Today we're welcoming Jennifer Longo, author of January's UP TO THIS POINTE and SIX FEET OVER IT to the blog. Jennifer has written a great post over writing for the love of it.
Writing For the Love of It by Jennifer LongoHonestly, the one thing that made the difference between my being an aspiring author and a published author, is one very fortunate thing: I love to write. I love it. I did not write toward being published. I write because I love to write. I was sustained through the process of finding an agent and editor by being completely distracted by doing the one thing I love most in the world: Writing. Seriously. I love to write.
I’m speaking here about traditional publishing, and about fiction, and these are the things I know.
If a person’s desire to be published supersedes their love and compulsion to write, nothing good will come of it. Nothing bad, either – basically nothing’s going to happen. A writer writes; publishing is it’s own unique and separate endeavor and only one is a possible consequence of the other. The nuts and bolts of how to acquire an agent and sell to an editor are simple - not easy - but fairly pedestrian and consist mainly of a willingness to revise, patience, persistence, and access to an email account. The only way I found to claw my way out from the slush pile to be published?
I didn’t go to conferences or writing retreats, I didn’t talk to anyone about anything (Though those things can be very helpful, but also very distracting from the actual work of writing) I came home from work, got my daughter to nap, and I wrote. listened to the agents and editors who generously gave their time and attention to pages I sent, and I sifted through their notes and I applied what I’ve learned all my life and I revised and wrote and read and wrote some more and the book got better. Writing is work, but work I don’t have to make myself do, because I want to, I can’t stop - because have I mentioned I love writing?
Years (yes, years) of submission and revision and rejection can be heartbreaking and will whittle one’s confidence down to a short, sharp stick that stabs you right in the ego. But if you love writing, what difference does it make? Send out the queries and then get back to writing. There’s no rush. There’s no deadline. You’re not counting on publishing a book to put food on the table. (Oh God, are you? If you are, spoiler alert: I don’t personally know any published writers who make a living solely from writing. There are like, five people in the world who do, and that’s awesome for them. But being a published author of fiction is not about making money.) Publishing is about curating and making better the stories we give to the world to make people happy, or hopeful, or excited, or less lonely, or to learn about people we’ve not met, or to laugh or let someone know, without having to straight-up say it to their face, that I’m super pissed. (You call it passive aggressive, I call it being creative and fancy. Potato, potahto.) Books and their creators (Editors, agents, artists) ought to be valued and able to make a living wage with our work, and when I’m president of the universe being an artist of any consequence will be a viable career option. But until then, you know how those writers who make their living writing got to do that? THEY WRITE.
All my life and in college I lived and breathed all the story forms I could get my hands and brain on – plays, radio theatre, short stories, essays, novels. I majored in acting and playwriting let me tell you – there’s nothing I’m worse at or that gives me the creeps more than improv and puppets and mime and mask work – but it all gave me a relentless work ethic and helped me get over myself, my limitations as a story teller, my inflated ego and insecurities, and now I can read and interpret and truly love a script like nobody’s business.
I am a natural born lover of words, lacking natural talent, but I work every day to put the words together in a story that’s worthy of readers. Because I love to read, and have I mentioned? I love, love, love to write.
About the Book
Harper is a dancer. She and her best friend, Kate, have one goal: becoming professional ballerinas. And Harper won’t let anything—or anyone—get in the way of The Plan, not even the boy she and Kate are both drawn to.
Harper is a Scott. She’s related to Robert Falcon Scott, the explorer who died racing to the South Pole. So when Harper’s life takes an unexpected turn, she finagles (read: lies) her way to the icy dark of McMurdo Station . . . in Antarctica. Extreme, but somehow fitting—apparently she has always been in the dark, dancing on ice this whole time. And no one warned her. Not her family, not her best friend, not even the boy who has somehow found a way into her heart.
Goodreads | Indiebound | Amazon