Know Your Worth
I’ve been a writer of sorts for years and not by choice. It’s true; never set out to be a writer.
Writing can be both rewarding and become a brutal chore within the confinements of few pages. It depends on the moment. For some, an idea becomes an instant outline for a potential novel. And for others, often those desperate to produce their next piece, ideas that once seemed viable suddenly disintegrate before they get started. Frustration in the middle of a plot leads to panic, and God forbid one should experience writers block during a deadline. I’ve yet to suffer such writers block.
People write for different reasons. Fame and fortune (don’t buy into that unless you’re willing to work hard, pay the price, and do your homework). Others write to share their experiences; inspire and teach. For the joy of it, advancement in their professional or academic worlds, to receive praise or to contribute articles with the world. Whatever the reason, it’s HARD work.
Reworking any manuscript after the first draft will reveal additional work to be done. Rewrites. If you do not accept this, you will never improve, nor evolve. Each time a manuscript is completed, an improvement in voice and style should be evident. If there isn’t one, I believe writers have stayed in the same place too long and risk becoming stagnant.
If you don’t believe me, go back and look at your first few pieces. I wouldn’t dare read mine, a fear that I need to rewrite them, and yet they still sell. No piece is perfect. I know enough not to look after a certain amount of time.
Not long ago I stopped and listened to an author’s speech. They were doing great, they had me, right up until they said, “If I can do it, anyone can do it.” I could feel myself cringe. My skin was crawling. My first thought, “What an amateur.” My second thought, “They haven’t been kicked around enough out here.” Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that most people can’t understand or learn the grammatical structure of a sentence or the rules of writing. Of course, they can.
Buy a book and learn how to string words together and make-up a story. Research something or report an event. Unfortunately, in today’s world even load it up and throw it out there for sale. But I’m talking about doing this day in, day out and doing it right. Especially fiction writing. If you’re in it for the long haul, longevity as a writer, you do it over and over again.
I believe at that moment I shut them out. Felt as if they were totally misleading an entire crowd. No mention of late nights, countless hours away from family and friends. Isolated, skipping events and functions. Years of research. Frustration. Rewrites. Edits. Not to mention the expense (editors, design, and layout) involved. The exhilaration of the work being completed lasts for but a minute or so it seems; to be fair, maybe that’s after the first few releases. Then the real work begins, and that’s after all of the work prior to that. Marketing. Wow. Now that’s where the real work begins. “If I can do it, anyone can do it,” she said. Really!? It made me feel as if they’d just devalued every author’s work. And any potential writer was about to be misled. Saying, that’s how I felt. You may not.
It reminds me of my sister, an artist. I attended many of the classes she took. I can tell you the process of sandblasting, screen printing, acrylic, oils, etc., but I still can’t paint a lick. Nothing. Nada. I’m flat out not an artist no matter how hard I try. I can read all the books. Take the classes. Even paint by number, but I can’t create a piece of art.
Do serious writers honestly believe that anyone can do what they do? Do they put so little value on their craft that they think anyone can do it? I know that no one can write my stories. They can’t. My voice is my own. Mine. The way I tell my story can be told only by me. My characters leap off a page and come to life the way I describe them, and my dialog makes the characters who they are.
Does my style appeal to all? Well of course not. However, you can’t please everyone. I have an author who I’ll sign, guaranteed contract. There’s nothing about her book that I don’t love. Love! It’s modern. Funny. Will appeal to a mass audience. Her dialog is hilarious, and I read and see so many submissions, NO ONE can write it like her. It’s worth something. It’s her voice. Not everyone can write and nor should they, and that’s a fact.
Our market is saturated, and it’s a mess. I commend Amazon for trying to clean it up, and of course for the regulars that are attempting to be selective in regards to what they print. We know that isn’t always the case. ISBN’s that move, produce $’s and can be scooped up, republished under new publishers, and I don’t have a problem with that. I’ve written too many manuscripts to count. Technically, I could put them all out there, but I wouldn’t do that. Several have been published, three under another publisher. I pulled them and re-released them under my own label.
One piece was contracted by The Texas Municipal Courts Education Center, What IF… A Story of Shattered Lives. A script about the consequences of drinking alcohol and driving. It’s an important piece; educators should take a peek. Such a resource and it’s free. In addition to these, I’ve written three other books, including mom’s choice award winner. From the writing, rewriting, design, editing, production, and marketing, rest assured, none of that was easy (and I’m co-owner of publishing company).
Write, yes. Easy, no. Worth it, 100%. Yes. Make your story your own, and respect your worth. You don’t have to be famous to do that. Writing requires discipline. Seclusion. Concentration. Money. Time. The ability to handle disappointment and frustration. But always remember, when you hold your work in your hands for the first time, flip through the pages and receive your first fan mail by email or a letter in the post that says something like:
“Dear Ms. Thrasher,
I bought your book. I love the fairy world that you’ve created. My daughter would have loved this book.”
…… It’s all worth it.