Monday, May 17, 2010

One Very Important Part of Being a Writer

blog4 Mystery writer and blogger Jean Henry Mead ran an interview Saturday with thriller writer Chris Grabenstein.

The entire interview was interesting (this is a guy who used to write for the Muppet Show…and I loved that show as a kid. And he’s written copy with James Patterson, back in the day.) but the snippet I’m pulling out below is something I thought was most interesting:

Keep writing every day. And--this was the hardest advice I was ever given--decide whether you want to be a writer or to write the one book you have written and keep rewriting because you know it will be a best seller just as soon as people stop rejecting it. To be a writer means becoming someone who is constantly writing something new, not constantly reworking the same idea until someone buys it. Eventually, you need to put that first book away and move on to the second or third. Tilt a Whirl, my "first" book, was my fourth manuscript.

When I read this, I almost started clapping. Because I think some writers are so in love with one particular manuscript that they can’t move past it.

When the manuscript gets rejected, they revise it. They rework it and send it back out again. If it continues getting rejected, some writers will either continue reworking it and sending it out, or else give up completely.

That’s not to say that you should give up on this manuscript. You could continue revising and submitting it, but work on something else in the meantime.

A writer writes. It’s the most important part. If you’re using the past tense “I’ve written a book,” then you’re not continuing the process.

The second book might be even better. The second book might be just what the market needs at that particular time.

If you had one book in you, you’ve got another.

I know an author who put everything into one book. And it was a good book. After a lot of hard work, the book was actually even published by a well-known publisher. The sales were disappointing for the book, though, and the author was so discouraged that she decided to stop writing.

I just hated that. It is your choice to stop writing, but if you know you have talent, keep trying.

Try writing different types of books.

But keep stretching and challenging yourself. Keep writing.

Don’t pin it all on the one manuscript or book.