Monday, February 21, 2011

No Magic Key

Dear well-meaning and would-be writer:

I know you hope that I will share with you the "secret" that will gain publication for your work, some simple sentence that reveals all mystery and insider information.

I realize that you believe that there is something like this, a magic key of sorts, that will unlock the mysteries of writing and seeing your work published.

While I am happy to help in any way that I can, I cannot provide what you ask because there is no magic key.

I can read your work and tell you what I think but remember that I am neither editor nor agent.

I can go over your synopsis or your query letter and share my views.  I can offer suggestions that might improve it but I cannot promise it will bring the desired result.

I can suggest markets and point you toward writing groups, both online and actual but it's not my call if your work finds acceptance or publication.

What I can tell you is that writing is far from an easy occupation so please don't tell me that you know you could write a best-selling novel if only you had the time.   Don't tell me about the A's you got in high school composition or how your mom (or dad or grandma or aunt or someone) always told you to write.

The only way you will ever succeed with writing is to write.  And rewrite.  Then rewrite again.  And then you edit.   You have to spend long hours devoted toward your craft and toward researching possible markets.   You have to learn - or refresh - English grammar skills.

Did I mention long hours?  Then there is the thick skin you must grow because every writer, even those who have found publication, will have work rejected.

You have to grow a stubborn bone as well, even if you already are pretty darn stubborn.

You'll have to learn to network and to play well with others in cyber land and in your hometown.

And you also have to realize that competition is fierce and that the odds are against you most of the time.

But the first, the most important fact that you must learn is that there is no magic key.  I don't have one.   Stephanie Meyers didn't have one.   Neither did Stephen King or Nora Roberts or Dean Koontz or any writer whose name you know.  The same holds true for any writer whose byline you see in your favorite magazine, on a website, on a book, or even in the newspaper.

Once you accept that, you can begin working at writing.

With thanks,

A writer

1 comment:

  1. Well written. I think with writing, the only magic key is determination. If you are determined to be published and work your butt off trying to get there, eventually you will.

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