Friday, November 26, 2010
The Four Must Haves for every Writer
We require patience at every step of the way, from the rough, haphazard first drafts that don’t make much sense to others, to several drafts and rewrites that enhance our manuscripts, to the final edits where we chisel every extra word and polish and polish until the manuscript sparkles.
Perseverance is what sees writers seek publishing year after year, when rejected manuscripts and stories keep piling up, when we are unable to break the stranglehold of the slush pile. We know it deep down that its just a matter of time before we write that break through story/novel that will propel our manuscripts to the top of the pile and make people in position notice us.
We just cannot sustain a writing life without enthusiasm for our stories, characters, and plots. Even when we would rather catch up with all our other activities, enjoy the freedom that other people have, we greet the errant muse with enthusiasm when he drops in unexpectedly at the ungodly hour of 3.a.m, when the rest of the world is safely ensconced in their snug blankets. Better an untimely muse than no muse. Its enthusiasm that sees us switch on our laptops everyday to add more words to our ever growing story. Enthusiasm is something that keeps us going when criticism piles up against our manuscripts: from the initial beta readers to agents, from editors and critics to the readers. We know that writing is our passion and as long as there are some people who like what we have written, we will be enthusiastic enough to write more for them.
What finally sees us arrive safely at the top of the summit (read bag a publishing contract) is a firm determination to reach the goal. Determination is what I consider inner strength, where we want to see our stories reach out to people and make a difference in their lives.
What really helps is visualizing our goals: seeing us holding our published books in our hands goes a long way into bringing our dreams closer to realization.
Do these four traits constantly surround you? What else motivates you to keep typing when the rejection slips pile up and criticism walks towards us? Have these four traits deserted you at any time? What have you done then? How have you got them back?