That's it. That's all she said. And I know that advice might seem like a bit of a letdown--especially given the title of this post.
(Honestly, I was a little disappointed too. I mean, this was her chance to tell me: set your margins to 1.26 inches--that's the secret code to communicate to an agent/editor that this will be a future bestseller!!!)
(Side note: as far as I know there is no secret code to communicate to an agent/editor that this will be a future bestseller.)
(And if there were, I'd probably have to kill you after I told you.)
(I'd also be a LOT more successful right now if I knew it)
And yet, I can tell you right now that the longer I'm around this industry, and the more authors/agents/editors I get to know, the more everything always comes back to the same piece of advice--and I've come to see the wisdom behind it.
Stuck on a scene/draft?
Waiting on CP feedback?
Subbing the project to editors?
Waiting on edits?
Waiting for your book to release?
Whatever you have going on with a current project...
Whatever discouragements are dragging you down...
Whatever you have going on in your real life...
Even if you only have a few minutes here and there. Even if you're at a crucial stage with an existing project. Even if you're feeling completely blocked. Work on something new. Revise something old. Try a short story or a flash fiction. Just keep writing.
Remember, this dream we're all chasing is also a career. Treat it like one. At any other job you can't just let everything screech to a halt because life got busy or things got hard, or you're waiting on big news. You still have to go to work. You still have to be productive.
Obviously this doesn't mean you can't ever take a break. And sometimes life happens and you can't write for a period of time. But IF you can, WHENEVER you can, KEEP WRITING.
Because that project that you think is THE ONE? Well...it might not be. The market might not be right for it. Maybe your writing isn't *quite* there yet. Or maybe the publishing world is making the biggest mistake ever by letting it pass them by. But it happens. And it sucks.
And you survive it by moving on to THE NEXT PROJECT.
You keep writing.
You keep refining your craft.
You keep polishing your drafts.
You keep exploring new ideas.
That's the difference between those who make it and those who don't. The ones who make it don't give up. They KEEP WRITING. And that's why they finally get where they want to be.
Yes, some people get there faster than others. Yes, some people sell the first thing they've ever written and go on to megastardom. But...those stories are REALLY rare.
The rest of us?
We just keep writing. Keep hoping for the best. Knowing that the hard work really WILL pay off someday. If we never give up, we will get there.
So I challenge all of you to write something today. A page. A paragraph. A few sentences. If you only have a few minutes--fine. Just write SOMETHING. And tomorrow do the same thing. And the day after that. On and on.
KEEP WRITING and you'll get where you want to be someday.