Posts Tagged ‘rejection’
You might remember from my When It’s OK to Use Cliches in Your Writing: Hidden Metaphors – Poison’s Bret Michaels Style post that I am all for clichés that work. That post will be followed up with more working clichés (especially in fiction). But this article is dedicated to classic writing tips.
There are more than 6 of course, but today I’m tackling these 6 popular ones.
- Write about what you know
Not everything you know might be fun or lucrative to write about, but I bet some of your vast knowledge is fun, lucrative or both.
Writing about movies, TV shows and music is incredibly entertaining for me. In addition to running an entertaining blog, I got my first assignments on these subjects too.
Then there is the fact that your internal entertainment trivia database can help in finding many fun references and making your points come across in a more remarkable way. Copyblogger does it. Carol Tice does it. It works, and it comes and flows naturally.
It also fits my category Fictional Writers where I cover writers from movies and TV shows. You might want to start with my latest in that category: The Following: When Both The Protagonist and Antagonist Are Writers.
Other areas where I wrote what I knew and sold articles include traveling, business, freelancing, writing and social media.
- You don’t have to be an expert to write about a topic.
You just have to know better than the audience you are targeting. Just like you don’t have to play the guitar like Slash to be able to teach a beginner, you don’t need to be light years ahead from the readers of the market you are targeting.
If this weren’t so, our publishing possibilities and writing income would shrink considerably.
That being said, I wouldn’t mind being an expert writer who could write a bestselling book on my expertise area. There is a reason so many books written by professionals turn out to be great reads. Nope, not all of them are ghost written.
- Write what you don’t know.
Time comes when the alternative gets so popular that it feels weird to call it alternative. Raise your hand if you think Radiohead no longer belongs to the alternative rock bands category.
Just like its counterpart, this is a practical and lucrative tip. Especially if these new areas you’re discovering have anything to do with finance and technology.
You know how to research. You can educate yourself about new areas and end up finding a lot of “what you know” and hopefully “what you love” in the process. My new obsession ares are microexpressions in psychology and neuropsychiatry.
- Write about what you love
I quit my full-time job because a)it wasn’t related to writing b)I hated it.
Now, while I am absolutely addicted to writing, I have no interest in writing about things that I don’t care about, or at least find interesting.
This blog is based on this idea. Writing only about what you love (granted it also depends on which areas you love) might take a longer time when bringing home the big bucks. So you have been warned.
But I found the perfect balance by supporting my writing income with part time teaching. Teaching helps me with being more social (as opposed to the solitariness of writing) and prevents me from taking jobs that don’t excite me. Win-win. Oh, and it also worked as an article idea.
- Make yourself familiar with the publication
In other words, research the publication like mad. While it won’t guarantee being published, it is one of your strongest weapons to increase the odds in your favor. Team it up with a great idea, an exciting query and you are good to go.
- Everyone gets rejected.
You’ll get rejected. It sucks, but after a little practice (and some published articles/stories), you’ll learn to shake it off (in a shorter time).
Sure, there might be a writer out there who never gets rejected. But then it is possibly a writer who is not really working. At least not for others.
Even if you’ve eliminated the query process and ensured that clients come and find you, there is a chance not all your ideas won’t knock your clients’ socks off. Statistically speaking.
So yes. I know you heard it before. It’s not personal, and it can be due to a variety of reasons. It is however almost never about your writing skills. It might be about the idea, or how you structured that particular article.
If there is constructive feedback, take it, thank for it, revise and re-slant for another. Yes, there are other reasons but usually the fix is the same: get to the source of the problem (if it is writing skills, that can be improved too), take care of it and don’t let the idea go to waste.
Most ideas can be salvaged through brainstorming, improving and recycling.
So what cliché writing tips work for you? Do you have any favorites?
Writing can be a very lucrative and self-fulfilling career, but it hardly ever starts that way for anyone. You might love writing. You might be good at it. But unfortunately you need a couple of more qualities to start your writing career and accomplish your goals as a writer. Below are the 7 essential characteristics freelance writers need to possess:
I’m one of the most impatient people you can ever meet. I get bored very easily and I can’t wait for anything or anyone without doing something useful and/or fun on the side. And yet, I chose freelance writing as a career.
Now, I love writing. I am addicted even. So the girl who can’t even stand to wait for a couple of minutes chose a line of work where response times range from weeks to months, editors don’t necessarily write back, and you are required to spend countless hours researching, marketing, networking, writing, re-writing, editing and more re-writing.
Yet, I can handle it. After all, it is about knowing what’s at stake and jumping to it accordingly. It is not a walk in the park most of the time, but it is still worth it for me. How about you?
