I’m a writer. I didn’t choose it, it chose me. If you’re a writer, I know you can relate.
For years I tried to deny it, mostly because of the mocking laughter and guffaws I got from other people when I shared my dreams. Last year, I made the decision to go all in and I’m so glad I did.
Now, I’m not saying it’s been all happiness and great successes. In fact, most days I feel like the woman in the picture above. But one thing I’ve learned is that if you’re going to brave this writing world and be successful you need one thing more than any other: persistence.
Let me share the past year with you.
I began writing short stories almost weekly and submitting them to various places online. The rejections have been fast and furious. But over time, the letters went from the template rejection letter to “it’s good but just not for us.”
I’ll take that as a win.
I also completed a year-long short story challenge. Every month I was given a writing prompt and a word count. The rules are simple: submit your prompt and give feedback on at least four other stories.
There is nothing like feedback from other writers. They are brutally honest. But I can say that the feedback I received showed me my weaknesses and allowed me to vastly improve them.
I also wrote a novel for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Once I finished the first draft, I read through it. Made changes. Then gave my second draft to four beta readers.
That was tough.
But the feedback shocked me. They pointed out some weaknesses but also told me my story was really good and just needed some tweaking. Before you ask, these are people I know on Instagram, but never personally met. I did this on purpose. I wasn’t looking for pats on the back. I wanted in-your-face honesty. And I got it.
I finished four more revisions of the book. Now it’s as ready as it can be.
My next move is the query for an agent. I spent three weeks writing my synopsis and query letter. This week, I began sending them out (after doing my due diligence).
Now I wait.
Last August, I began a series of online creative writing courses. I just finished the capstone course about a week ago. There were so many useful pointers that really helped me build my writing muscles. Once again, the feedback from my classmates was invaluable. I also learned that critiquing the work of others helped my writing as well. That was surprising, to say the least.
Why am I telling you this?
If you are serious about being a writer, you need to be persistent. The only difference between successful and unsuccessful writers, is how persistent they are. Trust me. I’ve read plenty of bad books and when I do I always think “someone published this?”
Now, I’m not saying my book is bad. I’m just saying that I know if those authors found someone to publish them, so can I.
So keep at it. Every day. And please don’t wait until you “feel inspired.” Feelings are fickle and waiting for inspiration is a fool’s game.
Find time every day to write and make it sacrosanct. No excuses.
Read books in the genre you want to write in. Read books on how to write. Study the craft at least an hour a week, more if your schedule allows.
It’s working for me and it will work for you, too!
Now don’t just sit there, go write!