10 Things Every Aspiring Writer Should Know

Stina Lindenblatt was part of the blitz I hosted for her publisher Carina Press.

10 Things Every Aspiring Writer Should Know

Stina Lindenblatt

Stina Lindenblatt

by Stina Lindenblatt

1. Rejections aren’t the end of the world, even if they feel that way at the time. They’re like a dare. A dare from the agent or editor to challenge yourself to be a better writer and storyteller.

2. Rejections don’t mean your story sucks. It might just mean it’s not the right story for that agent or editor. Even Stephen King and J.K. Rowling received rejections. Hard to believe, huh?

3. Social networking isn’t a waste of time. It’s fun. It’s a chance to meet new friends who will later be your biggest supporters. Did I mention it’s fun?

4. Remember the saying about putting all your eggs in one basket? Well, it applies to EVERYTHING in publishing. Don’t put all your hopes on landing your dream agent (query others who are looking for your genre). Don’t focus on only one social networking platform (on the other hand, you don’t want to dilute your efforts by being on ALL of them. That’s too exhausting). Don’t…well see #5 for this don’t.

5. It’s so easy to fall in love with your first story and not move on. You keep polishing it, even after you’ve started querying. An agent sends you a form rejection with nothing more than ‘not for me’ as the reason for the rejection, and you tweak the manuscript some more. It’s time to move on. Your first baby is out there, flapping its wings, hoping to catch the wind for a safe landing. Great. Now get to work on your next novel. If you plan to self publish, your next project can be a sequel. If you plan to go the traditional route, start a project that has nothing to do with the first book. There’s no guarantee your first book will be published, and you’re only wasting time working on a sequel if it doesn’t sell.

6. It’s rare that a writer will land a publishing contract with her first manuscript. For me, it was my fifth. I didn’t finish editing all of them. Some I realized wouldn’t stand a chance in the competitive market, and I shelved them. I considered each book practice for the next one. And with each book, I strived to do better than the last. That attitude shouldn’t change once you’re published.

7. Enjoy each stage of the process. Focus on the journey and not on the destination. And while you’re at it, figure out what success means to you, but pick something obtainable. Everyone wants to be a New York Times and USA Today bestseller, but not everyone will be one. If that’s what you’re striving for, and only focus on that, you’ll miss out on what writing all is about—touching the hearts of your readers and writing the stories that are important to you.

8. Read. Read. Read. Don’t just read in your genre. You might get a brilliant, fresh idea from reading a different genre. And don’t forget to read lots of crafts books on different aspects of writing. All of this will help you grow as a writer.

9. Do. Not. Plagiarize. Chances are great you will be caught, especially if you plagiarize from bestselling authors. Their fans will recognize the prose and will call you out on it, which I can guarantee will go viral. It won’t sell books; it will kill your writing career.

10. Live your life. Spend time with your friends and family. Have fun! Because one day you will land a publishing contract and with that comes DEADLINES. Yes, these are the dreaded dates that tend to be scheduled for when you’re away on vacation (been there) or when your kids are off from school (been there, too).

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