Nobody’s Going to Publish You

Writing isn’t always sunshine, lollipops and rainbows

Gwab uni

Pictured: The imaginary life of an author (various Google Images pictures)

You probably think that if you’ve watched any horror movie with an author in it: the recovering alcoholic male in an unhappy marriage, wearing a flowing trench coat, decides the best way to get his spark back is to travel to some backwoods cabin and finally write his second novel. However, this isn’t exactly true, either. Sure, there are writers retreats all over the place; luxurious cabins in the forest that aren’t so luxurious when you fork out what feels like a month’s wages just to find you could have written it back in your overcrowded house after all.

That’s beside the point. The truth is, whether you’re a writer or an author (note: there is a distinction), it’s not really as easy as people say it is. Of course it is actually sunshine, lollipops, rainbows, vodka, Lindt dark chocolate Easter bunnies and everything else awesome when you’re in the greatest writing mood ever, but it’s not the whole picture. It’s that awesome picture that makes people who have no ounce of writing ability say they will one day write the next Harry Potter—but of course they’ll never do so. There’s all the hard yards that people never take into account: the editing, the re-editing, the furious wringing of hands as you can’t get your ideas onto the page, the tireless submissions to agents/publishers, and all the work that goes after that.

When I was younger, I always imagined myself finishing a novel, then suddenly getting a call from one of the Big Six, who magically (I don’t know how they knew) provided me with a book deal. Now I’m not so naive. A lot of others are; there were plenty of people back in my creative writing classes at university who only ever wrote for class, then said they would be famous. These short stories, mind you, ended up hidden on their laptops or computers away from the world. It didn’t matter how much our teachers advertised the importance of sending our work—whether novel or short story—out there, just to get your name out. You can’t be famous for doing crap all, unless there’s someone famous in your immediate family. Then you can get your work published without any effort. But, until that nonexistent day, you have to be realistic.

If you really want to make the switch from aspiring writer  to writer to published author, then you really have to get your metaphorical ass off that metaphorical couch (no, I’m not talking about the ‘subconscious’) and get to work.

Another note: Why are you here if you call yourself an aspiring writer? It sounds so pretentious, and it’s a lie. Get writing, or if you can’t, just stop saying you’re a writer, because you don’t actually enjoy it, and will probably never finish anything. Spend your time actually doing something you love.

Stop procrastinating. Stop giving yourself a hard time. Wait until after your novel has been published to criticise yourself, and not even then. Don’t give up. Keep putting in effort, because if you stop, you’ll just be like those ‘aspiring writers’ and ‘aspiring authors’ that everyone forgets. You don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to keep trying. Of course, much like I discussed in my last post, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be the next big thing. Don’t use this as a deterrent. Use those people who say they like writing and never produce anything as an excuse to be nothing, and then make something of yourself. They’ll be the ones working jobs they hate in ten years time, complaining bitterly about how the world is an evil, unforgiving place. Whether you become a household name or just a mid-list writer, you can at least say you’ve done something. You kept trying instead of giving up, and that’s an awesome feeling.

164637_536889613016964_2008044695_nIf you give up now, then you never give yourself the chance to improve. You’re lying to others and, most importantly, yourself, by saying you’re a writer and/or you tried being a writer. As long as u donet speek lyk dis wen you rite, and can tell you have some sort of writing ability, then you’re always open to improving.

There are some people that don’t have a writing bone in their body—they’re usually the ones in it for money, and the ones who usually turn on the people who helped make them famous.

Don’t be an asshole. Be awesome! And, most importantly, don’t give up.


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