I was talking with fellow writers this week, about why we write and why we don’t write. In some cases, some writers are submitting on a regular basis. Others are taking a break due to real life happening, and causing problems. Still other creators are on the convention circuit, promoting different publications and books, as well as their brands. In short, we may have various obstacles or priorities that get in the way of submitting short fiction, and long novels.
There may be one reason that you are not submitting to the latest fantasy or science fiction call: you may want time to work on the writing process, and your craft. Much like artists draw every day to practice their figure, writers need to take some time. One writer was telling me this, about wanting to take more time to focus on the written word and structure. It made me think since other mentors had given the same advice.
I freely admit that I’m not good at this, at taking time to step back and focus on the craft. As an impatient writer, I have found that it’s better to take risks and take the leap than be perfect. If you submit, and you remain polite to the editors, you can get a foot in the door. Or at the least, you can make a slush reader happy when they see how hard you are trying with each short story, novella, or pitch.
When We Practice
For better or for worse, we writers need to practice and understand the mechanics of writing, as well as the joy. Much like with any profession, creative or otherwise, we need to keep learning. If you don’t, then you run the risk of stagnating. We know plenty of authors that start out strong, but they lose their touch. Some may claim that it’s due to being a one-hit wonder and only having one book in them.
When it comes to buckling down to learn craft and conduct exercises, it is difficult to do the same lessons solo. Sure, we have plenty of free resources online, and affordable ones so that you don’t have to shell out a few thousand dollars for Clarion. Having less gatekeeping can make a huge difference.
When taking classes in college, it was much easier because a teacher was nearby who would guide you through a curriculum. When doing it on your own, you are your own teacher. As a result, it is easy to lose focus when you have so many resources at your fingertips.
Still, what we can do is learn, and figure out if we can suffice with the books or get any instruction. We can keep moving forward, and focus on the love of the written word. And we keep communicating our intentions.