TUESDAY WRITING TIP – WRITE YOURSELF OUT OF THE BLACK HOLE

It’s happening all around the world. With the GST, the EB revolution, the GFC and for so many other reasons, publishing is slow.

There’s a lot being published, but people seem less prepared to take risks – particularly on new and emerging authors.

Instead of producing completely new works, I’ve seen a definite trend with publishers in Australia to republish things that have sold well – but in a different format. Or they commission established writers to work on projects that their marketing departments think or know from experience will bring sales.

This is all great! It means authors are still getting their work published and there are still fabulous books out there to be read…and we all understand publishers have to make a living.

But unfortunately, if you haven’t established yourself as a writer yet, it seems to be getting harder and harder to break into mainstream publishing.

At the moment, I have six projects out on submission across different genres – two YAs (one verse, one prose), one mid-grade novel, one chapter book, one stand alone picture book and a picture book series.

And for a while there, I started to think that my submissions were going into the Bermuda Triangle.  I sent them out and never heard word of them again. Thankfully, I’ve had a couple of positive responses lately, but I have come to accept that this is the way of publishing. Agents and publishers receive so many submissions that they just don’t have time to respond to all of them.

So I’m taking ‘no response’ to mean ‘no thank you’ and I’m moving on.

I’m looking at what I’ve written and reworking it if necessary, and some submissions I’m simply sending elsewhere. (In a strategic way of course – after researching and finding out who has an interest in the kind of thing I write)

Fortunately, I have a group of truly wonderful and supportive writerly friends who understand how all this feels and who pep me up when I’m feeling despondent.

In the end I know it’s up to me. I find that the best cure for the writing blues, to drag me out of that black hole of uncertainty is to write.

Writing is the thing we have control over.  It allows us to immerse ourselves in a world that has less pressure and stress. It allows us to express how we feel, to challenge ourselves, to make us consider events and circumstances outside our experience.

Writing makes me happy. It gives me hope.

There’s always the hope that this is the manuscript publishers will fall in love with. If I don’t have anything to submit, then there’s no hope of publication.

We have to dream, hope and we have to write. It’s who we are. Writing helps us move on.

Unfortunately, there’s no magic formula to getting published, but the one certain thing is that we have to keep writing – for us, for our future readers. We have to write our way through these difficult times in publishing.

How do you cope with rejection/uncertainty/lack of progress with your writing career? Please feel free to share your thoughts and suggestions. They may help other writers to keep writing.

Have hope, stay strong and happy writing:)

Dee

P.S. Next week I’m having a special event here at the Deescribe writing to help writers who are looking for a crit buddy or writer’s group.

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14 thoughts on “TUESDAY WRITING TIP – WRITE YOURSELF OUT OF THE BLACK HOLE

  1. *pulling last few remaining hairs out* thanks Dee…. nice to know it isnt just us emerging writers (i do like that term) who feel like this.

  2. Kelly,

    Don’t do it. Don’t pull them out:) Everyone feels like this at some point in their writing career; unfortunately many times…but if I just keep writing, it works for me…focusses me on what’s really important…and helps me block out all the difficult stuff about being a writer.

    Good luck with your writing:)

    Dee

  3. Dee, are you me? I am also feeling it. And I feel so much frustration for my fellow writers, too, which is why I felt compelled to start the KBR ms award. There’s just SO MUCH talent out there and it’s such a shame so many are being overlooked. It’s also frustrating to see the same old-same old on the shelves. I’m kind of getting bored. Surely kids are, too?

    The way I’m dealing with the black hole blues is to return to inner-core writing. Writing something I truly believe in and truly love . . . shunning perceived mainstream needs and what I think publishers ‘want’. I’m not sure if this new work will ever be published – it certainly won’t fit the mainstream mould – but I feel overwhelmingly compelled to write from my heart. That kind of writing makes me intensely happy and makes me feel the hard slog is worth it.

  4. Dee, exactly what I needed to hear.
    With the economic instability getting even shakier, we really do have to be more assertive and proactive. I love that you say you look at reworking your pieces. That shows great maturity as a writer to accept they may need a bit more appeal to snag that publisher.
    Thanks for all the fantastic advice you share.

  5. Thanks Charmaine,

    It’s easy to become disheartened, harder to accept the way things are and try to work with it. That’s where I believe that if we focus on our writing and just keep writing, we can find fulfilment no matter what’s going on around us.

    Dee:)

  6. Writing a fabulous story is the delicious fulfilment. Having it published may be the icing, but I hardly ever buy cakes with icing anyway. So I say, just keep writing; it’s fun.

  7. Dee,
    I hope that black hole is soon flooded with light and publishing offers. Writing is a sort of faith that one day what you write will be published although there can never be any guarantees. But talent helps and you’ve got that in spades (to go along with the hole analogy)!

  8. Thanks Angela,

    You made me smile. I love the cake analogy…unfortunately I am a big one for icing on my cake (even though my hips don’t like it) LOL.

    But you make a good point. Writing is fun and we should never lose sight of that:)

    Happy writing:)

    Dee

  9. Thanks Alison,

    You are right. We have to have faith…and I’m lucky to have a crit buddy like you so that gives me an extra advantage:)

    ‘Spades’ is very witty. I hope my black hole is flooded with light soon too.

    Dee

  10. How superbly put by everyone. I can take or leave the icing aswell; occassionally it does make the cake taste better. But I cope in much the same way; rewrite, rethink, replay…just don’t repeat! A change of scenery usually evokes a change of heart for me and rekindles my writerly fire. And about those rejections? I file each and everyone in it’s own folder and cherish them as though they were acceptances. Because one day I may be able to refile them 😉 Oh and I can’t wait till next week’s post either!!

  11. Thanks Dimity,

    I file my rejections too. I intended to wallpaper a wall in my study with them but I don’t have a wall big enough:) And I’ve had some lovely comments on my rejection letters so even though they have been rejections, I’ve found them quite encouraging.

    It’s all part of the process:)

    I hope your writing is well. Look forward to seeing you next week:)

    Dee

  12. Oh Dee thank you I needed this right now! Currently re working a ms that is so not what is hot right now- but it’s been a love I’ve returned to for about 6 years once a year for a think, a polish and a reweave. It’s finally reaching the stage where it can be released into the publisherverse to do it’s thing and I’m hoping that love, family and laughs are coming back into fashion.However it’s the LOVE for the story and the passion that keeps one going back to it over and over that makes our own lives fulfilling and creative right? (Although, I’d not say no thanks to a bit of icing either…)*grin*

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