Sunday, July 03, 2005

To the Pros

Dear Professional Writers,

Do you remember being unpublished? The struggles? The hopes and dreams? The lottery-win feeling when you finally broke through?

Hold onto that feeling. Don't let it go. And beware:

A sense of entitlement.
Jealousy and envy of those who have more.
A feeling of superiority over those who have less.
Worry over the future, when you're lucky to be here in the present.
Getting bogged down in the details.
Focusing on the negative.

Also, remember to give back.

This is becoming harder the busier I become, but I'm still trying to help others get to where I'm at. To this end I teach writing at a local community college, I read manuscripts that people send me, I recommend writers to my agent, I hold writing contests, I buy other authors' books, I write reviews, I give blurbs, I always answer questions, I offer advice in person, in email, and on my blog and website, and most of all, I try to be patient and understanding with those who know less about this profession than I do, and gracious and thankful to those who know more than I do and share that knowledge.

The further you get into this business, the more idealism you lose. The same can probably be said of life.

One way to hold onto that idealism is to never forget where you came from.

Stay humble.


Anonymous said...

Amen brother. Preach it. And thanks for all you do.

Anonymous said...

I remember nothing but being a HUGE success. I've always been succesful and have taken pleasure in crushing the spines of those I walked over to get here.

I choose not to teach because I want no one coming along who may, by some bizarre alignment of the stars, surpass me.

Where I came from? Right here in ye ole lap O luxury, pal. My poop don't even stink.

Ah, but I do give back. Always. I give back my perfectly executed tales to those less fortunate and less intelligent than I, who were unable to attain the incredible success I have, and now must keep from slicing through their own throats on a daily basis by reading the glorious words that ooze out of me.

I just don't want to ever meet them or sign anything for them.

Yours in designer duds,
Margaret Atwood

Anonymous said...

Nice site. Congratulations on your book tour! Not everyone gets good publicity, so you're doing the wise thing and dropping all else to promote your books. I hope you do very well!
When you say that you read others' work . . . is that in the context of an online workshop, or what?

I've been considering posting either excerpts from my novels or some of my unsold short stories on my website, just so they have a chance of being read by someone I've never met. I don't expect agents or editors to read them, but it would be nice to have *somebody* see them. My family quit believing LONG ago, and besides, they don't like fiction. (They don't even read the exalted Harry Potter, so that tells you.)

Take care of yourself out there on the road. Sounds pretty grueling, but fun. Let us know how it all works out.