Writing for the Love of the Story
I feel very fortunate in my path to publication. I had just finished my first book, (which remains unsold) and had sent it off to an agent to read. While I waited to hear her response I started writing THE FAERIE RING. The whole first draft fell out of head onto the page in just thirty days! It was SO MUCH FUN to write!!!
In between revisions I worked on building my web presence and started blogging and getting to know other authors. I had no idea how FANTASTIC the blogging community was (to be honest – I didn’t even know it existed!) but everyone was so wonderful and supportive.
As for my jump from writer to author – I can very clearly remember getting my first manuscript back from a pay-for-hire editor and realizing I didn’t know how to write a publishable story. So I started taking online writing classes and joined several critique groups and really started working at learning the craft. I’m STILL working at learning the craft. I find that I learn in layers – grasp one concept and apply it - then learn the next concept and try to remember to apply it etc. etc.
I’ve also learned that my writing process is different for different genres. For instance, for fantasy I write in silence and write in a linear fashion – from start to finish. I don’t write scenes out of order, I don’t write the ending before I get there. However, I just wrote a YA contemporary and my process was totally different! I had a playlist that I listened to whenever I wrote, I wrote the ending when I only had about a third of the book written;I wrote scenes out of order – the whole thing was completely different – as were the stories!
If I were to give advice to any writers out there struggling to get an agent, or struggling to get published I would say this: NEVER GIVE UP. You are the only one who will work hard enough to pursue your dream. If you want it bad enough, you’ll find a way to get to where you want to go. Take the time to learn – take classes, be open to critiques – because revision is an essential part of writing. No one writes in a vacuum – we all need feedback and fresh eyes on our work to know which parts shine and which parts need a little more shining.
Write the story only you can tell. Write for the love of the story. Write for your characters who won’t come to life if you don’t breathe it into them on the page. As Buddha says – ‘happiness does not come from success – if you do what makes you happy, you’ll be successful.’