Updated: Jul 10, 2022
Hello there my lovelies! It’s me! I’m back and no I didn’t forget about you or fall off the face of the earth, I’m just going through some sh!t and I decided to let myself off the hook from some self imposed deadlines, like this blog! But don’t worry my friends, I will never forget you!
So as I tried to think of an epic topic for my comeback blog post, I searched and racked the recesses of my mind and I came up with… nothing!
So I decided that I would just start telling you what I have been doing instead of writing this blog. But to meet my typical format, today I’m giving you My Two Cents on being a writer…
Ok my friends, listen up because I’m about to drop some knowledge on you, and you’re going to want to know it… especially if you’re just starting out in writing or dipping your toe in the pool. Here it is… You ready?
Writing is not for the faint of heart!
What do I mean by this you may ask? Well, here goes a long rant about my experience that may or may not help you, but guaranteed it will give you a fuller understanding of why my posts haven’t been so timely lately.
So you wanna be a writer huh? Well good for you! Congratulations on choosing a path that will undoubtedly lead you on an emotional rollercoaster no blog post or warning could ever prepare you for.
I thought, going into this that I would just write and get the stories out of my head and then that would be that. I never actually expected for them to be anything to care about or put added effort into. But then… I finished my first novel. And like any first time writer I was like “wow, this is pretty good!” And I let someone close to me read it… and they were like “wow, this is really good, you should try to get it published…”
So of course like any first time writer that made my back straighten and I immediately decided to start doing research on how to make that happen. I found out I had to write a query and look for an agent…
So I did…
Then I thought, well you know… I should probably edit some more… 🤣🤣🤣 so I did.
Then I was like, you know I have this other story, let me write it down… So I did…
And this cycle continued for 3 more books. So now I have this collection of 4 manuscripts and I thought—what the f*ck do I do now? So I joined some writing groups to learn. Then I took some classes and joined some more groups and in the end I realized my book(s) were NOWHERE near ready to be published and I took a step back. I have been diligently researching and learning and editing for almost two years and you know what I know? That's right… I bet you can guess because I say it all the time… I don't know anything!!!
So I have been writing for my entire life? Who cares? I never wanted anyone else to read it before now, so all of that writing could have been garbage! And getting it published? That’s an entirely different animal.
So I have been doing research (in my spare time, after jobs, kids, marriage, a life) for a couple years? That's a blip compared to how much is out there!!!
So I have been writing, rewriting, editing, submitting, learning, growing, changing my manuscripts over this whole time? So what, there will always be someone who doesn't like it, and more things to edit….
The point is my friends, choosing a writer's life is not an easy path. It's full of self doubt and insecurity, people who won't like your work or things you can do better…
In the end, if my stories affect even one person in a good way, then it feels worth it for me…
You have to decide what makes it feel worth it for you.
I luckily have a job, a family and a life that leaves me open to do writing as a secondary (or forteenthary?) task. I don’t feel the need to become a best selling author tomorrow because I’m not trying to make it my career (yet). I’ve had setbacks, stumbles and so many heart breaking rejections but I give myself the space to feel those and then move on. Moving on to me looks like going back to it with fresh eyes or a new perspective and trying something I haven’t tried yet. It’s important not to let any one rejection or setback be the be all and end all in your progress.
I have a lot of writing friends who have really amazing work that doesn’t get well received by readers or the publishing community right away so they chose to do one of two things—a. Publish it themselves or b. Shelve it and start something else.
Now, I’m not at all begrudging anyone the right to self publish. But I will say, if your early, pre-publishing readers are giving you feedback—and it’s important to you that your book is not only published but also sells copies—you should listen to that feedback. I’m not saying implement it all, but if you don’t you should know why you’re not implementing it. Also, please edit. Furiously! I won’t go down a rabbit hole on my opinions, but just listen, it’s important. That’s all I’ll say about that…
If your solution is to shelve it. Ask yourself why. Is it because you really don’t think it has potential, or is it because you’re tired of working on it?
If it’s the first, that’s valid, try again. Not every story has legs. Sometimes it takes a wrong turn or it doesn't have a great premise to start with. You have to get those out of the way so you can get on to better ideas. (In the words of the incomparable Ariana—“Thank you Next..”)
