I never cease to be amazed at the number of aspiring writers looking for a shortcut to publishing success. All I can say is, “Get with the program; there isn’t one!”
I write this post absent malice. My goal has always been to help newbies and aspiring writers get closer to publication, if I can. I’ve learned much about the blood, sweat and tears that go into manuscript writing, and I love sharing what I’ve learned so unsuspecting newbies won’t keep searching for shortcuts that don’t exist.
And they don’t, you know. Exist, I mean. If there is an actual “fast track” to publication, it’s this: You’ve got to write. You’ve got to study your craft, put what you’ve learned into practice by actually writing, buy some ink and paper to print out a hard-copy of your work, solicit feedback through critique groups, read, read, read, and forge ahead until you reach your goal.
That’s the only fast-track to publication I know of.
And speaking of reading, it’s my belief that the well-read writer writes well. Therefore, I feel a large part of an aspiring writer’s education should be reading books of all kinds, especially books in the genre the writer is interested in. But you would be surprised at the number of writers who don’t read. At all.
Case-in-Point: A few days ago, I was approached by another newbie searching for the shortcut to publication. My advice was to try to get some writing in every day, and to read all the books he could find in his chosen genre. His response was: “I was hoping you wouldn’t say that. The thing is, I don’t like to read.”
I was shocked. A writer who doesn’t like to read? Isn’t that an oxymoron? But…that’s what he said. And he said it like he was scolding me ever-so-lightly for suggesting he actually study some of the pros to see how they did it.
And so, I’m saddened. Why? Because there’s no shortcut to publication, and even if there was, it would definitely not apply to the writer who hates to read. So just remember: In the time you spend searching for the proverbial shortcut to literary glory, you can have completed two or three manuscripts and be on your way to publication. Now, think about that.
Best wishes and happy writing,
PS – Photograph courtesy of Nic McPhee