Friday, December 18, 2009

First Step, Remove the Ego

There are many resources available to improve your writing and your odds to getting published. I found one of the best resources I reached out to was an online writing group. Today I’d like to share this journey.

In 2008 I decided to take the next step and become a published author. The world would not know what hit them. My writing would rock the foundation of the publishing industry. I researched the general process, hurried through a query letter, and blasted the agents with my greatness.

The first rejection came pretty quick, 3 days. What?! How could they just deny my talent without seeing the manuscript of the century? What kind of political crap-conspiracy was this?

Several (numerous) rejections later my ego bubble was burst not with a needle but a samurai sword.

Okay, okay. I can fix this, I thought. Obviously my query is not representing my wonderful writing skills. I searched to find query help and came across the Critique Circle online writing group. I joined and the first thing I did was upload my query letter in the forum.

Not even a response. Well, geez, what the heck? Maybe they just wanted to see my work before they commented. I hurried to upload the first chapter and waited eagerly for the week I was up in the newbie queue.

The response was not what I expected, but not the worst it could be either. My basic summary, I was an okay writer and a horrible editor. What a reality moment for me, my pride, and my dreams.

At that moment I paused to reflect. I was a writer, albeit not a wonderful writer, and I wanted to be published. Did I just come to terms with this state and let the dream go?

Hell no.

I spent almost a decade scrapping up the ranks of my career with grit and determination. I learned what I didn’t know and enhanced what I did know. I could do the same with my dream career. No way were my current mediocre skills going to stop me.

So I worked, struggled, and found that each story was a little better. Each chapter of the novel had less technical mistakes and less weak writing. By my third short story, I got an acceptance.

Reality taught me – with a whip, baseball bat, and a gang of lethal ninjas in a dark foreboding alley – that with practice and focus I’m just as good as all the other thousands of writers out there and my odds are just as slim.

The critique group has become a haven to learn and commune with other great writers and aspiring authors. They’re honest to the point of brutal but always with the intention of making you work harder for your dream.

(I’ve also realized I’m no Isaac Asimov…but who wants the sideburns anyways?)

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