In Writing, as in all endeavors
It’s The Journey not The Destination
I know this is an old, cliché proverb. But, as with most forms of advice that have stood the test of time, there is a lot of truth in this statement.
I spend a lot of time on social networking sites. I do this to keep my finger on the pulse of what is happening in the two industries that I love dearly: publishing and photography. The three sites that I’m quite visible on are LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. I have joined many writing and photography groups (on all of these sites) to help connect me with people who love these creative outlets as much as I do.
I’ve noticed something that has been on my mind.
Many of the people who post to these sites seem focused on the destination and not the journey. I call this, The American Idol Syndrome. In our modern (digital) fast paced world we’ve become accustomed to the idea of quick success.
People repeatedly post about subjects such as: How to get an agent, or, planning their book tour, when many times they haven’t even finished writing their first book, or, they’ve pumped out tons of books in an unreasonably short period.
The photograph, above, illustrates a point of success that you may want to think about. I recently had a small blurb appear in, Writer’s Digest Magazine. No, it wasn’t a story I had written. And, it wasn’t an author interview telling the world how great I am. It was just a simple blurb about the steps that I’ve taken to advance my writing career.
Was I paid for this? No.
Will it bring me an agent? I doubt it.
Do I consider this a huge success? Absolutely!
It is a small piece of writing, in a nationally recognized magazine, that has been around for as long as I can remember. Why do I see this as a success? First of all, it is a personal success. My name is in a magazine dedicated to a craft that I seek to become successful at. Secondly, many industry professionals read this magazine; it may help open a door for me down the line.
My point today is simply this. Consider slowing down. Consider fine-tuning your craft. Treat each story as if it were a golden crown, and you are crafting it to give it the King.
Due to the success that I have achieved in the publishing world, I get a lot of people asking me to read their stories and books. I can tell you without batting an eye that 99% of them are not commercially viable. And, it’s not because they’re not good ideas. It’s because they’re rushed. Some of these stories are almost unreadable. I believe this is a result of authors trying to “get it out there” before giving the book it’s due.
When, I read an author’s bio, and they proudly state that they’ve written twelve novels in under five years (just an example). I know what I’m looking at, and so does an agent, or, a publishing executive.
Embrace the concept that you might not get an agent this year. Consider the idea that you will write a perfectly crafted book BEFORE announcing to the world that this is the first in a twelve book series.
Embrace the Journey!
Enjoy the small steps and perhaps a leap forward will be just around the corner!
I am very opinionated about the craft of writing, and life in general. But… I am well-tempered with an enthusiasm for debate. Please leave comments, even the ugly ones, I dare you.
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I’m also an avid reader. If you desire success in your writing career, you should be too.
All my best on a beautiful day in South Carolina.