But if it's the second reason—you’re just tired of working on it—you may want to consider if you really want to be published. If you get your book published, YOU WILL HAVE CRITICISM. Period. End of statement. Someone will not like your work, or they’ll say something mean and it will hurt your feelings. That’s the reality. And that’s before, during, and after publication. You have to be willing to continue to work on your craft and grow and change with trends. I’m not saying you have to write the same as everyone else, but you will have to make compromises for the market if you want to get published and have your work read. Sorry I’m not more sorry about saying that. But you will have to put in the work and implement suggestions. So if you’re already tired and you haven’t even been published yet, just consider if it’s right for you. That’s all I’m saying. If you want to just write for yourself, there isn't any shame in that. Not everyone has to be a published author. I'm just suggesting you need to decide if the struggle is worth it for you or not.
The same is true about any type of product you’re trying to sell. Books are no different than any type of commerce. They are affected by the tone of the public at the time they’re being sold. So make sure you’re listening. If publishers or readers tell you your work isn’t right for the current climate, they may be right. That doesn’t mean your work isn’t good, it just may mean it’s not good for right now. That doesn't mean you need to shelve it necessarily. It could mean you need to make adjustments to make it more valid for the current climate, OR you need to be willing to take a step back and wait until it is the right time. Neither choice is wrong, but just know those may be your options. Save your sanity and don’t beat your head against a wall.
So what does this all break down to? Well, I’m glad you asked… the point is, being a writer in 2022 isn’t the same as being a writer in 1922. Hemingway didn’t have to deal with social media, blogs or marketing strategies. There were probably a dozen publishers to contend with not thousands. And there was no choice to self-publish so the market wasn’t as saturated as it is today. But if you want to be a published author today, there are a million things to consider. Period. It’s hard and it’s sometimes exhausting, but that’s the reality.
That’s what I’ve been doing over the past couple missing months. Reevaluating my work in the climate, learning, growing, editing, and trying to grow my profile. It isn’t always possible to see the work I’m doing. Some of it is tedious, and because I have about eighty million other responsibilities, for me it’s slow going, but it’s all an important part of the process.
I’m a child of GenX and we have seen probably some of the most ‘progress’ of any earlier generation. The world is not the same way for our kids as it was when we were kids. You have to be willing to grow and adapt or you will not make it. We have gone from being like our parents who had to learn everything by experience and a lot of bad tries to having the world open to us at the click of a button on the phone. We have the ability to learn from other people's mistakes by simply searching Google. Don’t let that go unused. Read, research, and learn. Let other people's stumbles work to your advantage. That’s the best advice I can give any new writer who’s trying to get published.
So you decided to write and you’re trying to be published? Deal with the fact that social media is something you need to get comfortable with. Learn how to work on your profile. Accept that it’s not only about how good your story is but how the world perceives you. That’s reality. You will make it significantly harder on yourself if you try to fight it.
So you’re trying to get published? Understand the fact that your work will not be everyone’s cup of tea and you will hear NO… probably A LOT. Unless you’re already insta-famous or a tik-tok queen, nobody is probably going to fight over your manuscript. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, or you’ve done anything wrong. It just means you’re going to have to try harder.
Also, don’t let other people’s positives out there influence your self worth. I can’t tell you how many days I’ve seen 100 “I just got my 50h full request! Yay me!” Posts on Twitter. Meanwhile I got my 50th rejection. Your time will come, just keep plugging away… When you see these, just remind yourself it’s ok to be discouraged today, but get back at it tomorrow.
I'm going to say it one more time to really drive home my point… The life of a writer is not for the faint of heart. And getting published is HELLA HARD. There’s no shame in deciding the road to publication is not for you. But if you decide it is, just consider what you’re getting out of it, and if having other people read and like your work is something that matters to you. If it does, just remember you won’t always get your way.
So that’s it, that’s my meandering, crazy, free writing exercise, two cents on being a writer. It’s hard. It stays hard and probably doesn’t get easier, but you have to decide what makes it worth it for you, and what success looks like to you. Once you do that, it gets significantly easier to keep at it.
Thanks for reading my lovelies and I hope you all have a great week!
Rose Rayne Rivers
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