The Quora question that caught my interest today was asked by Andy Mello. The interesting part of this question is that every author worth their grain of salt has asked the same one – Do I keep writing if I know I’ll never be food enough to get published?
Well, Andy, the answer is, YES! Whole heartedly yes. In fact, you should write every day (and probably do). From a simple email or social media post to a full fledged novel – keep writing. The only way to improve your writing is to keep at it. And even if you don’t think it is good enough, a masterful editor can help you hone your art to a science. Here are a few things I suggest.
Most novice writers think they can just sit down at the computer, write a bunch of words, and upload it to Kindle (Amazon) and be successfull. The real world learns about those authors really fast, and they are rewarded with low sales and poor reviews of their work. I’ve seen it, and I have rewarded those writers accordingly. Poor editing, poor execution, logic holes, plot holes, etc. You need to make sure your writing is tight, and that comes not after the first, second, or third draft, but after many drafts of writing the same work. There are tricks to it, and you should learn them.
I remember reader On Writing by Stephen King. He was kind enough to show a excerpt from the first draft of his novel, 1408. It was horrible. But it was a first draft. The end result after rewrites and editing are night and day. It went from unreadable goop to one of his premier works. This is what you need to focus on when writing. the work you have put forth is just that, the unrefined metal of your life’s work. Raw. Powerful. Still in need of the finishing touch. But well worth the effort.
As a publisher, I reject submissions continually. Some authors thing their first draft is enough to get them threw. I’m here to tell you it is not. The best authors out there hammer 5-10 drafts of their novel before it is sent to an editor. And even then, the editing is difficult. I know, it’s what I do.
Find a writers’ community and join. Seek out other authors who are willing to swap critiques with you. Work with them to tune up your manuscript. Get it polished before sending it to an publisher (if you are going that way). You’ll need to start with a small press and work your way up to a major publisher (if that is the way you want to go). A major publisher may give you an advance, but a small press will usually give you better royalties.
Sorry, getting ahead of myself here.
Should you keep writing? Yes. Keep writing. You never know when you’ll write another work like the Thomas Covenant Series, or Lord of the Rings. It can happen, just ask Andy Weir, the writer of The Martian (a very well written piece of fiction). He initially started it as a blog story with little editing. Once the work was finished, he could not believe the number of readers he touched. It was picked up by a major publisher and then turned into a motion picture. That’s how it started for him.
Generally, what I am saying is, you should keep writing. You never know if it will become something viable for distribution and an income, but at least you will not be wondering, “What if…”