The theme for today, boys and girls, is struggle. Sometimes, it seems as if every aspect of a writing career is a struggle.
I guess if anyone is trying to achieve something worthwhile, regardless of what that might be, then struggle is always part of the process.
I've been struggling with line edits on my existing ebooks once I determined that the person who had done the copy edits had performed in a, let's say lackluster, fashion.
Everything to do with ebooks has been a learning experience. As Ben Franklin said: "Experience keeps a dear school, but a fool will learn in no other."
Even when you try to do everything right and use outside help, sometimes things don't work out. I'll be uploading revised editions of my ebooks as I complete line edits. I don't know how Nook and other platforms handle revised editions, but I'll be finding out today. I do know that Amazon sends emails to notify purchasers of revised editions for free download.
Achievement Means Struggle
If one wishes to achieve something special, something out of the ordinary, then there’s usually a fair amount of work and struggle involved. There’s value in meeting adversity head-on, and there’s a lot to be learned from the process.
One of the things to learn is that your self-identity is not the same as what you’re trying to achieve. Today, I’m thinking about how to separate your self-identity from your writing. You have to learn that you are not your writing. If your writing gets rejected, that does not mean that you have been rejected, but a lot of people think it’s one and the same.
The easiest way to start learning this lesson is to submit your work or publish it as an ebook. With submissions, if you aren’t ready to hit an agent or editor, try entering contests. Find a contest that has no fee or a minimum entry fee, and make sure it’s a credible contest with a good rep and judges who know good writing. Then submit your work rather than continue to sit on it.
With indie publishing, just publish your ebook when you think it's ready and wait for the reviews. I promise you that you'll get some reviews that will curl your hair, but, as I have learned, don't dismiss them out of hand. If two make the same comment, then investigate.
However, don't blindly believe the praise or the negatives. No one's work is perfect--even that from big print publishers. You'll find readers who adore your work, and readers who scorn it. Don't invest your emotions in acceptances, rejections, or reviews or your doomed to a roller coaster of highs and lows.
Learning that you are not your writing is necessary in order to survive this fierce business. If you cave at the first sign of an agent or editor rejection or you don't place in a contest or you receive a bad review, then you may need to rethink your aspirations.
Rejection by publishers and by readers is a huge part of being a professional writer. You pitch, and you hope the powers that be like your ideas. You publish and hope your writing touches someone.
Sometimes you get what you want; sometimes you don't. It's kind of like the Stones song, "You can't always get what you want." But, as the song goes on to say, if you try real hard, you just might get what you need.
Try to remember that a rejection is just a "no thanks." A negative review, even if it makes salient points that will help you improve your product, really means the book "just wasn't for me or you need to find out what's wrong with it."
Take action if legitimate issues need to be addressed, but try to remember that reading taste is very subjective.
Value Of The Struggle
The shortest definition of a novel is "a character struggles against great odds to achieve a worthy goal." In a book, the struggle against great odds (that pesky conflict element) is what makes the character the hero.
In life, the same can be said. If you're trying to obtain a college degree then you are a character struggling against great odds to achieve a worthy goal.
If the degree was handed to you without your doing anything, would you feel as fulfilled as you would be if you worked your butt off to pay for college yourself and studied until you felt you couldn't hold your eyes open another minute? I don't think so.
There is value in the struggle. If you successfully overcome the odds once, you gain the knowledge that you can do it again. You'll learn a lot about yourself, and you'll learn how to keep going when you'd rather just chuck it all because struggle teaches that if you want something bad enough, that you have to keep on trying. That's persistence.
Some people get afraid to try if they fail. Don't get afraid. Be brave. Be bold. Learn from your mistakes. Learn from the editors who reject you. Learn from contest results. Learn from reviews. Learn from readers.
Just as you’ll never learn to swim unless you jump in the water, you’ll never get published, regardless of the publishing path you choose, if you shrink from the struggle.
In fact, you'll never achieve anything worthwhile, no matter what that is, if you avoid the struggle.