Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure. —Norman Vincent Peale
Horse Before Cart
Whenever I give a workshop, there are always people who want to pick my brain about getting published. How to get an agent, how to write a query letter, how to approach publishers, how to make sure you’re being marketed correctly, etc. Usually, I ask these people about their book, what it’s about, etc. The interesting thing is the relatively large number of these people who haven’t written a book yet.
Of course, it’s always good to go into an industry with your eyes wide open. But the fact is that I think a lot of people are seduced by the idea of publishing, and what they really want is some kind of guarantee that they’ll achieve their goal. If you want to get published, the number one thing you need to do is write a book, and write it to the absolute best of your ability. Everything else comes later.
There Are No Guarantees
Like any creative endeavor, writing requires that you engage with so-called “failure”. You’ll probably have to endure rejection.
Writing anything is always harder than you think it will be. Even a great idea takes a long time, a lot of mental energy, and—frankly—some pages and chapters that simply won’t work at all the first time you write them. Like any creative endeavor, writing requires that you engage with so-called “failure”. You’ll probably have to endure rejection. But these things can be our greatest teachers. (I explored this by taking a yo-yo class and writing about it in my monthly column for the Daily Hampshire Gazette.) The outcome is far less important than in the input. Focus on the effort, on the learning, and on making something as good as you possibly can. This will be harder than you want it to be. But that’s exactly why you’ll learn so much.