A few months ago, I attended a local writing conference for authors in the children’s and YA genres. One of the classes I attended was centered around the road to publication, and I was actually quite pleased to see just how much I already knew about this (long) journey, of which I’m still so far from the finish line.
The thing that stuck with me the most from the class was the way that the instructor would pause after each step (which essentially amounted to rejection after rejection after rejection!) and say, “And now you need to decide: am I really in this for the long haul? Am I going to stick with this?” At one of the later stages of rejection, she said, “You have to accept the fact that you might never get published. Do you still want to keep going?”
From time to time, friends and acquaintances will tell me that they’d like to write a book. And since I’m a writer, they’d like to hear what advice I might have.
So here it is:
If you want to write a book because you want to write, then do it.
If you want to write a book because you want to be published, then probably don’t.
Know this: writing a book is hard– especially writing a good book. A lot of people pursue not only an undergraduate education in how to write but also a master’s degree. Are you willing to spend several years (and this might also cost you some relationships, as you’ll need to spend a lot of time on your craft … time that will take you away from friends and family), tons of time researching (even if you’re not writing, for example, an historical novel, you will still need to do research for your book– and you’ll need to put in lots of time researching agents as well), and massive amounts of your energy (and your wallet might even take a hit– classes, workshops, and editing assistance all cost money) on a book that might never get published?
It’s a lot to consider.
Writing is a joy– one of the truest joys I’ve known in my life– and that is why my answer to the above question is YES.