Friday, September 18, 2015

Persistence Is A Key In Professional Writing

The world of writing and publishing is tough. Not only is the writer faced with pages of material that needs to be written to get to the infamous THE END, but the writer the entire submission process to editors and agents becomes an uphill road. Add in the marketing and it is a wonder why anyone in their right mind would want to be a writer.

In reality, you as a professional writer are just like the characters you have placed in your books. Like the hero and heroine, you too have a GMC. You have the GOAL of being a professional writer and doing something more than writing as a hobby. You have the MOTIVATION, which might come from your friends and family, but there is also that internal motivation to achieve something that you have probably wanted to do for a long time. But then, just like your characters, you have your CONFLICT, those darn things including self-doubt that continually get in the way.

To achieve that goal, however, requires persistence.

The definition says persistence is a "firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition," but there is a lot to this. This is not a continual act of just doing something over and over again. This is where I think a lot of writers miss the mark. How many times have you heard authors bragging about how many times they have been rejected. For many of these authors, they were rejected, not because it was an uphill battle, but because of their mistakes. They did things such as: submitting to agents and editors who weren't open to submissions, sending projects to the wrong editors or agents, not following submission guidelines, or simply not sending out projects that were ready for publication. And it is with this that we get to the real meaning of persistence.

Yes, if you are persistent, you don't quit and you don't give up. But with every conflict you come upon, you learn what it takes to get over that conflict, add that to what you now know, and then make changes in your path. You still have the same goal, but you head in a slightly different direction. You do things a little bit different the next time. You learn and grow as you move on.

In all honesty, I see far too many authors who believe they are persistent, but just do the same thing over and over again. Every story I have rejected is for the same thing. We tell them it is flawed. We tell them how to fix it, and yet, they believe if they just keep sending projects out, something will stick. This is not going to work.

All editors and agents will admit to having some author out there who will send them a project almost monthly. They believe, if they just keep sending something, we will finally want to sign them for that project. I have one author who, I finally told him that he simply doesn't write anything I recommend and to please quit sending things to me. In the last two weeks, I received two more projects from him. Same mistakes, same story ideas and again, the same rejection.

Yes, you have to keep trying to succeed, but if you don't bother to learn from each of those challenges and do something about it, you will be destined to fail. And no, you cannot just live on the hope that "well this time it might be different" or "isn't there a chance that someone will say yes and I am the exception." This is not persistence. This is living on unrealistic dreams.

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