I had an article published in the (British) Association of Christian Writers’ magazine, Christian Writer, this month. Really bucked to see it there, even though I was writing about rejection. I have submitted shedloads of stories and articles over the years (although not so much recently) so I am an expert on the subject of my article. Writers should write about what they know, shouldn’t they?
This month, our optional topic is What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey? These are mine:
- Don’t be discouraged by rejection. In fact, be gobsmacked every time you place a piece. It’s a nasty (writing) world out there. Most editors and publishers are deluged with submissions. They don’t need we writers; we need them.
- On the other hand, don’t assume that x number of rejections = an acceptance. It doesn’t. Some writers will place their first or second pieces, whereas others will never do so. Get informed feedback on what you have written already, from online writing sites or face-to-face writing groups (not friends and relatives afraid to offend you). Also dig deep in yourself, asking yourself how you could develop and improve your writing.
- Don’t feel obliged to act upon every bit feedback you receive. When obtaining feedback from writing sites or writing groups, you will receive both good advice, and also advice from people who don’t know any better than you and those with bees in their bonnets. Work out whose advice is good and whose is not. Clue: who has work published and who doesn’t?
- Reading is important. Don’t neglect your reading in order to make time to write. Make careful choices in your reading. Read around your own genre.
- Your childhood and adolescence is only (broadly) interesting to you. Don’t include too much of it in your writing.
- Expect no favours, from anyone. If you do have friends/contacts in publishing, don’t embarrass them.
Don’t overly invest in one piece. Write as much stuff as you can.