Unorthodox Writing Tips 34 – It’s Time to get Real
Can I be honest with you? You won’t think less of me after I tell you this, will you? I’ve got one simple thing to say.
My writing sucks.
No, seriously. It’s awful. It’s been rejected time and again by publishers, agents, and editors big and small alike. It’s been turned down time and again. I’ve gotten a lot of rejection letters to prove that my writing is awful. Oh, sure I’ve had a couple published, but that doesn’t mean it’s all good. For the most part what I write is terrible.
Isn’t that what it means?
Remember what I posted last time? Quantity produces Quality. This little quote by Ray Bradbury should still be in your head. It should be branded onto your brain. You should understand what these three little words mean to you, me, and any writer out there. Can you have quality without quantity? Well sure, but if you produce a large amount of work, quality will happen if you want it to or not.
Many people work hard on one thing for a very long time. I did that. I spent nearly 12 years working on my first book. It sucked beyond compare. Even after many starts, stops, re-writes, edits, friends reading it and suggesting things. No matter what I did with that one piece, it still sucked. Oh, sure, there were parts in there that I liked and worked for the story’s betterment, but overall it was a big turd.
Then I wrote something else. And another thing. Then I worked on two things at the same time. I wrote even more works and I kept going writing more and more. I could see my work improving and I started sending out novels and short stories. I sent them where ever I could. I got a lot of rejections. Some day I’ll go back and add them up, but I knew rejection was part of the process. I tried to let it roll off me, but rejection sucks and a lot of rejection sucks even more.
Know who else got rejections? Ray Bradbury. He got rejected 499 times before he got a publication on his 500th try. Stephen King had a nail he would push rejection letters onto and then he’d go back to writing his next story. Tobias Buckell recently posted about his rejection counts (I admire his tracking ability and wish I had done the same when I had started doing this writing business). Even Scott Sigler suffered the rejection merry-go-round of write, submit, get rejected, submit somewhere else.
You’ve been told this before and you’ll hear it again and again: No one is an overnight success. I’ve said many times, writing is hard work. It takes a lot of perseverance. It takes a level of commitment most are not capable of. It requires you to grow a thick skin and continue pushing your work out there in the face of rejection, bad reviews, and more rejection. Your writing sucks. My writing sucks. Everyone has writing that sucks at some point.
But you can never make it better if you don’t write it. You need to start some where and you need to start some time. You can’t just let the fact that your writing is awful get in the way of you getting it out there for people to read, critique, and share. If you don’t write, you won’t learn. If you don’t share, you won’t learn. If you don’t read, you won’t learn. It’s a long road you must walk. You will suffer rejection. You will get people that hate your work. It’s going to happen. Not everyone will think your writing is awesome.
You will find people that do love your writing, though. There will be people that clamor for more. They will be the few that understand what you wrote and want more of it from you. Unless you get the words down you will never find those people. If you never get the words written you won’t get those rejection letters to learn from. You won’t be able to share those stories with your friends and watch them cringe as they read that awkward phrase and ask you what you meant. That means you won’t learn what you did wrong and get better. You won’t have that story that does work and does connect with readers.
So get out there and write and know it’s going to suck. Know that it will get rejected. Understand that it will take time before it sees the light of day and readers will get it and understand it and enjoy it. As difficult as it is to get the words down on the page, it’s far more difficult to get them published. It’ll be worth it in the end and you’ll be far happier that you didn’t give up on your piece and just let it flounder in uncertainty. Write those bad stories. Write a lot of them. Eventually you’ll have a gem hidden among those awful stories and you can move forward from there. If you don’t start, you’ll never finish. If you don’t suck, you’ll never be great.
Get out there and write. A lot!
Until Next Time!