Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesdays, where I post (you guessed it) tips on writing every Wednesday at 5:00 PM ET. This week’s topic:
So you’ve done it. You’ve successfully bled your writing onto hundreds of pages. You’ve somehow gotten the attention of a publisher. He’s given you a proposal deadline. You’re ready. You’ve trained for this. You’ve lived for this. You’ve dreamed of this. And now….now…
You’re totally not ready.
You know the deadline and suddenly every negative thought you’ve ever pushed past is back. …Which may look a little something like this:
But wait, this is supposed to be a good thing, right? Well, getting published is. But often when we are presented with the possibility of realizing our dreams, it can be overwhelming. So how do we combat that? Well, first, we have to address some questions…
Important, Though Unpleasant, Questions and Fears:
What if I fail? What if they reject my proposal? I’ll have gotten my hopes up for nothing. I can’t take another rejection.
The Realistic Positives:
- There is more than one publisher in the world, and therefore so many other people you can send your proposal to if this one doesn’t work out
- You can go to writing conferences and pitch your work to a literary agent. If they like your work, you can often bypass this process altogether, and just send them the first 30 or 50 pages of your work (or however many pages that particular agent requests from you)
- Famous authors like Patrick Rothfuss and J.K. Rowling were rejected so many times, yet they eventually made it. And do you know why? The power of persistence. The reality is that rejection often means you are one step closer to getting published—it is, unfortunately, usually part of the game! But if actors gave up every time they got rejected, they would never be in another play again—and it’s the same with writers. We must keep getting rejected if we hope to eventually get the best part! Er…get published!
- If you have writing in you, and feel like you were born to write, there is no danger in “getting your hopes up for nothing.” If you feel this way, you will continue to feel this way, because you have likely felt this way since you were a child. If writing is what you are meant to do, so what if you get let down once in a while? You will feel the sadness, craft a story out of it, and continue feeling the need to write once it passes. Don’t worry about having your hopes dashed. You are a writer. There will always be hope.
The great thing is that if you are given the opportunity to write on the to-be-published level, all you have to do is continue doing what you already were doing: writing.
So, really, there is no huge change apart from the fact that now, instead of dreaming of where your writing might get published, you know where it might be published. In the meantime, your habit stays the same: you write.
The next time you are worried about the possibility of success, remember: all you have to do is persist, and continue to write. And if you need a light refresher, you can read up on How to Write Often and Not Burn Out. Because remember—persisting is the key to being a successful writer. So go on. Dare to hope. Dare to dream. And dare to face reality: the reality that soon you could be a published writer.
And, in the meantime, write.
Alyssa Grace Moore
You can also find Alyssa on Twitter: @alyssagracem
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