There are a lot of indicators that something is or isn’t working for an artist. It is a hard journey and there are really, in my opinion, three things you need to survive it. I like to call them my three Ps of writing.
Passion. This one may seem easy, but I think I am not speaking for myself when I say that while I feel very passionate about something as the idea is forming. I may even feel it through the first few chapters, but most times as I’m actually putting words down, I can lose that feeling. This could be a lot of things, the story moved in a direction that caused a lull, the characters need some work. Maybe I am just pushing myself too hard and need a break. Maybe I am writing the story for the wrong reasons. To me the loss of passion is a clear indicator that something is wrong with the story or me. If you don’t feel that passionate about your story it is going to be hard to pique the interest of an agent/publisher/reader. I hasten to add that we can’t always be on. At the end of the day your mental health can sap the passion out of any project.
Productivity. The work. The act of actually putting words on a page. If you have no product to send out then there is no way for you to be published. Finish things, don’t wait for that perfect moment, or for everything to line up in your mind. I learned more from finishing writing a novel than I did from any class or study on writing I have ever taken. Don’t stop at that, so you finished a book and you’re trying to get someone interested in it, write another, don’t wait, maybe that next one is the story that will be picked up. The only way we can progress as a writer is by writing. Start a journal, write a blog, do what it takes to be writing every day or at least a lot, the more you put words on a page the better you become. It needs to be a priority for you. We all have reasons and excuses as to why we didn’t or will not, but honestly the successful people are the ones who buckle down and produce. The more you do, the better you will get.
Perseverance. In my opinion, the hardest of the three. The words, "sorry", "no", "not at this time", and so forth will be constant companions in this journey to be a published author. You will at times feel you are not worthy or lack something and maybe you should just give up. DON’T. We all get this no matter what stage you are in your witting. Self-doubt is a staple of being a writer. I have said on my blog, I don’t like to think of success as a sprint, where you finish your story and try to get it out as fast as you can. Instead think of it like a marathon, where you have to train yourself up and go the distance. That “yes” we all want is out there, maybe we need to work on our skill with writing or query letters. Maybe we need to learn how to network or market better. It is possible we need to find the right person for our particular story. No matter what the case is, the moment you give up is the only time you are truly defeated.
These Ps of mine could work in a lot of areas of life. I like to use them for my writing. I hope they can help.
By Brandon Ax
Brandon Ax is the award-winning author of The Light Bringer Saga. He is an unapologetic nerd and obsessive revisor. The act of creating new worlds and interesting characters brings him great joy. He dreams of one day being as prolific as another famous Brandon … last name Sanderson, but for now he will settle with getting his next series started.