It is my guess that most writers want to be published in some form.
Not all, of course. There are some people quite happy to pen their thoughts purely for their own pleasure – or perhaps just for a small circle of family and friends.
There are many others who are striving hard to gain the nod of approval from publishers and desire to see their words in print. I’m one of them, and have enjoyed the thrill of seeing my stories and poems in print. To this point my success has been modest. I also get great pleasure in the knowledge that I have many hundreds of readers of my three blogs, including this one.
Fiona Maddock on the site Write for your life has written a thought provoking article called Unknown and unpublished: enjoy it while it lasts. She explains that the unpublished writer has freedoms not enjoyed by a published author and I’d agree. Unpublished writers can write whatever takes their fancy, have no set deadlines and can write as much or as little as they wish.
She doesn’t leave the article there, of course, going on to outline some basic but essential things to remember to do on one’s journey to becoming a published writer. We should not forget the basics of grammar, spelling, punctuation, editing and rewriting.
My regular readers would be aware that over the last few years I have been very busy working on my Master of Arts Creative writing degree. I finished the requirements for this last December and submitted my thesis paper for marking. I am still waiting for the results from the examiners.
Over Christmas and New Year I took a few weeks’ break from the intensive writing I did in the latter half of 2010. It certainly drained me emotionally and physically. Now I am steadily getting on with other writing projects. Most writers I know or have read recommend that once you have finished a major writing project, have a short break then get on with the next project. This is especially true if you have submitted a book manuscript to a publisher.
I haven’t yet submitted my thesis paper (a children’s novel) to a publisher, but submitting it to the examiners is similar, I guess. I could spend every day sitting by the phone waiting for a call from my supervising lecturer telling me of the result. That wouldn’t achieve anything, nor will it hasten the process. I will hear in due course, probably in the next 3 or 4 weeks. In the meantime, I’m getting on with other projects.
Some writers make the mistake of sitting by the letter box, or checking it every few hours, waiting for a letter from their potential publisher. That will not make an acceptance (or rejection) letter come any faster. Get on with the next project while you are waiting.
So – how am I using my time?
- Birding: I’ve been doing a little birding which is my favourite hobby. You can read about it on my blog called Trevor’s Birding. This site shows hundreds of photos of our beautiful Australian birds.
- Photography: I’ve just treated myself to a new camera and I’m having fun playing with it. Over coming months you’ll see the results here and on my other two sites.
- Reading: I’m aware of the ever increasing heights of the piles of unread books and magazines in my office and bedside table, and I’ve been steadily working my way through them. My reading during my studies was very focussed on what I had to read, not what I wanted to read. That will change.
- Swimming: Now that the weather has improved here in South Australia I’ve been making good use of our swimming pool. Having a solar blanket heats the water to very acceptable temperatures, even first thing in the morning.
- Writing: My writing has not been totally neglected, and after the Christmas break I’m steadily getting back into it. At the moment I am concentrating on writing articles for my web sites. I’ve written many of them for my birding site mentioned above, as well as for another site called Trevor’s Travels. This one is about my travels here in Australia and overseas. Then I am planning a series of articles for this site about writing, so stay tuned.
Sounds like my holiday is over and I’m back to writing again.
Happy New Year to all my readers.
I hope the year 2011 brings you great joy, peace and at least some success with your writing. As I explained yesterday, one of my main goals for this year is to be published in a variety of forms: novels, picture books, articles, poems, short stories and whatever else life throws on to my path. I am also determined that this year will also see lots of submissions. If you are not submitting to publishers there is no way you can get published, so I’m determined that this is one area of my writing that needs to change.
Life is more than writing, of course, but over the last few years as I completed my MA Creative Writing degree there were some things which were neglected. As I said yesterday, I’m not really into making New Year’s resolutions. I’ve observed that most people don’t keep them however well intentioned they might be. I prefer setting firm goals with definite, achievable targets. My writing goals include a daily target for the number of hours spent on writing, the number of words written and the number of poems and stories submitted to publishers. I also have goals for other aspects of my life. These include:
- Reading: writers are readers so this is of utmost importance. This year I plan to read 100 titles (books and magazines; I read most of the magazines I get from cover to cover).
- Travel 1: I plan to visit my son and his family in Sydney.
- Travel 2: I plan to visit my daughter while she is teaching overseas.
- Exercise: I plan to exercise on average five times a week.
- Weight loss: I plan to lose 12kg this year through exercise and sensible eating.
- Hobby: I plan to go birding at least once a week, taking photos to share on my birding site.
I have many more smaller specific goals, such as cleaning out the garage, cleaning my office, gardening and so on. These are much more detailed plans and I won’t bore you with them here. I like making lists of things to do – and take pleasure in crossing them off when completed.
It looks like it is going to be another busy year.
I’d better plan to have times of relaxation too.