Author's Notes| 5 More questions I Should Have Asked Myself When I first Started Publishing
I’m here again with 5 more questions to ask yourself before you start publishing. With the letters I received from the last questions I should have asked myself post, I decided to do another set of things to consider at the beginning of your publishing career. Notice I didn’t say writing. You don’t need to be published to be a writer. You do however need to be published to be a published writer. The business of publishing is that, and to pretend that it’s not is setting you up for failure. Which will not happen on my watch!
As I sit and look back over my publishing history I notice that there were so many chances that I had to publish that I didn’t take. Some of them were because I was lazy, but for the most part, the venue for publishing was not right for me. So the next time you are given the chance to publish and you say no, really look into why. Were you just lazy? No judgment we’ve all been there. Or was it just not the type of writing you wanted to do? Maybe you are trying to go into a new direction? Whatever the case you didn’t do it, and a few moments (No longer) of introspection of why might be in order. There are so many pitfalls and roads on the way to being published. I hope that in some part
- Are you willing to do the research? That idea that’s burning in you to write needs to be fact-checked. I don’t care if the fairy in your book can breathe underwater and turn itself into a beach ball. There is a scientific reason that is possible, and even if there is not you are going to have to make it make sense. If your world is one that is drawing people in it is a world that is going to make them ask questions. This means that you’re going to have to have answers to those questions preferably in a book. Is your novel about firefighters who risk their life and limb to save the town? Awesome, do you know what a cockloft is? No? Then you need to go do some research. Because I guarantee you someone has a friend of a friend who is a firefighter, and will not hesitate to let you know why such and such was not possible because of that detail you glossed over. Save yourself the grief. You don’t’ have to add every detail, but make sure you know enough to write about it competently.
- Do you have the resources or know where to get the resources you need to write. If you have something to write with and a surface to write on you can be a writer. You don’t need to have a lot of money to write. Cavemen wrote stories on their walls with rocks that they picked up off the ground. While I don’t recommend that, I would suggest going to your nearest dollar store and picking up a pack of pens and a notebook. If you don’t or can’t afford a computer you can go to your local library and get an email address. Write your story and send it to yourself each time. This way you can save your story and continue it. I understand that this is predicated on the idea that everyone who is reading this is privileged enough to afford the materials or can get to a library to write. Also think about the time, if 5:00 am is the only time you have to write then that is the time you have to resource for your craft. If you don’t or can’t get them, then you may need to work on getting that situation handled first. If all you have is a phone check the features. It may have a voice recording apparatus, and you can send messages to yourself until you can get somewhere to type them or a note pad you can write your story out on.
- Do you have the experience to write? You can live vicariously through your characters, or your characters can come to life through your experiences. It’s easy to block out the world and put your thoughts on paper. However, nothing gives your thoughts life the way that living life can. Travel, take classes and go to cocktail parties. There are experiences that you will write about that can be enhanced because you lived them. Does your character fly? Try taking a plane trip or sky diving if you’re really adventurous. Your character is an archeologist who searches for temples deep into the Congo? You don’t have to book your ticket to Machu Picchu…unless you want to. Just go hiking. The very act of getting ready to go on a hike will get you in the mindset of preparing for an adventure. This is not giving you a license to go try meth just to get your story out. but you can go volunteer in hundreds of places that will give you insight into mental health. There is a song by incubus called “Warning” were it tells you not to let life pass you by. This is especially true of writers who spend a lot of time in their heads. Your writing will be better for it.
- Can you elevator pitch your submission? So you’ve written your story, article, poem, novel, or speech. You get into an elevator with someone who could change your whole world. They ask you about your piece. You have nothing to say. You have just let your window of opportunity to close. This is not to say another window won’t open, but you could be five steps ahead by stepping through the door that was open at the time. Know what your work is about and be able to talk about it competently. If you can’t explain your story then those advertising and promoting your work can’t either. If I’m asking you about your piece then you have about a minute to make the best impression you can. You should be able to give me the rundown of your story and sell your article to me in thirty seconds or less. The other thirty seconds should be you telling me about yourself and any writing credits you have. You want to be able to do this confidently, and the only way to do that is to practice. Get in front of your mirror or film yourself on your phone. I know that being shy might be a hurdle, but that’s even more reason to condense it to thirty seconds. You don’t have to think about what you are going to talk about you’ve already worked on your spiel.
- What is your writing ritual- All writers have a ritual. They have certain things that they must do to be ready to complete a writing session. These may have changed over time or necessity, but as a whole, there is a ritual. This can be as elaborate as sageing your area, lighting candles, and putting on soft music. Or it can be as simple as finding a quiet section of the yard with a notebook or tablet and turning out sixteen pages of content. Whatever your ritual is, try to make it as streamlined as possible. If you are the go outside and find a nice spot keep a book bag ready with things you know you’ll need like a water bottle and extra pens. Maybe you’re the bells books and candles type. That’s fine just make sure all candles, books, and bells are in the appropriate place with your laptop. However, your ritual works out, just make sure that you can execute it quickly. This way you can be in the headspace for writing sooner. Make it convenient to get your writing done and on the go if necessary.
Have you asked yourself these questions? Do you need more clarification on some of the points? Just comment below. I’d love to know your thoughts and what some of your writing rituals are. If you would like help in setting up a ritual let me know, I’ll be happy to clarify or get you started in a different article.