Exactly a year ago I finished my first draft of my first novel. Then came the fastest education of my life as I learned about the publishing business. Queries, partials, fulls – everything was so new to me. I quickly learned that writing and publishing were two completely different, yet grossly intertwined industries. One – an art form, one a business. Both a necessary part of my new found passion.
And so began a journey I never expected.
Over the last year I have put that same story through three major rewrites and countless additional revisions as I learned the art of creating a multi-layered story. I have written several versions of queries and synopses – all with the goal of getting published. And although I am no closer to that goal, the education I have received has been priceless – and one I want to share:
Things I learned about writing:
- Writing a novel is so much more than having a fantastic and/or unique story to tell – it involves layers of emotion, social commentary and literary technique that is more intricate than I realized (and something I really LOVE to do).
- Writing short stories and flash fiction is a great way to develop stronger writing skills – and something never thought I could do. As it turns out, I really enjoy these writing exercises.
- I am very comfortable writing nonfiction in my professional field. Fiction takes me longer and is a very different process.
- I NEED critique partners…like really NEED them. They show me all of the flaws in the writing and help improve my skills in ways I never thought possible. I liken my experience with my critique groups to therapy – once I am shown another way of looking at things in my writing, I am permanently changed.
- Writing is something I have to work at. The initial ideas and rough draft are easy for me – but the polishing is something I really work hard to do.
The business of getting published:
- This requires as much work as writing does.
- I don’t mind the whole “building a platform” thing – it isn’t as scary as I thought it would be.
- Blogging, social networking and author websites are words I now understand…shocking, I know.
- Querying is hard. Period. It is just hard.
- Rejection is HUGE in this business. And it is a great opportunity to grow and develop amazing confidence if you let it be that.
What I have accomplished:
- As I said, I wrote one novel. And a have rewritten it numerous times.
- I wrote another novel…a sequel.
- I wrote a nonfiction book proposal and am partially finished with that book.
- I have ideas for three more nonfiction projects – all in the same area of study.
- I am writing another novel – not related to the ones I have written.
- I have written five different short stories, one of which is currently entered into a contest.
The other stuff:
- I have met some of the most amazing people online – people that I will be friends with regardless of my future in this business. I am so thankful for them. They have made this journey worth it so far.
- I’m stronger than I thought I was.
- This really is a passion – a vocation of mine.
- I’m not ready to end this journey anytime soon.
And so, a year into this little adventure, I continue – perfecting my writing skills, honing in on the publishing game and moving forward, hopeful that one day my books will adorn a bookshelf.
What about you? What keeps you going? How long have you been writing and why do you continue doing it?