Two Vital Questions to Ask Yourself About Writing

Thought for the dayWe are all looking for our path to success, but our paths are drastically different. We all don’t get to success the same way, and we don’t all identify success in the same manner.

In my years of reading about marketing and writing, the same questions pop up, and by answering these two questions, it makes us better able to plan our writing careers. In fact, the answers to these two questions are vital in making important decisions in our publishing journeys.

Last week, I posed these two questions to members in my writers’ group. They have a month to think over the answers, but I’ve been thinking about my answers for much longer.

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Not All Agents and Editors are Honest

Business Musings: Writers, Scam Artists, Agents, and More by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

I’ve been following Kristine for many years. She often has a lot to say about the writing business, writers, agents, publishers and everything else regarding the publishing world. This post is no different. We may enter a relationship with an agent, editor or publishing company thinking this is the best thing ever only to learn months or years down the line that it was the worst thing ever.

Here’s what Kristine writes…

Just when I thought it was safe to get back into the water…

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I’m editing a lot these days. I only edit short fiction projects. Anthologies, anthology series (Fiction River), the occasional nonfiction book, and some magazines. I’m also consulting with the fine folks at WMG Publishing, because they’ll be handling the contracts for the revival of Pulphouse next year. Dean’s vision for Pulphouse includes reprinting some of the older stories, which means we have to deal with estates.

Too often, estates mean agents.

But even some lazy-ass living writers give their agents control of everything. It took me one year—one year—to get my hands on a non-fiction reprint that I wanted for a project of mine. The centerpiece for that project was an editorial written more than 20 years ago by a writer who had forgotten they had even written it. This writer, a friend of mine, doesn’t do email, and mostly stays off-line. (I know, I know.) I didn’t know about their tech phobia when I started into this, and had sent five different emails before I asked another editor friend how to reach this writer.

The editor advised snail mail.

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Working My Way Out of the Pickle Jar

Diane Lynn Tibert
If the going gets tough, do you park your bus and let rust take over? Or would you shine it up and make another run?

Last Friday, I learned a small local business was going out of business. I had been a patron of this store for more than three maybe four years. Looking back, I could see it was slowly going downhill in the sense that business was slow. Still, it satisfied my needs and I returned on a weekly basis for its product.

While making my final purchase, I asked the shop owner what he would do once he closed his door for the final time. “Find a job to hold me over until something better comes along,” he said.

On the way home, I thought about his answer. Finding a job to hold me over until something better came along is what I did from the age of 16 to 29. Since I’ve realised writing is the something better that came along, I wonder what would happen if I couldn’t afford to write. In other words, what if I had to find a full time job that left little time for writing?

It’s not unheard of. Many writers find themselves in this pickle jar. It’s a hard climb out.

However, I’m almost out of the jar. Just a wee more and I’m Scott-free. But what if I began to slip? What if a newspaper suddenly decides they don’t want to publish my column? What then? Do I slowly go out of business, eventually closing shop?

No.

I am acutely aware that writing is my life. Without it, I’d be working just to survive, always waiting, wanting to get back to it. If my little business began to slip, I’d call in the troops, burn that midnight candle and harass every newspaper, magazine and publisher. I’d change my tactics, learn new tricks and work harder and wiser than I ever had to salvage my writing business.

To me, something better won’t come along. It’s already here. I just have to work to keep it near.

When the going gets tough, would you throw in the towel? Or would you knuckle-down and work harder to keep writing?