Throughout my journey as a writer, I have learned from my mistakes and picked up several tips along the way. One of the things I have learned is:
- Practice. Writing is an art, and like any other, it has to be learned. Steve Martin, comedian, who also wrote a novel said, “I think I did pretty well, considering I started out with nothing but a bunch of blank paper.” With that bunch of blank paper, or a blank computer screen staring at you, it can be easy to become intimidated. But you have to write and write, edit and edit, rinse and repeat until your words sing to you, or someone else. And even then most writers are not content. I read somewhere that War and Peace was edited one hundred times before being published. Bottom line, the saying practice makes perfect holds true for writing as it does for any art form. Which brings me to the second point:
- Patience. Don’t be in too much of a hurry to be published. I know this is your goal as a writer, but before you begin sending out your work, make sure it’s the best it can be. Take workshops, attend conferences, network with other writers, and don’t be afraid of rejection. It’s just another tool to help you improve your art. If the editor/agent was good enough to explain why your story was rejected, thank him/her, keep the letter and refer to it often when you are writing or querying. Many famous authors like Stephen King, Jane Austen and others had their work rejected before they received acceptance. Which leads me to:
- Perseverance. Dr. Richard Carlson, now famous author of Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff was discussing with his wife one evening that he was thinking of quitting writing because he had received such a small advance on his book, You Can Be Happy, No Matter What, when the phone rang. It was Oprah’s producer calling to say that she was just in their library looking for a book on stress management when the book fell off the shelf and hit her in the head! The lady wanted to know if he could come out the next day to be on the Oprah show. And as we say, the rest is history. Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff has sold over 25 million copies.
Keep on writing. No matter what happens, never give up.
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