We just started a writers’ group, and more than half of the folks in attendance haven’t written a word. They don’t even journal. I’m not sure they even do a grocery list. However, in our breakout session, every one of them asked the same question.
“How can I find a publisher for my book?”
I wanted to scream, but you would have been proud of my tact. I spoke gently into their expectant faces. “Book? You have no book! You don’t even have three lines on paper. You don’t need a publisher yet!”
“But I have a story,” they cried in unison. “Someone will hear it, buy it, and publish it.”
Dream on. Dreamers do just that. They dream. Dreamers can’t hear the truth because they don’t want to. If they did, they would have to work, but they are too busy dreaming.
I ask you today to step out of your particular dream world and examine your writing/non-writing with the cold calculating eye of an editor, a publisher, or even (horrors!) a reader.
We must face the truth or else live in the unrealistic expectation of fairyland where everything we think (let alone scribble) becomes a best seller. And the first thing we have to do is get something, anything, on paper! It’s simple enough. A writer writes. A writer perseveres even when they don’t have a publisher or, for that matter, a reader.
These sayings inspire us:
“There’s a word for a writer who never gives up … published.” Joe Konrath.
“I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning.” Peter De Vries
But the truth is more along these lines:
“You must want to enough, enough to take all the rejections, enough to pay the price of disappointment and discouragement while you are learning. Like any other artist you must learn your craft – then you can add all the genius you like.” Phyllis A. Whitney
Because, as Brenda Ueland says, “Writing is not a performance. It is a generosity.”
And writing writers learn that the generosity is first for themselves.
“The first person that any words ever heal is the writer of those words.” Ann Voskamp
As for the dreamers? This week I printed off multiple publisher addresses for them. They will either continue to dream or they will wake up to the truth and actually write, because that is what writers do.