When I began writing in the early 1980’s, I wasn’t concerned about the business side of the process. I figured if I wrote a good story, a publisher would buy it and do what was necessary to create the book and sell it. I would simply sign the contract and wait for the big royalty cheques to roll in. Boy, was I naive! Ah! What a surprise to discover all that an author has to do to sell one story! I just about tossed in the towel.
Writing requires, at least the way I see it, first of all, a love of the craft; a love that keeps a person writing no matter what which equates to persistence; second, a willingness to learn about the creative side and the marketing side of the business; and third, courage to get one’s name known through speaking engagements, book signing sessions, advertising, etc.
The love of the writing craft kept me plugging along and I wanted to learn – or so I thought. Reading about writing, listening to published authors talk about their writing journey, and attending workshops were great fun and inspiring. But when it came to accepting critiques, I was hurt because I viewed them as criticism of my work, my ideas, and of my very person. I wasn’t truly open to learning. However, as I learned about editing I discovered I needed to detach myself from my work much like a painter who steps back from the canvas to view the work from another perspective. As I practiced that, it became a wee bit easier to spot the weak areas, the vague parts, and the flaws. It then became a little easier to accept other writers’ and editors’ corrections and suggestions of how to improve my stories because they were and are viewing my work from another viewpoint and with knowledge.
I’m organized and can keep a filing system from which I can quickly retrieve information about stories entered in contests or submitted to publishers, writing ideas, plots, character descriptions, etc. What I need to learn now is to focus on my novel so that I can complete it. Then I just might experience the marketing side of this creative process. But until then, I’m happily playing with words and ideas.