Aloha from Karen,
At my first writer’s conference I won the persistence award. I wondered if I just asked the most questions and if that was a polite way to say I was a pest. But over time I realize writers need persistence to succeed and someone saw that in me.
I looked at this year’s calendar and already see deadlines looming and contracts that look great-more than I ever expected. I look back and realize I persisted and years of hard work matter. Even more, I see other writers I knew from my early beginnings also finding more success over the years as they persist. I watched writers who wrote more eloquently and faster fall away because they gave up too soon or felt overwhelmed by rejection slips.
Whatever point you are at in writing, be persistent. Continue in spite of the many obstacles and rejections along the way. And work to be consistent in writing and professionalism.
Persistence means to keep working at the craft and improve.
It means to keep trying and to keep submitting.
It means to set goals-how much to write in a week, how often to submit something (self-imposed deadlines), and to re-submit when a piece is returned.
If you sell something see how it gets edited and then write more similar pieces.
If you get rejections consider how to re-write and where else to submit.
Persistence also means to work hard. Work at learning about the industry.
Learn how to market and pitch ideas.
Attend critique groups and apply the advice to polish your work.
Don’t give up as long as you believe in what you are writing. If you read your words but no longer have passion for them, then try writing something new.
I didn’t land a contract with a huge publisher at first. I sold small fillers, plays, and articles to small niche markets. Then I moved up to larger markets and longer manuscripts. I also applied to write as a regular for a few magazines and learned from my editors.
Be open to learning and to criticism.
We are not born published and can learn from readers, other writers, and editors.
Evaluate criticism and see how you can make changes. You may cry out in your head, “But that’s not what I meant.” and disagree with a comment. However, if the reader didn’t get what you meant it needs to be written better so the reader will get it.
Read what you want to write, specially the books that sell well. Figure out what touched readers and kept them buying and reading. See how you can add those qualities to your writing.
Believe in your writing. Continue to believe and submit.
A friend wrote and submitted for decades but didn’t sell nything. She even got a secretarial job in the industry. She was ready to give up when she won a small contest. So she persisted. It took a few more years but she finally started selling manuscripts and even hit a best seller list.
It happens all the time–writers do get contracts-if they stick with it.