If I were to be honest, it seems what can go wrong will go wrong when it comes to writing. As a writer you rest so many of your hopes on hoping this or that agent or this of that editor or this or that award or this or that audience will love your work. You want the flood gates to open and everything to go perfectly. Well, maybe not perfectly. Maybe… just maybe that one of your hopes would come true.
It is tempting in times like these to think your writing is lacking. Perhaps it is. Perhaps you aren’t the great writer that you think you are… I’m not the great writer that I think I am. Rejection hurts. That was putting it too mildly. Rejection really hurts, hurts bad, like being stabbed in the right eyeball with a dull metal spoon. So what do we do when we keep experiencing this kind of rejection? When our work is not being recognized?
Write because you love writing.
I know it sounds cliché, but write because you want to write. Don’t write for anyone else. Write for you. Write things that fascinate you. Editors and other writers will always have opinions about your work. They are the Trolls under the bridge that want to eat your joy. Don’t write to make money. Write because you can’t think of doing anything else.
Read to understand the writing craft.
In reading you will by brain-osmosis be indwelt with common sense “storyness”. You will understand how to write a convincing main character. You will instinctively feel how a book’s pacing must move. You will learn from the masters the nuts and bolts of story. But reading isn’t enough to help you become a great writer. It will teach you the mechanics of writing: plot, structure, point of view, character, setting, secondary characters: what you need to write clearly.
Write what you know.
I used to think I was boring. My life was boring. My passions and hopes and dreams were boring. Who could relate to a biracial adoptee from white fundamentalist Iowa? You see my point? Don’t be afraid to be you. Be you in everything you write. Be crazy the you even when others look at you like you are crazy. Write what you know. If you know sports, of fantasy, or mystery or thriller, or romance, or criticism, or rejection, or love, or loss, or pain, or joy, or Iowa, or little fundamentalist churches, or a city divided by race, or the sound a baseball bat makes when repeatedly hitting the front door… then write what you know– and do not be afraid. Have you ever thought that you know what no one else knows. And the knowing I carrying inside and care most about is also what your heart knows. Let your heart know what it wants to write. Don’t listen to those who say you can’t, who say you do not know.