What Did You Learn?

December 26, 2010

On Being A Writer

Filed under: Getting Published — Tags: , , — ax20 @ 8:33 pm

As a writer, it’s easy to get distracted by all of your different ideas. After all, so many things can be made into a story and most writers have more active imaginations, allowing them to see possibilities in everything. If you’re like me, you watch TV and think about places you wish the show would go, imagine what happens after a movie you liked, picture how you could incorporate your friends, families, and experiences into your books. But the problem is, with all those ideas, how do you choose just one to write?

I have a friend who has written about fifty pages in five years. The reason, aside from a compulsive need to edit constantly, is because he can’t seem to settle on a single idea. He writes a little and then thinks of something else and starts to right it, thinks of another idea and starts to write that…you can see the problem there right? If you let yourself get distracted, you’ll never finish.

One of the qualities I believe necessary not only to be a successful writer but also an author, is focus. When you submit to a publisher, they want to know that you are someone who has the attention and focus to finish your work. If they tell you there is something they want revised, they have to have faith that you can manage it, and not just eventually but within the deadline they set. It hurts the publishing house if they have to continually push off the pub date for their books (bookstores make orders and if it seems like the book isn’t coming or won’t come out when they want it, they are likely to simply cancel their orders). And there is no bigger hassle for an editor than a signed author who cannot deliver the work.

This is one of the differences between writers and people who think it is just something that it would be nice to do. You need that determination to push through, especially when you hit writer’s block and it would be easier to simply start something new. The first step to becoming a published author is to actually finish your manuscript.

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