Sunday, January 10, 2010

Learning What You Want

Mute Woman--Raphael--1507 I’ve said before that the biggest moment for me in getting published was when I determined what I wanted as a writer.

There are so many directions that you can follow with writing. If you want to write professionally, you can choose a job where you’ll write: advertising, radio, TV, stage, newspapers, freelance writing, etc. You don’t have to write novels or nonfiction books to satisfy the writing urge.

I’ve also spoken to several writing groups before. There were writers in these groups who were perfectly satisfied writing for a small audience of readers. Maybe they were penning a family history or writing a memoir to be handed down. And there is nothing wrong with that—you save yourself a lot of trouble by realizing that’s what you want and that you don’t need to query or write synopses.

Then there are writers who are really writing just to please themselves. Many poets I’ve met fall into this category. And it’s an incredibly satisfying thing—writing poetry and journaling. It’s a voyage of self-discovery.

The important thing is to know what you want to do. Maybe you’re interested in being published but you don’t want to go through the hassle of agents, editors, and publishers. If you’re wanting to share your book with some family and friends, then self-publishing might be an option for you (you need to be careful and go through a reputable self-publisher. Check Preditors and Editors and Writers Beware.)

You might be satisfied by being published by magazines, or ezines. You might be satisfied by entering contests (watch those entry fees. Again…Writers Beware.)

Small publishers might be the perfect fit for you. It’s usually not necessary to have an agent and you usually get the distribution (and paycheck) you’re looking for.

None of these things is better than the others. They’re just different. I was just as happy writing for myself as I am writing for my publishers and readers now. I just wasn’t quite satisfied with it, so I decided to take the next step. There are good points and bad points for all of them. But you have to figure out what exactly it is that you want. Only then can you do the research and work required to achieve your goal.