Last week on Tips-y Tuesday we saw how the Hammer of Detail can crack open scenes like eggs and let flow the juicy rainbows hidden within.
This week I’d like to take a break from talking about writing (with a lowercase w) and look at Writing (uppercase!) instead
The difference? Writing (uppercase!) is everything concerning writing that doesn’t involve words on the page. It’s scheduling time to write, getting in the zone, minimizing distractions, overcoming rejection, etc etc. It’s just as important as writing (lowercase!), since you could have the greatest story idea ever, but if it never actually gets written and published, it’s the same as if you never wrote it.
To start off on the topic of Writing, I’d like to take another look at yesterday’s Monday Masterpiece. It was taken from Beth Revis’s novel Across the Universe, and I was inspired to read it after seeing her video about overcoming rejection on Operation Awesome.
If you haven’t seen her video yet, watch it here. It’s well worth the seven minutes.
As someone who has completed five full novels, and has several incomplete ones, without so much as ever getting a partial request from a literary agent, Beth’s video spoke to me on a personal level.
You always hear about how Stephen King or J.K. Rowling was rejected dozens of times before they were finally published, but here’s the difference: their first novels were good. My first novels (and Beth’s too), were not good. You never really hear about the graveyard of books that accumulates between starting out as a writer and then finally making it.
You always think that every novel you finish and send out to agents is going to be The One, but that’s not usually the case. Like Beth said in her video, she wrote 10 novels before finally getting Across the Universe published, and she thought each of those 10 was going to be The One too. But that wasn’t their purpose – their purpose was to act as steps on a ladder toward something better.
It’s a ladder made of manuscripts, leading up to The One. The only catch:
you can’t know how many rungs it has until you’ve already climbed to the top.
I feel the same Beth does. I thought each of the five novels I wrote previously was going to be The One at the time. But now, looking back, I can see their flaws. I’ve learned something important from each of them, making my subsequent stories better. I’m hoping that the current novel I’m writing will be The One, but if it isn’t, then I’ll learn from it and move on as well.
That’s what today’s Tips-y Tuesday is all about: learning from past loves. Just because you sent out the novel you pured your heart and soul into to 100 agents and didn’t even get a reply, that doesn’t mean you failed. You only fail if you give up. Instead figure out what you did wrong – show the books to friends, family, writing groups – then learn from it and try again. Repeat for several years until successful. Serving size: one.
So if you’re like me and are amazing at coming up with ideas but cursed with mediocre writing skill, don’t give up. Keep on plugging away, and like Beth showed us, it may take several years, but the only way you won’t eventually make it is if you give up.
Or if the Earth explodes. But hey, that could make a good story.
(Featured image via GAHAG, edited by me)