Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Pursuit of Happiness and Publication

Thanks to my brilliant wonderful husband, is up and running. And in connection to that, is up as well. This site and the connected blog are about writing. In the future, this blog will be more family related and less writing related. The following is the first blog entry from

I talked to a fellow unpublished writer today who just received a rejection from two of her dream agents. Both agents complimented her writing, told her she had great talent, but said no. One sited the competitiveness of the market, then other said her characters weren't sympathetic. Having recently received my own painful rejection, i understood her frustration as she pondered why if her writing was good she couldn't get published after two years of submitting and editing.

May I comment here that the writers I follow for the most part go through many more years than this of rejection. I think why so many writers quit is because of these years of trial and error. Also all those well-meaning friends who say "Don't quit your day job" or "Trying to get published is like playing the lotto."

I have several friends right now who aren't writers, but who are having trouble getting pregnant. Some of them have actual fertility issues, but a few of them have no obvious medical problems. If motherhood is your life long dream, would you quit trying after two years? If writing is your life long dream, would you quit after two years?

Getting paid to make up stories and worlds and people is the ultimate dream job to many people. For others, a dream job may be being a CEO of a major company, owning a successful business, or holding a major political office. No one with any of these careers get there overnight. I know a woman who recently started an art business with her husband. It's been interesting to watch the dogged and persistent way that she has worked on networking this business. Realistically they realize this won't be an overnight success, and they've been planning this project for years. Most business owners accept that the first few years will be challenging, I think that it's important as writers that we recognize that as well. For every Stephenie Meyer, (who truly was an overnight success) there are dozens of Stephen Kings and Becca Fitzpatricks. I highly recommend reading King's "On Writing" to truly appreciate how much rejection he went through. Becca Fitzpatrick worked towards getting her debut novel published for five years, and as publication neared she did a stunning amount of self-promotion on her website. As I watched her different contests and blog entries as her publication date neared, I wondered if it would pay off for her. When "Hush, Hush" debuted at number ten on the New York Times Bestseller List, I silently congratulated her success, while making a mental note of her brilliant pre-pub work.

In the recent Will Smith movie, "The Pursuit of Happyness", the main character faced homelessness, poverty, and many crazy obstacles to be part of a prestigious unpaid internship. At the end of the internship, only three of the many perspective candidates would be offered a job. Most people would have passed on the internship, and taken some menial dead end job. Instead, Will's character sought out every possible way to give himself an edge. He pursued perspective clients doggedly, becoming a borderline stalker at points. He made connections, built relationships, and at the end got the coveted job. Now, personally, I wanted a bigger bang at the end, I wanted to see his son go to a nice school with no misspelled words in its title, I wanted to see him out of the homeless shelter and in a big house with a nice car, but I think the message in this movie is one as writers we should take to heart. We are doing our unpaid internship, learning the business and the craft, working to build the relationships that will hopefully one day lead to our dream job becoming a reality.

Keep pursuing.

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