Thanks to Dave for filling in for me yesterday. Considering I am currently nothing more than a zombified writer, if I’d tried to blog yesterday, it wouldn’t have been pretty — or coherent. Now, I’m not guaranteeing coherence today, but ….
This past weekend was fun, informative and oh-so-very-tiring. For those of you who don’t know, our own Sarah A. Hoyt graciously agreed to come to the Dallas-Fort Worth area to conduct a 3-day writers workshop. If you have never taken a workshop by Sarah before, run to register the next time she conducts one. Not only will you learn so much about this industry of ours and how to have a chance to succeed at it but you will never, ever be bored.
One of the participants asked Sarah the other day what they should do to have a chance at getting published. Her comment, one that she’s posted here before, was “read, write, submit, repeat”. And it is so very true. You have to read to know what is being published in your particular field or genre. You have to write — and finish it — in order to have a chance. Then you have to let go of your baby and send it off into the world. If you keep it at home, you will never have a chance to be published and then, when it comes back — and we all get rejections, whether we admit to them or not — we have to send our baby back out to see if there’s another editor out there who likes it better than the one who just rejected it. Add into the mix that while you’re doing all this, you have to be writing the next story and the next and the next and kicking them out of the nest as well.
There was a second piece of advice to come out of that weekend and it came from Rebecca Balcarcel, a local poet who took part in a 6-author panel on Saturday night. Rebecca told the audience that she finally had to give herself permission to make mistakes and not be perfect when she is drafting her poem or story. Trying to be perfect her first draft was keeping her from finishing anything. Listening to her, I realized this is something I have to allow myself to do as well.
So, you read, write, submit, and repeat by allowing yourself to make mistakes and not be perfect the first time you put pen to paper — or fingers to keyboard. The important thing is to finish your story, your novel or whatever it is you are reading. Hopefully, once I’ve caught up on my sleep, I’ll remember this and be able to put it to use.
My question for you is what is the best piece of advice you’ve recieved that’s helped you advance your craft as a writer?