Should I Keep Writing?


Writers are an insecure lot.

It's easy to understand why. You screw up at work and your boss jumps on your case, quick to tell you exactly what you need to do if you want to keep your job stuffing dough into that pizza press. You screw up your writing ? well, ten weeks later you receive a polite, generic rejection letter in the mail that basically says: Thanks, but no thanks. There is no boss to tell you how you screwed up or how to make it better. You're on your own, Mr. Wannabee A. Writer. Go lock yourself in your bathroom/office until you figure it out.

Unfortunately, this lack of feedback goes against our very nature as homo sapiens. If there's no stop sign at the intersection, we have to give serious consideration to whether we're willing to stop or not. That can be a real chore for those of us who are busy trying to dig a dime out between the seat cushions for that double-mocha cappuccino on the way to work. Put in a stop sign and it's a no-brainer. You stop. Then you start digging for the dime.

But for a writer, feedback comes in only one form ? if you sell the story, you did something right. If you didn't sell it, you did something wrong. There are those who will try to tell you this isn't true. That you can get good feedback from your spouse or your girlfriend or your buddies. But these are the same people who said you were feeding dough into the pizza press just fine. You can't trust the opinions, good intentions or not, of people who are only casual observers. So ? did your story sell or didn't it?

Well ? no. But why can't the editor take an extra minute and just tell me what was wrong? you wonder.

Yours is not the only manuscript the editor has to read. There are stacks of manuscripts all over the office, some higher than the desktop, with more arriving in the mail everyday. Editors don't have an extra minute. Not if they plan to scarf down a sandwich between noon and twelve-fifteen and still have time for a bathroom break. Your story has a page, two at the most, to capture the editor's interest. After that, well, there's always another story on the stack.

Another reason why the editor doesn't tell you what's wrong: your story's a nightmare. It would take more time to explain the problems than it took you to write the thing.

And the biggest reason of all: hell hath no fury like a writer scorned. Offer some helpful advice and the editor has undoubtedly learned that too often what he gets in return is an indignant letter full of obscenities.

Finally, writers need to understand that editors don't have all the answers. Yes, it's true, editors are people, too. They have their likes and their dislikes, their stern beliefs, their misconceptions. While one editor may abhor your story, another may find it brilliant.I mention all this in case you weren't already insecure enough.

And I mention it because there's another dead end request editors get thrown at them quite frequently. It goes like this:

Dear Mr. Editor: Enclosed please find my short story, titled "A Story By Any Other Name." I hope you like it. I think it's the best thing I've written. If you decide not to buy it, could you please tell me why. And could you also tell me if I should keep writing. I'd like to know if I have a future doing this.

If you have to ask, the answer is no, you don't have a future and you shouldn't keep writing.

Writing is not a pursuit for those who are weak of heart. Nor those who are thin-skinned. It is a pursuit for those who love doing it.

William F. Nolan used to say that if you want to be a writer then you sit your behind in the chair and write. Charles Grant said that he writes because he has to; he can't imagine not writing.

You want to be a writer? Don't ask editors or anyone else if you have what it takes. They don't know. They can't tell you if you'll make it or not. They might be able to tell you if you need to develop your skills more, but you already knew that. Writing is a profession you never stop perfecting. There's always more to learn.

You want to be a writer?

Persevere.

Go write ? and persevere.

