Hey Readers! This post is a part of my (Teen) Writers’ Grimoire ongoing, dare I say infinite, blog series. Visit the About page for more information.
Writing can be hard work, but often we, writers, make it harder than it has to be.
A couple weeks ago I was having a hard time and my writing was blocked. I’d completed my previous manuscript a while back and had begun querying it to agents (FYI: literary agents represent authors and sell their books to editors) and so I wanted something new to work on to take my mind off the stress of querying. However I couldn’t commit to writing anything even though I had quite a few story ideas.
You see, I was afraid.
The novel is a YA Paranormal Mystery and Paranormal is very crowded genre right now. Many of the authors who are doing well, selling well, they’ve been writing paranormal or urban fantasy for a few years now, if not more and they have solid fanbases. I was having a hard time because I’d just gotten one of the worst rejection letters a writer can get:
I love your writing, your main character’s voice is hilarious, this book has many elements I love, but Paranormal is a hard sell right now. Please keep me in mind for future projects.
This isn’t the exact letter, it’s a combination of about five similar ones I received that week. Those agents hadn’t asked to see the full manuscript, they had only looked at the first few chapters I’d attached as sample pages. And even though I’d also received requests from other agents asking me to send them the full, saying I know Paranormal is crowded, but I think this one will stand out, it hurt to get those rejections. So much so that my mind had created a mental block, my fear of failure was stopping me from doing what I love…writing.
To tell you a bit about my writing, I often write books that happen to hit the end of a trend. The same thing happened to me with a sci-fi manuscript I queried last year, and it sucked to hear agents say they loved it but didn’t want to consider it because they didn’t think they could sell it. I understood, I really did, publishing is a business, but that doesn’t lessen the hurt.
And now I’m writing a YA Dystopian with time travel elements, go ahead, laugh. I don’t care. It’s my (newest) book baby, and I adore it. And you know what?
That’s what’s most important. Love.
I know many published authors and they all say that the publication process is a long road and because of all the revising you have to do (e.g. by yourself, with your agent, with your editor) you have to read your book over and over and over again. You HAVE to love it.
I don’t follow the trends. I read a ton and so I know when something has been done before. I always work to make my books unique, but I can’t change the genre of a book. And trust me I thought about it after a couple agents said love the story, but I prefer my mysteries without paranormal elements, however I couldn’t do it. I write the stories I love. I put my heart into my writing, my characters, and the worlds I create. That’s what’s most important.
I believe love and dedication attracts love and dedication. One day, hopefully soon, I’ll find the agent, editor, and readers who love my stories as much as I do.
So, put your heart into your writing. Write the story of your heart. If you can’t figure out what story that it, try setting a timer for 10, 15, or 30 minutes and freewrite, let the words flow, don’t force them to come out. Who knows, you just might find the story your heart has been aching to tell.
I believe in you. Don’t give up. Now get back to writing.
P.S. If you have any questions about writing, publishing, etc…ask away. I’d love to hear your suggestions on content you’d like to see.
Also, sign up for The (Teen) Writers’ Grimoire monthly newsletter! It’ll have exclusive giveaways and a collection of my favorite posts from the previous month.