Elizabeth Fais, Flora and Ulysses, Harry Potter, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Inspiration, J.K. Rowling, Kate Dicamillo, Mary E. Pearson, Meg Cabot, New York Times, New York Times Bestselling, On Writing, The Princess Diaries, The Remnant Chronicles, The Tale of Despereaux, Veronica Rossi, writer's life
Writing your first book is a thrill like no other, a total high. Then the rejections come, and reality sets in. Fast. The thing is, rejections are part of the process. Get over it and keep going.
There’s no such thing as an overnight success
That is…unless you count the 10 years of hard work that came before. We’ve all heard the stories of the famous author whose success happened overnight.
The truth is, it didn’t. Successful authors put in years of work before ever getting published.
All that work was the foundation for the great books that lead to their success.
- J.K. Rowling taught school and then was a researcher and bilingual secretary for years, all the while writing fiction on the side. She was unemployed and near poverty when she wrote the first Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
- Meg Cabot spent several years (!) rigorously submitting manuscripts before landing her agent. She got a book deal after that, but had to keep working at her job and New York University until her success with The Princess Diaries series.
- Kate Dicamillo received something like 463 rejections before selling her first book. She went on to be one of six people to win two Newberry Medals—for The Tale of Despereaux and Flora and Ulysses—all because she didn’t give up.
- Mary E. Pearson, author of the New York Times Bestselling series The Remnant Chronicles, admitted at an author event that she wrote five (!) novels that would never see the light of day, and that it took ten years before she sold the one that made her a published author.
The difference between a published author and an unpublished author is that the published author didn’t give up.
How to keep writing while dodging tornadoes
Life drops roadblocks and raves in our paths—like tornadoes dropping from the sky—forcing our writing onto uncharted detours. Who knew dodging tornadoes would be a valuable writing skill?
There are happy detours, and those filled with sadness and loss. Even life threatening, if you discover a loved one’s being extorted by the Russian mafia and they come after YOU when you publicize their crimes across social media, looping in the FBI. Hey, it could happen. Tornadoes come in all shapes and sizes, all equally disruptive to our writing goals.
Whatever tornado you’re dodging right now…know you are not alone. Here’s a few things that kept me going when tornado dodging got tough:
- Write something every day. Even if it’s only a note to remind you to write something better tomorrow.
- Go to author visits. Invariably, you’ll hear the ordeal that published author went through to get their first book deal.
- Read. Read. Read. It’s the next best thing to writing. You’ll be surprised how much you absorb on craft, especially when reading a variety of genres.
- Watch TV series in your genre. It’s a great way to study story and character development.
- Read author blogs that inspire you.
- Read books on craft that help polish your writing weaknesses. We all have them. Most of us, more than one.
- Remember what got you excited about writing. Revisit whatever it was that sparked the creative fire that set you on your writing journey.
- Believe you’ll make it across the publishing bridge after the tornadoes pass. Because you will. As long as you don’t give up.