David Silva
The Successful Writer
http://thesuccessfulwriter.com


MORE RESOURCES:
RELATED ARTICLES
8 Reasons Why A Freelance Writer Should Use the Internet
What a wonderful resource the Internet is!Students find information to help them with their studies; business people keep in touch with important clients and stay up to date with important business developments; stay-at-home-parents can find ideas for children's activities and feel less isolated by forging friendships with other online parents; and even small children have the opportunity to learn how to use the technology that will take them into the future.It seems everybody has a reason to use the Internet and writers are no exception.
The Write Habit: How to Strengthen Your Writing Muscle
Writing is a muscle that needs exercise to stay in shape.I realized how true that saying is when I took what I called "a well-earned break" after I finished my first novel.
Can Your Theme Be Proved In Your Story?
Creative Writing Tips -Your theme has to be something you can prove in your story - It doesn't have to be a universal truth. This means that your theme doesn't have to be something that happens in real life all the time (providing our logic can accept it, in order for us to believe it).
Are You Feeling Dash-ing? Using Punctuation for Effect and Influence
The dash--that curious mark of punctuation people use in their email and letters. Not the hyphen (-), but the dash (--).
A Writers Life
Ever wonder what an author's life is like? What that breathing, sweating, hungry, weary, bona fide guy does when he's not at the keyboard? How does his "day job" affect his writing? When he's mowing the lawn, grocery shopping, or babysitting grandchildren - what goes through his mind? Is he sucking up every sensation as he moves through his day, tucking tidbits away for a future piece? Or, does he simply journey through life, just - doing - these things?How do I define myself? Am I Aaron Paul Lazar, with the obligatory middle name, author of the LeGarde Mystery Series? Sometimes. At book signings, indeed.
Rules for Getting the Story Down
1. Write it fast, fix it later.
Important Points of Fiction
Fiction manuscripts receive feedback that addresses and scores:· The theme of the book· Character development and depth· Plot and story line resolution· Pace and setting of the story· The effective use of dialog· The appropriateness of the tense and point of view· How compelling the book will be in the marketplace· Spelling, grammar, punctuation and much more!The theme or premise of a novel is important because it sets the stage for the characters, the setting, the plot, the conflict, and the climax. Is it a story of love, jealousy, ambition, adventure, of triumph or failure? These themes, as well as many others must be considered and decided upon by the fiction writer.
Understanding Editorial Guidelines
Editorial guidelines, also known as writer's guidelines, are the rules set forth by publishers for contributing authors. In order to have your article taken seriously you must review the guidelines prior to submission.
Starting a Freelance Writing Career (or Thoughts About Taking the Plunge)
Nike's ad has taken on new meaning for me of late; "Just do it!" runs through my mind like a mantra. Although my dreams have nothing to do with athletic shoes and little to do with athletics (unless you count the long list of ideas I have developed which revolve around my sons and their activities), I have spent a long time avoiding the one thing I've always wanted to do - write.
The Demon Fear
You have a great idea for a poem, a story, an essay, an article, a book, or a novel, but you hesitate to write it. Why?Fear is the key to a writer's procrastination, hesitation, and dawdling.
A Quick Guide to ISBNs for Self-Publishers
ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. It is a code assigned to every published book that uniquely identifies it in the marketplace.
6 Ways to Leverage Technical Articles
Technology vendors often contribute bylined articles to trade journals. The articles are great exposure for these companies but they don't come cheap - the trades rarely pay for these articles but the vendors spend time and resources to assign pieces, write them, approve them and submit them.
Mumblings
The self-indulgent writer listens only to the mumblings of sycophants, toadies, and flatterers, thus failing to heed the valid criticisms of editors, critiquers, and reviewers.Since improvement involves the time to review, to edit, to revise, and to rewrite, the self-indulgent writer avoids or neglects to do this.
Writing from Home: It Can Be Great and Not-So-Great for Mothers
I went to school to be a teacher. In fact, I have a B.
Four Easy Ways to Get a Book Written (Especially If You Dont Like to Write)
Becoming an author is probably a lot easier than you think. It's time to get that book out of your head and onto the printed page.
Freelance Writing: A Career From Anywhere
An island in the Mediterranean. A beach in Africa.
Vital Verbs
Remember back in the dark days of your school years when you had to learn the parts of speech? A noun is the name of a person, place, or thing. When asked what a verb was, you smugly answered, A verb is a word that indicates action, or some such definition.
Publication Road
The journey to having my first novel for children published has been riddled with road blocks and shonky bridges. The good news? At every rickety stage I've picked up tips (and anti-tips) which I'm happy to share with everyone.
Where to Look for Your Next Project when You're Writing for Profit
When my first book "Starting Your Own Business" was published way back in 1995, I thought that was it. I reckoned I'd never write another one.
Know your Audience Before you Write Your Book or Web Site
If you want happy customers to use your service or buy your book, you need to focus on their needs and desires.Unhappy customers leave when they can't find what they want--benefits and an easy way to buy.

Home | Articles Site Map