The editors may not receive your e-mails, or they may not feel inclined to respond, even with a standardized rejection reply. Yes, they are incredibly busy but so are you. While they have to read millions of queries and make decisions, you are a one-person company. So if the guidelines say follow-up, follow-up. If there is still no response, follow-up for the second and final time. Just remember not to leave your bedside manners, even if you get nothing in return for a carefully crafted, perfectly relevant query. After all, you need a good reputation. And there is the fact that you probably submitted that query because you liked the publication. So you might want to pitch again.
The idea is to keep it polite and professional. If you think this sucks, please read the first must-have freelance writer characteristic on this list again.
You will get rejected. Every writer does, even the ones who turned into international bestsellers. So never take it personally. Make sure you work constantly to improve yourself, and keep submitting your work elsewhere.
P.S. When the going gets tough, just remember John Grisham’s first novel is A Time to Kill. He published The Firm first, because A Time to Kill was rejected everywhere. And after The Firm, everyone was after A Time to Kill, which also became a bestseller.
And you need to have fun. You need to be capable of fun, even when you want to slap someone or cry. You are writing because you love the craft. There is no reason to keep doing it if you are feeling miserable all the time.
You don’t need to be obsessive, but you do need to keep track of every idea, bill, manuscript, article and everything else that is related to your writing. You also know what to find and where. There is a great blog for writers that concentrates on the organization side of things. Check out OrganizedWriter.com for tips and resources.
You might be the type to start a project at the latest minute possible. I know I am- for the most part. But you need to make sure you keep the deadline and make sure your final draft meets every requirement, and is a good read.
You are your own boss, so you better be an understanding slave driver. Notice the oxymoron there? But it is true. You need to work really hard to make it as a writer. But of course you have the flexibility to choose your hours; as well as where, when and how you work. As long as you put in the necessary work, there is no reason you can’t enjoy the freedom.
Intimidated? Don’t be. You just might realize your personality and mind can work in mysterious ways to help you realize your dreams.
Writers are constantly exposed to a form of rejection. Well, no one likes to be rejected in any area, but we writers need to face the music more often than others. We apply to a lot of writing gigs both online and offline, try to get our stories/novels published, and/ or get our scripts read by producers/agents. And it doesn’t always matter whether we targeted the right market or abided by the guidelines. It doesn’t always make a difference that our writing is good, or the query letters rocked. John Grisham got rejected. J.K. Rowling got rejected. Do I really need to give more examples?
And having been writing full time since late 2009, I can say that I am pretty much at the start of the rejection cycle. Because although I have been writing since I was basically a preteen, I had never sent my writing to anyone besides my friends. I loved being read and I enjoyed a loyal following that loved what story I would come up with next.
But we all grew up and our lives became much more hectic than just going to school, socializing or dating. We were distracted by our career and family plans. That’s when I finally decided that I was not satisfied with writing just for me and my friends. I also wasn’t going to settle for some job I didn’t want because the economy sucked. It was time to follow my. So I dove straight into heavy research. I studied how magazine queries were made, how articles were formatted. I read about how you could sell your screenplays even if you lived a world away from Hollywood.
I read about blogging and writing, and applied what I learned. In addition to running several blogs, I got some decent gigs and continue to have them. I also keep getting rejected. Here is what I’ve learned so far:
1) Obviously, your samples won’t impress everyone. For many jobs, you will be either be overqualified or under-qualified. If you are overqualified, the job is highly unlikely to satisfy you.
2) With some gigs, you’ll have been 10 minutes/2 days/50 applicants too late to have applied.
4) You will be rejected, even if you avoided every rookie mistake you were supposed to avoid.
5) Many editors will not reply at all.
6) Some editors will just reply “No, Thanks”, only after you followed up twice.
7) It is be frustrating, but the acceptance e-mail and the check are all worth it. Yes, I am assuming the check is decent.
8) You constantly have to work on writing better, marketing and networking. And you need to keep querying.
A writer friend of mine recently mentioned that he hated the rejection letters that said that he was a good writer, the story was good but they were just not interested. I hate the letters that don’t come at all, or come very late. I have a whole article about it.
While obviously the news (of rejection) stinks, it at least enables you to move on, and learn. So try not to let it get you down so much. I once read somewhere that the more rejection letters you have in your drawer, the closer you are to being published. And then the author of the article had gone on to list the number of rejection letters famous authors got before they got lucky. The list is quite impressive.
Proof? John Grisham’s first novel is A Time to Kill. His first published worked however is The Firm. A Time to Kill got published after The Firm. Same guy, same style, same quality, both bestsellers. One just happened to be misjudged.
So the ultimate lesson is to hang in there. Your turn will come too, whether it is getting constant magazine gigs, or getting your fiction out there. You are just going to get rejected a lot in the process.