Monday, 21 April 2014

Is becoming a successful writer more luck than skill?

Hey Future Me

It's been a while, couple of weeks, but things are moving in the right direction.

I finally got round to sending CD Baxter my first WIP.  If you're reading this CD I hope it's going well and that my writing isn't as bad as I think it might be. 

Question 1 -

Does everyone feel like this with their first story/book?

If you would like some more information and some insight in to what CD Baxter does please click here.

Whilst I know that my first story/book is nowhere near as ready as I would like it to be, I am so grateful to CD for her help and hope that CD see's at least something in my efforts.

However, since I have been given a bit of a breather from my first story/book, rather than take some time off, I have moved straight on to book two and I love this part of what I suppose I should call the 'process'.

I remember starting on book 1 and at times struggling to find the words.  Minutes turned into hours, hours into days, and so on.  I remember pulling on my long flowing hair (I have long flowing hair you know, although when I read this in the future I'm betting I have no hair left and that shall be a sad day), pacing my dining room as I ran through plot twists, characters and their attributes, and after 9 months I had a book.

My first book.  I thought I was king of the world and then I learnt that just because I had written 140,000+ words, it did not in anyway constitute a book, I was devastated.  Why?  Because whilst I think my story is pretty good, the writing was, well it was dreadful.  So I rewrote it and guess what, the writing was still bad, and so I did it again and again.

The problem I started to have was that whilst I was reading it, I wasn't READING it.  I think that there comes a stage when you are reading your own words and yet they make no sense.  It's almost like a strange word blindness.  You look, you read, but nothing changes. 

So how do you get out of this situation?  The only way, as far as I can see, is to get someone else to have a look, preferably someone who has some knowledge of writing.  Now I can only assume that if you are an established writer, this can be pretty easy.  If you have an agent, I'm guessing they read it and tell you of any short falls or mistakes, then if they like it, it must go to an editor, and then if they like it, it then goes to print.  I'm sure there are many more hurdles to jump before that happens, unfortunately I am ignorant of what happens at that stage as I'm not there, not yet anyway.

But and here is question #2 -

What do you do if you haven't got an agent or an editor?

Well I did some research and a lot of people advised me to pay for it to be read and critiqued.  Which can be costly, but it wasn't that which bothered me, as the more research I did I noticed that for every one person who said pay a professional, there was someone else who said that to do that was dangerous, as a lot of people who charge for this service aren't strictly legit.  I'm not saying that these services are a scam, but make sure that you do your homework, you want to be sure that the person you're sending it to is going to help and not hinder, I suppose it's like anything, get recommendations, word of mouth, etc.  Would you rather use a plumber that you found in the yellow pages, or one that someone you know has used and was more than happy with their services and would recommend??

I think the point I am trying to make is whether you like it or not, if you want to be a writer and want to be good at it too, you're going to need help.  This irks me somewhat as I hate asking for help, but if there is one thing I have learnt on my journey to authorism (I'm aware that authorism isn't strictly a real word, but I like it) is that at some point you are going to have to give it to someone else and ask them for an open and honest opinion of your work.  I have just started this part of the process and I would be lying if I said that I wasn't apprehensive, but if I don't what chance do I have?  If the interweb is to be believed, none apparently, besides if you write a book, surely the reason is because you want others to read it.

In my time as a budding/wannabe writer I have had to change my attitude to how it's done and how I should do it, a lot.  It's part and parcel unfortunately, but what chance do I have if I don't move with the times.  There is a lot of information out there about becoming a writer that I despise, the main one being the idea of having an 'Online Presence', but if what the majority says is true what choice do I have?

But I have decided not to let it bother me, the world is changing and evolving every second of every day and if your not careful you might look up and realise that everything that you once knew no longer counts.  Life will throw you curve balls all the time, yet we still get up to bat, most of the time, but that doesn't mean success. 

Since starting my journey I have learnt that there are thousands and thousands of us that want to be a writer and it's becoming increasingly more obvious that only a few of us will succeed.  So and this is my last question...

Is becoming a successful writer more luck than skill?

I hope not, but there's this monkey on my back telling me different, I suppose only time will tell.

And with that said, I'm off to discover what happens in book two.  It's going to take time, but when I've finished I shall no doubt say exactly the same thing for book three, and then book four, and so on...

If anyone has any insight into what I have said, please let me know. 

Look after yourself, but above all, Stay cool.

Pip   x