We all have had the “agent near-miss.” You know, almost got your novel published but the agent decided, last minute, not to go forward with it. The reason for rejection doesn’t matter. You were so close. Yet, what have you got at the end of the day? Nothing. Now what? Where do you turn? Another agent? Then another? Why is this writing game so hard? Finally, the inevitable question. Wouldn’t my time be better spent doing something else? Anything else?
I can’t tell you how many times I have asked myself this question. There are no easy answers but it all comes back to how badly you want to be published. Or, more importantly, how much you believe in yourself and your work?
I just read about a young doctor who tried his hand at writing. Good luck, pal. Better be ready to pay your dues. (After all, how much time can a doctor have to devote himself to a part-time writing career?) I’ve read his articles before. My assessment? Very well-written. Crisp. Clear. Compelling. Recently, I noticed he entered the same national writing contests I entered. The results were markedly different. He won three first prizes in three genres. By the way, he also won the grand prize? And it’s not the first time. This doc is talented. And disciplined. And something more. Relentless. He relentlessly pursues publication. His writing schedule is strict. His free time optimized.
Did I mention the good doctor has four master’s degrees, an M.D., and a law degree from Harvard? OK, OK, so he is super human and not like the rest of us. But we can learn something from him as we embark on our writing goals in 2013.
In addition to being profoundly talented, he is remarkably disciplined. Writing is a major priority. Television is a distraction. His writing has velocity. He has speed and volume. I would venture to guess that he has something in the mail at all times. He appears to be fearless. Fearless? Yes, he writes out of his comfort zone exploring multiple genres. He cross-pollinates his ideas by having several irons in the fire. He never allows discouragement to detour productivity. (Easier said than done. Trust me.)
In a recent interview by a leading writer’s magazine he said, “Most aspiring writers don’t fail because they lack talent or good ideas or time to write. They fail because they give up. In fact, the only way to truly fail as a writer is to stop writing.” That last sentence got me thinking.
In 2013, the only person that can get you published is you. Yes, you may need an agent but you will find one and they will discover you when you crank out great work. And you can crank out great work only when you keep cranking.
This year, stare rejection in the face. Overcome every obstacle that threatens your work or your work ethic. Find a way to conquer your killer schedule. Strive for “relentless perseverance.”
Remember, in the end, only you can get you published. And yes, you may not have as much talent as the good doctor, but I’m betting that you (and me) have as much passion.
Here’s to your writing goals in 2013.
If you would like to read the article I referred to in this post, write me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave comment with your contact information on this post. I’ll send you more information.
The Writer’s Refuge blog is a place for writers, like you, to break away from your daily routine and for just a few minutes find insight, inspiration or simply a word of encouragement.
Blog entries are posted every other Thursday.
You may contact Jim Magruder at: email@example.com.