, and lets you know you’re not alone in what you do and who you are. And that’s just the thing with art. Not everyone who sees Picasso’s Guernica is going to react…even I have trouble believing that, but it’s probably true. Continue reading
I just finished editing a book for a man who knows a lot about the direct and indirect effects of addiction. Looking at myself and those I know, we tend to get addicted to things that aren’t always what we want in the long term. I mean, sure, we have moments where we want it, but we look back on a sugar binge or an alcohol induced night of mischief and say, “Really? That’s how I want to spend my nights?” I don’t know the answer, but through this post, I hope to find out how to get addicted to the right things. How to get addicted to writing. Continue reading
When I look at what I do as a writer and the emotions I go through creating my pieces, I find great comparisons to be made to my singer/song writer uncle and my graphic design teacher/painter friend. Too many writers write while ignoring the notion that they might be an artist, as though it doesn’t matter. They suffice to call it a craft. I am given a lot of crap for a slogan I bear without shame or guilt that holds true to this conversation, a slogan that demands our will to make realities manifest. “Do It Intentionally.”
If you write with the same intention that a woodworker has when making a chair for function, your writing will only be seen as an afterthought. In all its glory, it may challenge the heights of a coffee table book or a stack of magazines to give a mind “something to do.” But a woodworker can also make a throne. They can make a place for thinkers, great scientists and philosophers, to ponder stagnation, progression, regression, essentially perception of mankind’s wandering steps through reality.
Writing holds that same majesty, the difference between a jingle on the radio and a life-changing song that demands attention, action, and, mainly, thoughtfulness from the listener.
The difference is intention.
Every author creates a character they one day look at and say, “Who the hell are you?” It’s such an annoying thing to become aware of, but it’s often not as bad as the writer may think. Too many people become obsessed with following some perceived construction of new rules they must abide by if they wish to get published or become famous. The numbers, of course, show a different truth, but that’s for another time…and another writer.
We’re talking about static characters here, characters who do not develop throughout the story, so let’s start out with the concerns that I will pull randomly from no place in particular: