Hellooooo! It feels so good to be back from my blog hiatus (although I’m now posting every OTHER Thursday) … and I’m swinging into full gear with a special guest post today.
Jessica McCann is a new author who just launched her first historical fiction novel a year ago, All Different Kinds of Free. Personally, it’s on my bookshelf and I CAN’T WAIT to read it, as Jessica’s book has received raving reviews so far.
But today, she was kind enough to share some insights on reaching success as a writer and author. Not to mention, we live in the same city (Phoenix, Ariz.), so I was pumped to have Jessica write a post for Rogue Writer.
Is Your Writing Ready to Take on the World?
Writing is a lot like parenting. It’s hard to know when it’s time to let go. It doesn’t matter if the writing is a magazine article query or a novel manuscript, it can be difficult to send it out into the big, bad world alone.
How do know if you’ve done all you can? How do you know if it’s ready? The short answer is, you never know for sure. That unknown can be intimidating, and it holds many people back. It locks them into the “I want to be a writer” mindset rather than letting them move into the “I am a writer” mindset.
If you’ve provided your writing offspring with unconditional love, a balanced education, steady discipline and a chance to mature, then it’s time to stare down the fear and let it go.
It all begins with this, in my experience. You must love your writing, warts and all, if it is to ever thrive and be loved by others. Don’t hold back. Write your passions. Let your first drafts flow unbridled. Consider reading Wild Mind: Living The Writer’s Life by Natalie Goldberg, one of my favorite tomes on being a writer, for encouragement and inspiration.
Does your writing have a balanced education? Know your subject matter inside and out, whether it’s gardening, personal finance or the hometown of your fictional characters. Do your homework, and infuse your writing with facts. Authenticity shines in both fiction and nonfiction.
Make your writing behave through firm, consistent editing. Introduce it to William Strunk and E.B. White’s The Elements of Style. This slim book is loaded with writing and editing gems. Among my favorites? “Avoid qualifiers (rather, very, little). They are leeches that infest the pond of prose, sucking the blood of words.” Nice.
Give your writing a chance to mature. Once I’ve researched, composed and revised, I let my writing let sit for at least a day or two, longer when possible. I let it age. Coming back to it with fresh eyes helps me assess whether it’s ready to leave the nest.
Ok, so you’ve loved and nurtured your work. You’ve learned and grown and matured right along with it. Now it’s time to let go. Like parenting, it can be scary as hell sometimes, but you’ve got to have faith. No one can soar without taking a leap.
Are you ready to let go?
If not, what do you think is holding you back?
Jessica McCann, a professional freelance writer and novelist, lives with her family in Phoenix, Ariz. Her nonfiction work has been published in Business Week, The Writer and Phoenix magazines, among others. All Different Kinds of Free (http://www.AllDifferentKindsOfFree.com) is her award-winning debut novel. She welcomes interaction with readers and writers at her website (http://www.jessicamccann.com) and on Twitter (@JMcCannWriter).