Dear new writers,
When you make that decision to write, to put your soul on the page, it’s exciting and scary and confusing all at once.
It’s exciting because you’re doing something you really want to do. You’re giving it a go. Bringing a dream alive.
It’s scary because when you eventually share your work, whether with one person or the world, you’re making yourself vulnerable.
It’s confusing because there’s so much information out there about how to do it write/right. See what I did there?
How often should you write and how much? Should you plot or outline or do in-depth character studies? How much research should you do? Who? What? When? Where? How? Why?
All this is before you start thinking about self-publishing versus traditional publishing, covers, agents, synopses, marketing, deadlines and … just thinking about it now is spinning my head out!
I don’t want to spin your head out with even more how-to advice.
But I do want to say one thing.
[bctt tweet=”Publishing is not a race.” username=”MoniqueMulligan”]
Write as fast (or slow) as you like. Write that first draft over thirty days during NaNoWriMo if that’s your thing (it’s not mine). Write every morning at 5 a.m. if you’re an early bird (I’m not).
Write, write, write your heart out in the way that suits you. Remember, unless you’re under contract, the only deadline to get that first draft done is your own.
When you’re done, celebrate. You’re amazing! What you did is admirable. It’s tough and you did it!
Enjoy this moment. It’s precious.
Take a break.
[bctt tweet=”Give your story time to breathe. ” username=”MoniqueMulligan”]
Prepare yourself for the next stage, because if your aim is to have your work published and for people to want to read it, there’s a long journey ahead before you even consider publication.
Much as we might wish otherwise, when you type THE END it’s not time to press publish.
It’s time for second and third drafts (maybe more).
For revising, rewriting, restructuring, and cutting.
For asking someone trusted to read your work and give you constructive feedback (think beta readers or a manuscript assessor).
For investing in a structural edit, copy edit, proofread, and good cover design if you’re self-publishing.
Don’t be tempted to take shortcuts here so that you can publish your book faster (or get your book in front of an agent or publisher faster – it won’t work).
[bctt tweet=”Don’t get caught up in comparing yourself to other writer friends and acquaintances who always seem one step ahead of you, who are enjoying the successes you dream of. That’s their journey, not yours.” username=”MoniqueMulligan”]
Publishing is not a race.
If you’re taking the self-publishing route, shortcuts will save money and get you to the finish line faster, it’s true.
But here’s the thing.
When it comes to putting a book out, if you take shortcuts, if you rush the publishing process, you’re not doing yourself or your bank balance any favours.
Sure, you can say, “I’m a published author”. It’s a terrific feeling too.
But remember what I said about writing being scary? I’m going to clarify that.
[bctt tweet=”It’s not the writing itself as much people reading your writing that’s scary.” username=”MoniqueMulligan”]
Once you put your book out there, it doesn’t belong to just you anymore.
People are going to have opinions on everything from the cover and blurb and writing style and grammar and plot and characters and chemistry and setting.
And readers can spot shortcuts a mile off.
[bctt tweet=”Once you put your book out there, you’re making yourself vulnerable.” username=”MoniqueMulligan”]
You’ll need all the strength and determination and tenacity and self-confidence you can muster to deal with that (every single time).
It’s exciting to get published.
It’s exciting to dream about it.
I think about it all the time. I want my novels published so, so much because I want people to read them even though it also scares the heck out of me.
I hope it happens for me.
I hope it happens for you.
But if you take away one thing from this post, make it this: publishing it is not a race.
Treat your publishing journey as a feast to savour, not a fast-food meal you’ll regret as soon as it’s eaten.
Your soul (and readers) will thank you.
This post totally resonates with me, and I’m feeling a bit teary after reading it. This is partly because, having been alongside you at different points of your publishing journey, I know exactly how much getting your novels published means to you. And partly because I harbour some of those dreams myself and, despite all my vows and promises over a number of years now, I’m still procrastinating over the process!
But I want you to know that I’m so incredibly proud of your persistence, your resilience and your passion. And I have never given up believing that your novels WILL be published some day.
Keep at it. Keep dreaming. Keep believing. And it WILL happen.
Helpful advice Monique. I can’t stress enough the need for quality control with self-published work. Structural edit and copy edit a MUST!
So true. I see so many people rush the process because they don’t want to miss out.
I found this very comforting, thank you Monique. I hope you felt strong after writing it, too.
I do, actually.
It was inspired by doing some freelance work as a proofreader.
This post also resonates with me, I know exactly how much getting my novels published means. Since I was small child I have dreamt about becoming a published author. It finally came my way, 8 years past I was published. To my horror I was completely out of my depth when it came to all you have just posted. It still makes my head swim. I persisted Knowing I had so much to offer a reader. found a reputable publisher in UK, and in the end a friend. Sadly he closed shop three years into publishing any books at all. I found, his advice to me powerful, moving, his way of looking at a sentence inventive. I also found what moves me and what makes me stagnant. Deadlines, edited copy returned with advise, a phone call about every 2 weeks. I loved it. Keep posting your advice Monique, I for one find it encouraging .Yes im a published author, but always on the look out for excellent advice and stimulation of the mind.
I’m so glad this resonated with you, Kez. You inspire me because you are always out there following your dreams, and learning so much along the way.
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