When asked what the best advice I can give to aspiring writers, I often answer “persevere.”
And it doesn’t matter now far along the writing path they are, the answer still holds true.
First, finish the book. Too many writers get bogged down because they aren’t sure where the story is going or because they lack the craft skills needed to make their book publishable. The manuscript gets stuffed in a desk drawer and never sees the light of day again.
Which is a shame, because it might have been a great story if the author had dug a little deeper in her character’s motivations and goals, or if she had attended that workshop on character development offered in a nearby city, or signed up for an on-line course on plotting. It might mean ripping up the pages and starting all over, but it is a necessary part of writing. If you intend to go to Charlotte and take a wrong turn on I-485 and end up in Gaffney (as I once did) do you sigh and stay there–or do you turn around and this time follow the directions?
You get the point.
The second place writers falter is when the story is finished, polished to the best of their ability, run by their beta readers, and gone over by a competent editor. Maybe fear of rejection keeps them from sending it out and the story dies there.
Or they send it out and get a rejection. And another. And another.
This is where many authors end their journey. “It just wasn’t good enough.”
Wait! Didn’t several people they trusted tell them that it was good enough? Haven’t they heard the stories about the Famous Author who got a gazillion rejections before his blockbuster, NYT Best-Selling Book, was published?
“I don’t have time to do all that,” the Aspiring Author whines just before throwing in the towel.
Yes, I know. I felt that way too. But then I sent the danged story out one more time…
Because I believed in it and I knew in my heart someone else Out There would too.
I could have given up any time along the way. But I persevered.
And you should, too.