It occurred to me recently that us writer types must be crazy. Let me explain. Who else would work for nothing, that is, put in long hours writing novels, articles, short stories, poetry with a very strong possibility that it will be rejected outright by agents and publishers? When you have toiled for days or weeks on a short story submission for say People’s Friend magazine and you are absolutely certain you have met all the criteria.
You might even be rubbing your hands together thinking of the cha ching moment, big payment. Then a few days later possibly even months in some cases, you get a simple ‘not for us’ rejection slip! What about all my time writing late into the night? Payment and acceptance would be nice, but as it turns out you have worked for free!
Now, what happens to that story or piece of writing? DON’T be tempted to throw it in the bin, would be my first piece of advice. I know it is hard, but the best thing you can do is look at it again make some changes (if you think it is necessary) and send it out again. Wringing your hands and screaming at the wall, the cat or the dog is not an option I am afraid, however good it may feel at the time!
This is the thing: feeling bad is the thing that writers have to put up with on a daily basis. No payment, no acknowledgement, no big money rolling in, like I said ‘are we crazy?’ Would you do a job where you worked long hours, maybe even cried some bitter tears, not to receive a penny or a dollar (payment in any currency would be nice) for the work that you do? If you worked in say a supermarket stacking baked beans on the shelf, you would be wholly expecting to receive a payment at the end of the week or month, right? Not so with the profession called writing.
Of course you can exclude employed writers. Now, before you have a light-bulb moment and start sending out your CV to every publishing house in the world, getting a job as an in-house writer is even more difficult than what you are trying to achieve now – but don’t let me stop you from trying.
For most of us the freelance route is probably the most feasible. The main reason being you can fit it into just about any other thing you do with your life, like looking after children or the day job. You can even write if you have broken a leg or something and have got to spend the next few months doing well… not that much. Time enough to get out a pen and paper or switch on your computer.
Start writing and forget about anything else for the moment! Do the best piece of writing you can, research your markets whether it be fiction or non-fiction and send it out. Don’t forget to keep your fingers crossed in the meantime. Failing that just think of your favourite writers, like Stephen King or J K Rowling, they were all rejected just like you and me; and look how good that turned out. So, were they crazy?
Until next time, S