Don’t Give Up
Being a professional writer can sometimes feel like screaming into the void hoping that some alien species out there will pick up your transmission. Will anyone hear you? See you? Find you and your work? We have so many options for publishing now, and that also means we have so much more competition for readers. Getting an agent’s or publisher’s attention has been a challenge for many writers since time immemorial. And after a while, it can feel like you’re going nowhere, that you’re stuck in the same spot forever. It can feel disheartening for a writer.
Don’t give up.
I know that feels easier said than done. Let me tell you a little story. In 2017, I signed my first publishing contract to have my first novel published by a traditional house. That’s a huge deal, the dream of many authors, my childhood dream since I was fourteen years old. When did I first write my book? 2007. That’s right. Ten years ago. I wrote the first iteration of my novel while I was in high school. Over the past ten years, I’ve rewritten it, restructured it, threw away old plot devices, sharpened my vocabulary, created whole new sleuths with new backgrounds twice. All for the same novel. I finished it in 2013. It took me four years to find a publisher, much of it through the help of a colleague. I may have gotten my childhood dream, but it wasn’t handed to me. I had to work for it. I had to earn it. And I didn’t give up. If I believed in the book and my ability as a writer, I would publish it someday. And I did.
Whether it takes one year or ten, you have to stick with it if it’s something you really want. Patience, dedication, perseverance, humility, and hard work are the only ingredients I know of to accomplish any goals as a writer. So if you’re getting worried about your manuscript collecting dust in your hard drive or sock drawer while waiting for that golden opportunity, remember to stay strong. We don’t expect our characters to give up when it gets tough. So neither will we.