Don’t Limit Yourself By the Little Picture

I spent the first year of writing trying to learn the ropes. That in itself is quite a feat. There’s endless things to set up and then juggle. Research takes as much time in the beginning as writing. Luckily there’s an enormous writing community online just waiting to embrace you. Seriously. Ask. If you can’t figure it out, just ask. Join Twitter and find a crit partner. Read blogs. You know the routine.

Here’s something I didn’t know when I started.

You don’t have to be signed by the biggest agent in the biz to have a career. Also, you don’t have to contract with the biggest publishing house to be an author.

I’m not saying to discount those options. What I’m saying is to follow all that advice you read about thinking long term and seeking a perfect match for you and your work. You need to really think of your writing as a career, as in long term, what do you want from this hobby turned obsession? Do you know?

I was so determined to have my debut novel in hardback and an interview on Oprah, I missed a lot of opportunities. But I never really wanted to be an overnight sensation or a one hit wonder. I wanted to do this forever. Do you?  I want to encourage you guys to look for opportunities to be published with small or even micro publishers. Get in on an anthology. Check out Chicken Soup for the Soul. It only takes a couple months to write a novella. You can do this while pursuing big houses for your larger works too.

Gathering publishing credits to reputable sources is a brilliant career move. Heck, freelance. Write articles for national magazines, or papers. You love to write, right? So, throw a few irons in the fire, let your precious sit a while and do some side ventures. It will give you experience, open your mind and career to the bigger industry picture, and boost your confidence. Even if its all rejected, you’ve learned, grown and gained for doing it.

Think big. Look beyond the box. Establish yourself by putting it out there. A writer needs to give themselves a break, shake out the wrists and breath sometimes. Don’t count out the small presses, or the new agencies. Make connections. Think about what your dream career will be like in a decade and lay a plan to get there. I really think the majority of great writers burn out before ever getting published. They shot for the stars, didn’t make it with their one and only completed novel and put it in a drawer. Now, they say things like “I wrote a novel once.”

Don’t be that guy.

Do it. Write it. If no one wanted that one, write another one. This is YOUR dream, No one else will make it happen for you.

There’s a verse in the Bible I love. It’s like my life verse playing somewhere in my subconscious all the time. “Run the race set before you. All the runners in the race run. Run as if to obtain.” I’m paraphrasing of course, but do you see? We’re all running this race. There’s a clear goal. Run for it as if you’re going to win it.

Don’t settle for the over-hyped pre-set method everyone blogs about everyday.

Customize your plan.

Make your own race and get there.

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