Getting published, Part 2

Accept this:  we’re all individuals with individual creative writing voices.  That’s not to say we can’t trick ourselves into copying some aspects of a writer we admire.  But, in the long run, only our personal voice works for us as we grow in our profession.  Right?  When we find our voice, we also find it’s fun to polish it, trust and cherish it.  An additional benefit is that we usually become more comfortable with believing in our writing without envying another’s success.

Are you with me on this?   It works for me–how about you?

So we write, and write, and our work is finally finished–more or less, because now begins the re-reading, re-thinking, editing, re-writing, editing, reading aloud, re-writing.   (You get the picture.)

It’s often a good idea to hire an independent editor or word doctor, or at least submit your “completed” work to a good critique group.  It is almost impossible for even the most accomplished student of our language to find all the weak spots in his or her writing.   I know I can’t.

Then, after anything from a dozen to a hundred more re-writes (yes, 100, and I know some who have done it) we can say, “I’m ready to submit.”

Whether this is your first completed work or your fiftieth, an easy road to publication is far from guaranteed.  If you’re writing articles, it’s a good idea to start modestly and often “for free.”  Write for a local newsletter or weekly paper.  Submit to regional magazines.  Put your writing foot in the door wherever someone might allow you entry.   The “New Yorker” or “Cosmo” will probably not be your first sale.

If you’ve written a book, remember that, though new authors often have a hard time breaking in,  publishers can drop even long-time authors if their sell-through isn’t good enough, if the editor they work with quits or is fired, or even “just because.”   Authors can get laid off  just like auto plant workers.  (Yes, writing is a business, too, in addition to a creative joy.)

So, think about this:  DO I REALLY WANT TO BE PUBLISHED?   Is it worth all this hassle?   If your answer is “yes” then we’ll go further together next week.




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