By Alisha Webb
Many people feel as though they have a story in them, or simply the innate ability to get an important message out there, but the majority don’t really know how to go about doing this. Here are some tips as to how.
Writing is in your blood, at least it should be if you feel like you have something to say that you would like to get published. If it’s not in you, then it can be the hardest thing in the world to push and so perhaps you shouldn’t even begin to try. If you feel that it is there, however, but you don’t know how to let it out, then this might be the right place for you.
Writing cannot be learned in the same way that you used to read your textbooks at school in order to fill you in on the parts that you weren’t sure of in your English literature exams. It can, of course, be studied, but the dedication and need to get published goes a long way past any kind of formal training.
From afar, writing might seem like some romantic pastime; a passionate, instinctive practice that soars through the writer and forces itself onto the page. In an ideal world this would be true and it would also be very easy. Unfortunately, this type of gift is a very rare one and the vast majority of all writers really have to force themselves to put the words on the page. The double misfortune is that those words often just do not want to come and instead you are left staring at an empty page.
Once you have accepted that the words do not always, or even often, flow like water, it is essential that you designate a part of your life to writing. You name the time, as this is preferably done daily, and then you eradicate everything else from your life during that time. This is not a magic trick that will unleash your natural powers, there still will be many hours sat alone and wordless, but this 100% commitment to your work on a daily basis is of paramount importance if you really hope to eventually succeed.
Admit your imperfections
A big predicament many writers find themselves in is that they are unable to ever finish the work they have started. It is very easy to fall into the trap of being incapable of letting your work go. You must admit that nothing will ever be perfect and know when is the right time to call it a day on a certain piece of work. If you don’t do this you run the risk of getting stuck in a rut which you can’t move on from. It is much better to have two or three ÂfinishedÂ pieces of work that you are not completely happy with rather than dwelling needlessly over one that will never get finished. Even the great novels that you read at school would be tweaked by their authors if they were able to go back to them now. Accept that yours is not everything you hoped for and move onto the next one that you promise will be better.
You cannot operate in a vacuum. If you want to get published you need to be aware of the places where your finished work could find a home. Being aware of what is out there and sending these people your work often helps you make initial connections that will prove more fruitful in the future. This is an essential part of the process. Reading other people’s work can give you the confidence to see that there is a market for the material you yourself are looking to write.
Do not fear rejection
Sending out your first piece of work to an editor can be the most nerve wracking thing in the world. You have laboured over this piece of material for hours and now you have to let somebody tell you that it isn’t any good. You have to be ready for rejection. It is likely that you will be knocked back many more times than you are accepted, but this is all a part of the real learning process. Never take praise or criticism personally and be thankful for all and any of the comments that you get. The flutter you feel in your stomach when you see an email or a letter come back to you from an editor is one of the best feelings in the world. Remember that this feeling comes before you know whether the answer is a positive or negative. It really doesn’t matter all that much. If you are a true writer, you will carry on regardless, and one fine day they will be writing English literature textbooks that include your own work.