I’m going to state the obvious — writing is hard. But hang in there with me, I might surprise you, as well as myself, and share something insightful.
But first, back to my original premise, writing is hard. When I originally sat down to write my first novel, I had sweet naïveté sitting upon my shoulder. That carried me for 6 months. Then enthusiasm carried me for another 6 months.
Into the second year of my first novel, I began having an odd feeling. I heard it first, then felt it in the pit of my stomach. It came from over in the dark corner of my writing cave. I even remember the date, July 6th at precisely 9:40AM when I stopped pounding the old keyboard and said out loud, “Who’s there?”
Silence was the response, so I started again, ready to tap out 2,000 words of great prose. With 500 done, several of the brilliant variety, well, I had at least a comma that I was fifty percent sure was in the right place, when I heard it again. It sounded like a snicker, but I knew it for what it was — self-doubt.
That was the day I became a writer — my naiveté had been replaced by doubt. I took my year’s worth of work and rewrote the entire manuscript. Another three years passed and finally, I had my first novel, The Singing Bowl.
Next, I learned about query letters, publishing houses, and agents. Believing myself to be prepared, I made the leap and sent out my manuscript. I leaped naked into the great River of No…rejections came and writing was not only hard — it hurt — a lot. Most rejections were polite, many were form letters, some were encouraging, and one or two had an attitude. And not the spunky, you can do it ‘tude,’ that would have been so very much appreciated, but a sniffling, looking down one’s nose attitude.
But I love writing, so I started a second book and then one day — THE CALL came — a publisher wanted to see the entire manuscript of my first novel! Then the follow up… they want it! Eventually, more book contracts were signed, I found an agent, and the writing world became a little easier — not writing itself, just the world around it…
So here is the insight I promised. People who are in this profession are REALLY… REALLY nice.
I have talked with dozens of publishers, scores of agents, and writers uncountable, and I can honestly say, the more successful, the more respected, and even revered, the nicer and more approachable they are.
So if you are just starting out, take a risk. The icons of the industry will try to share the little time they have, they will laugh with you, and they will respect you. They will freely share their experience, and they will be, most importantly — helpful.
Yes, even in this cold, hard, and harsh world of writing, there is kindness.
Thank you, to all those who have been so generous. It is sincerely appreciated. Especially now, as I turn back to the keyboard, and my self-doubt sits patiently smirking in the dark corner of my writing cave.