“Own your vision. Be unrelenting in its creation. Control the nuance while allowing for malleability.” – Bucho Rodenberger
This morning I got fired up (Lately, I’ve been feeling on fire) when I read these words. A quote from a colleague of mine, a fellow writer who, like me, chips away at his craft daily with fervor and passion and perseverance because to create is to persevere. And sometimes it becomes tiresome, and doubt creeps in as compensation and praise are not instantaneous (you don’t write for your ego, you write because you must), and in those times it is easy to curl into a ball, turn on some sort of distraction, and wallow. BUT – we must be unrelenting.
I love this.
After the PNWA Writer’s Conference at the end of July, I went into wallow-mode. Not because the conference wasn’t fruitful – it was – but because there is still so much work to be done, and my expectations shifted.
I learned about the business of publishing. I was daunted as most of the conference’s workshops were geared toward self-publishing, not traditional (Most authors, I learned, are self-published). And I’m not ruling out self-publishing. Especially after learning that publishing houses don’t have the budget that they used to, and that they are frugal with that budget, saving it for established authors, rarely taking a chance on a debut author. And if they do take a chance on a debut author, the odds that the book will be a literary novel is slim. The houses want genre novels, genres they know will sell.
In a nutshell (pardon the cliché), publishing houses are wary of risk. And that’s understandable. But I’m a risk-taker.
Traditional publishing is my first choice. And only once I have been rejected, rejected by every single agent and editor in the business (I’ll take a page out of JK Rowling’s book on that one), will I consider next steps. Next steps being self-publishing.
So…this will take patience. Traditional publishing is all about patience. Waiting to find an agent who believes in my work, wading through their revision notes, implementing those notes, and then waiting as editors read. And if I’m lucky enough to get an editor, then taking their revision notes and implementing those. This is where part of that quote resonates – control the nuance while allowing for malleability.
Writers must be malleable. But we also need to own our visions. Which is why I was in wallow-mode. I have another draft before my novel is ready, a draft where I own my vision, where my intention is like a laser so that when I do get those revision notes (because I will – no way around that), an agent will be able to hone the manuscript and make it better alongside of me instead of changing it completely.
I must be clear.
So the conference forced me to think like a businesswoman, and not just a creative. It forced me to define my novel further than Upmarket Women’s Fiction. This is too broad of a genre. I have a literary novel. So I must shape it as such.
This is what I know – damn the odds. This is my personality – taking on the highest risk of rejection and saying, “Watch me now.”
Well, watch me now. I will be published. I am a debut author. And I have written a literary novel. And I say this with pride.
And when this next draft is finished, I will begin book two. Because it could take a year or more before this book will even be looked at closely. So in the meantime, while I wait, I write.