Monday, January 27, 2014

Of Tough Love and Good Advice

I came across a blog post about bad reviews, professional irritations, and learning to let go by Dani Collins a month or so ago, and her frank, honest advice hit me in ways I needed to be hit. I bookmarked it, and reread it again today. The whole post is fantastic, and I recommend it to anyone who's been in this crazy publishing business long enough to get discouraged and need a kick in the pants. She doesn't sugarcoat things, but I prefer my advice bitter to the taste; if it's hard to swallow, it probably holds an uncomfortable truth. What stood out to me the most, both on the first reading and again tonight, is her last point for what to do if the world of publishing as gotten you down:
8. Quit
Publishing, that is. If you really enjoy writing, write. If you want to publish, accept that there will be things about this job that you can’t control. It is a job, by the way, and people get downsized every day.  [Dani Collins]
Some people may find this discouraging, but I LOVE IT. For me, it puts the business of publishing fully into perspective, as a business. I live in a world of writers, and so often we talk about writing as a passion, a compulsion, and an art form. It's all of those things, but it's also a job. I don't know anyone outside of the writing world who 100% loves their job. It's the nature of work; even if you're doing something you love, there will be aspects of it you don't. Writing is no different. There are good parts and bad parts and those differ for each person. I truly believe anyone can write, because writing in its most literal form is putting words to paper (or program). Those words don't have to be structured, sensical, or even spelled correctly to fulfill the most basic requirement of "writing." If you want to publish, however, you have a lot of work ahead of you.

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