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Believe In Yourself As A Writer

October 15th, 2021

First, thanks to Jacqueline for last week’s post and her sensible suggestions about getting your work published. But before you can get anything published you need to write and – importantly – admit to yourself (and to others) that you are a writer. In other words, believe in yourself!

Obviously, if you write, you’re a writer. But if you want to see your work in print then you need certain other qualities including:

Hard work: You can’t afford to have writers’ block! However you do it (and there are lots of suggestions out there online) you have to work your way through it and continue being productive. If you were a plumber, you wouldn’t suffer from plumbers’ block, would you? You’d just get on with unblocking that drain. You’ve also got to be willing to put the hours in. Don’t make excuses and procrastinate. Articles and books don’t writer themselves you have to be disciplined and sometimes have to make sacrifices.

Persistence: This has elements of the above (keep writing through the block, make time when you feel too busy) but it also involves not being put off by rejection or criticism. Also, ignore raised eyebrows or the dreaded ‘So what have you published’ when you tell friends and relatives that you are a writer.

Write what the market wants: If you want to get published then you have to write what people want/expect to read – not just what you want to write. If you hope to write articles or non-fiction books then you have to produce what editors and publishers are looking for. They know what their readers expect. You’ve obviously more freedom with fiction, but you still need to write what people are reading now. Think about the labels on library and bookshop shelves (crime, thriller, romance, historical, horror, YA…) and ensure that a publisher could easily ‘sell’ your work to an expectant public.

Be Professional: The days of reclusive writers tapping away and expecting publishers to make allowances for their foibles are over. You need to be able to produce work on time, in the required format and, if you are writing a novel, be prepared to publicise yourself and your work both face-to-face and on social media. Publishers have a finite promotional budget for new authors and they expect you to help as much as you can. Also, be willing to accept criticism and don’t be too precious to act on it!

There are, of course, two other things that you need to add to these if you are to succeed as a writer: talent (but this can be developed and honed) and a great big dollop of luck! And, what I mentioned right at the beginning – you’ve got to believe in yourself. Because if you don’t, nobody else will.

Don’t forget that our Flash Fiction Competition is now accepting entries. The prizes are £300, £200 and £100 plus each winner receives a Writers Bureau Course of their choice. The entry fee is £5 for one story or £10 for three stories and there’s a discount if you are a member of the Association of Freelance Writers. The limit of 500 words per story and the closing date for entries is 30th November.

Finally, I’ve just got to have a quick rant about the pricing of J K Rowling’s latest story for children: The Christmas Pig. I saw an article in yesterday’s paper and decided to buy it as a stocking-filler for my grandchildren. When I found out it was priced at £20 I decided that might not be such a good idea! But I now find that it is reduced – immediately – to £10 on Amazon and through Waterstones. Why can’t the publisher simply price it at a reasonable amount to start with  – doing it this way is an insult to the reading public’s intelligence.

 

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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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