Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Happy Holiday Week! 

My friend and I had a discussion that inspired me to write this blog post. It's timely as we're heading into 2015, creating new goals.

We writers are an interesting and sometimes neurotic bunch. And oftentimes on our path to traditional publication we ask questions like, "Am I a good enough writer?" or "Will I ever be published?" 

Completely normal. All of us have done this, and will continue to question ourselves for whatever writerly reason. 

But here's the thing, most of this publishing path, you control in one way or another. It has a lot to do with how much work you want to put into it. With how willing you are to persevere. 

Are you a good enough writer? That's a great question. Write a manuscript. Get critique partners who know what they're doing. (CP's who don't try to edit your voice, but rather look for character and story line issues.) What if you learn you're not a good enough writer? Easy. You get better. You read a ton. Pick apart books and movies that you love and hate, figure out why. Practice. And then write another manuscript. Have CP's pick that one apart too. They didn't finish reading it? Find out why and fix it.

Will you ever be published? Well, that's kinda up to you.

I've met many writers who have gone merrily down the path to publication only to realize there's a fork in the road. A bunch of forks. And they find themselves looking into options they wouldn't have considered in the beginning. The publishing world changes and so do you. It's okay to examine your wants and needs every now and again and change your mind about them. 

And yes, if you're wanting traditional publishing with a big house, you're going to need an agent. That may be daunting. Believe me, I queried two manuscripts and felt like I'd taken up residence in the query trenches. But you still aren't completely powerless. Agents WANT to sign new clients. They WANT to sell your manuscript. So give them a reason to choose yours. Try not to give them a ton of reasons to reject it. 

Is your concept unique? Is it marketable? Is your manuscript well written? Does it fall within the word count guidelines? Is your query stellar? Are you sending it to agents who represent your genre? These are all things YOU HAVE CONTROL over. 

You're not a frog sitting on a lily pad, surrendering to wherever the wind chooses to push that round green leaf. You can hop to other lily pads. Heck, you can swim in the pond. You have options and you have power.

I completely understand the flurry of emotion this publishing path can bring. So I'm not trying to trivialize or simplify this at all. I do know, however, that when we feel powerful, we stress less and behave powerfully. We write powerfully. That's my goal for myself in 2015 and it's my goal for you as well.

I have one question: You feelin' froggy?