“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” —Ernest Hemingway
There is no easy path to getting published. It’s a simple truth. Every single one is littered with stones to trip the unwary, blind corners and snags. There are too many forks in the road to count and each one promises to be the answer.
It is easy to become so overwhelmed we are unable to move forward or we simply give up because it seems too difficult. What is the point? Why should I continue to spend hours in front of my computer trying to put words around what I see in my minds eye? It can be very tempting to walk away. Who wants to be published anyway?
Yet, that quiet voice in our mind continues to entice with another story and we find ourselves starting to pay attention. There is simple joy in writing the perfect description, snappy dialogue and in having characters jump off the page and demand attention. We wrestle with writer’s block, sagging middles and protagonists refusing to do what we want them to do. It is glorious and frustrating and mixed in with all of it is our wish to know our work is being read and enjoyed by others.
If we are lucky we have a great critique group or partner to help us flesh out our story and make it shine. Heck, maybe enter it in a contest or two to see how well you did and then use the comments to polish it more. Definitely submit to agents and editors in the hopes someone will love what you have written as much as you do. And learn. Learn from every critique, every painful rejection and fellow writer sharing their path to getting published.
Difficult though it may be, we need to keep moving forward. We need to know when to let go of a beloved story and move on to the next. We need to always find ways to grow as a writer, to hone our craft, to keep submitting our work in the hopes of publication.
For me, being published is the realization of a dream, but the truth I discovered during this incredible journey is I will always be a writer whether I am published or not.
It is non-negotiable.