I believe authors write because they have to. They cannot stop that fountain of words bubbling up inside them. Some writers might dream of fortune and glory, but these fantasies play second fiddle to a passionate desire to express themselves using the written word. Authors cannot not write.
Writing is a craft and authors need to grow their abilities. I’m a better author now than I was last year and I’ll be even stronger next year. I’m published, and my first book received great reviews in some big papers, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. There is. I’ve found a wonderful mentor and I’ll continue developing the craft.
My point is: practise undoubtedly makes perfect, no matter what stage of your writing career this blog finds you at.
This is by far the most important of the three P’s. Without it, your manuscript will likely never make it out of the dreaded slush pile. Perseverance isn’t just about repeating the same thing. Remember: it’s often your third or fourth manuscript that snags that illusive publishing contract. Persevere with practising – find a writers’ group and share ideas. Persevere with writing – try to finish the manuscript even if it feels like it’s going nowhere. Writing begets writing. Immerse yourself in your stories and never give up. It can take years – it can take a lifetime.
There are many levels to this one: Scheduling times to write throughout the week; planning what to write about during these times; fleshing out characters to make them real enough to drive the plot forward. I’ve said this before – I think it’s extremely useful to bounce ideas off another writer throughout the drafting process. I regret not having done it with my first book. I’ve found a new mentor and she’s brought a whole other dimension to my writing. Planning is all this, and so much more.
Don’t submit your novel until it’s ready. Don’t take shortcuts. Unpack those lazy sentences. Get the manuscript reviewed by an expert before you shop it around. Put it in a drawer for a month. Then read it again. You’ll be surprised how many improvements you’ll find. Patience will save you time in the long run.
Which brings us full circle. Passion. If you truly love creating stories: that in itself should fill most of the gap. Writers tend to be idealists. I am.
Jonathan K Benton