Writing is a difficult business. For those who choose to work with a publisher, it can be a long and difficult road. Getting an agent and finding that elusive contract with a New York-based publisher can be even more difficult. It takes a lot of will and determination to keep writing, to keep editing and polishing, and to keep submitting to publishers. The phrase “enough rejection slips to wallpaper a bathroom” was common when I was trying to get published for the first time, as in a writer needed to receive enough rejection slips to do just that—wallpaper a bathroom—before he or she could consider herself worthy of being published. Considering those were all sent through the snail mail, that was a lot of SASEs being sent and received prior to publication.
The good news is that these days most submissions are made electronically. Though we might check our email with trepidation, our mail box is once again free from the sweaty-palm, heart-pounding worry that would accompany seeing a SASE in the mailbox. Some people wrote publisher names or initials on them as way to know from where they came. Others simply left the regular #10 white envelope with an address sticker on it, blank, and the mystery remained until the envelope was opened.
Just thinking about those rejection slips had some writers deciding not to submit their work.
It takes inspiration to keep going. When I was starting to seriously write and submit to publishers, I attended an annual reader’s luncheon at a local bookstore. Getting to meet with writers, many of whom lived in my own state, and hear their stories, was so powerful to me. I forged a personal connection with the writers. I knew them! Sure, to them I was one of many fans, though some recognized those who went year after year to the events. But for me they were evidence that I, too, could make it.
And I did.
Even for those of us who have published, the “how I became a published author” stories never grow old. Part of it is celebrating all writers, regardless of when, or how, they were published. Another part of it is that we always have the next level of our careers, some barrier we feel we can break. Some may have the bar set at getting an agent. Others might have the bar at getting a bigger, higher profile, publisher. Still others may have best seller lists or other sales goals. It doesn’t matter what the goal might be; there is a “how I achieved it” story out there!
Every author needs to remain inspired. Writing is such a personal, private thing to do. When we write, even if it’s something on deadline or for a special submission call, we’re putting a little bit of ourselves into the work. We’re writing the stories of our hearts and getting them published! So it is important that writers remain inspired and fired up about their work. No one can be a bigger fan for an author’s work than the author.
So what’s an author to do? Once you’re published, it seems all those “how to get published” books and sites have little for you. And if you’re not published, then unless you have access to genre conventions, reader events or other venues, it can be difficult to find those inspiring stories.
It’s important for writers to seek out those stories. Cultivate friendships and networking online. Join groups if you can, so you can get those inspiring stories. It’s important to keep your belief in your writing and your work high. Inspiration, and knowing that writers just like you can make it happen is so important.
If you’re interested in getting inspired, check out Muse Camp: Inspiration Edition. You can learn more about the authors, and the event, at http://www.musecamp.com. This free event is full of inspiration from writers from all genres who have achieved publication and their dreams. We hope to see you there!