I am bang, smack in the middle of rewriting (and I mean rewriting) my cosy mystery story. I received some exceedingly valuable feedback from an agent about this piece, and what it needs to reach a marketable point. Scary advice – but once I stopped sulking, and really looked it, I realised that she was right. The suggested changes will make a huge difference to the readability (and saleability) of the piece.
So now I’m in the middle of an anxiety-producing rewrite. I have no idea if I’m going to make the Easter deadline either. Having said that, it cheered me greatly to see a post from a fellow writer on a facebook writers group (of which I am a member). She said that it had taken her 18 months to (a) deal with the feedback, (b) redraft her story, and (c) finish the draft to a submittable level. Good to know that I’m not the only one paralysed by fear at the prospect of a rewrite. So, its onwards and upwards with that one.
And just to make my writers journey more challenging, I’ve finished the rewrite of my new junior grade fiction novel, prepared the pitching materials and synopsis, and am about to embark of the process of submitting it to various publishers. Expect that rejection widget to see some action over the next three months. Hey, you never know, I may actually get an acceptance/show of interest!.
So, you want to be a writer? Brilliant! Full marks.
But are you prepared to do the work?
I know loads of people who want to be writers. They talk about being writers, talk about writing, and some even call themselves writers. But what does it actually take to be a writer? Here are my findings (drawn from my personal experiences to date) so far:
YOU NEED TO WRITE: preferably every day, even if its only a few lines. How can you call yourself a writer if you don’t ever put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). This one is a no-brainer.
YOU NEED TO READ: every day if you can. You need to read widely, across genres, themes, styles, age groups, etc. AND you need to think about what you have read. What did you like/dislike about the piece? How does it compare to your own writing? What does that best-seller have that your book doesn’t?
YOU NEED TO GET YOUR WRITING OUT THERE: Enter those competitions, submit to those journals, submit pieces to other blogs, set up your own blog. If it’s sitting in the drawer then it may as well be a blank note book.
RECORD IDEAS AS THEY COME TO YOU: Carry a notebook and pen, utilise that app in your phone. Don’t let opportunities pass you by.
And some other “recommended” items:
Join your local writing groups/organisations
Research writing styles
Read other writers’s blogs, sign up for newsletters
Monitor book sales and best-seller lists
Go to libraries and book stores and look at what’s selling
Research agent and publisher requirements
Research journals that take the genres you prefer to write in
Monitor writing competitions and deadlines
Look into short-courses (and longer ones) which cover various aspects of writing, marketing and publishing
Set up your own social media profile (research it, work out what suits you)
Set up a writing space, just for you.
Your next challenges will be finding the time, managing rejection, and getting that all-important frank and honest feedback on your work. After all, the writing is only the start of the journey.
And good luck with it all. Keep the faith, but more importantly do the work.
Sarah Jackson is blogger who has self published five short story science fiction e-books, and a junior grade children’s book “Pete and the Persian Bottle”. She is working to improve her standard of writing, with the aim of bagging a contract with a traditional publisher. And so the journey continues….www.sarahjacksonwriter.com