I’ve said many times in this blog and elsewhere that a writer never stops being a student. But 12 years of teaching has given me the tendency to approach this bully pulpit as if I have all the answers. Believe me, I don’t. And to prove that, this blog is dedicated to a litany of writing stuff that I am still struggling with. Things I may have been told about, thing I have some general direction in, but things I haven’t yet mastered. That is both a good and a bad thing. Writing is like everything else; the joy is in the journey. And the more I read of successful writers, the more I see that their happiest years were when they were struggling. The bad part is, of course, that I have a lot of stuff that I haven’t gotten published, and may never get published. And that, of course, is the goal.
Without further ado, here’s what I don’t know:
* I don’t know how to get an agent. After 27 tries, still no takers. It may be the market (I hear it’s terrible), it may be my ability to sell myself, or just the stuff I choose to write. And someone else said to first work on getting a publisher, which will give you the leverage to get that agent. But it’s a catch 22; most publishers want you to be represented.
* I don’t know how to make the transition from Adventist writer to CBA or secular writer. That doesn’t mean I can’t write in those areas. It must means I haven’t found a formula that will appeal to those markets, and give me the initial connections to break into the market. The only answer I know is to keep writing.
* I don’t know how develop a following. That’s what one publisher recommended recently. Develop your own following and the publishers will come. And I know that one of the keys is social networks. But as far as putting all of that together, I am still a novice.
* I don’t know how to write when other things are on my mind. My life right now is busier than it has been in years. And yet, for my own sanity, I have to write. It’s who I am. So I either have to learn to clear the decks, or how to write while other stuff is still on the decks.
* I don’t know how good is good enough. I have a series I am writing on that I really believe in, but so far have found no publisher interested in it. How far do I take it? Do I invest years of my life on a book series that I love, but possibly will never see published. And how polished is polished enough?
I suspect that all writers have an element of dis-ease in them as they write. And if we are all still students, then we all have things to learn. I just wish sometimes that I could learn those things so I could move on with my writing career.