Wednesday, December 7, 2011

RTW: How Far?

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic. I currently can't get the icon to show up correctly, so you can go HERE.

This week's Road Trip Wednesday asks How far would you go to get published? and offers the following examples:

1. Jumping on the trend train
2. Switching to a well-selling genre
3. Minor revisions requested to sign with an agent
4. Major revisions requested by an editor

I could never see myself doing #1 or #2. It’s the same reason I don’t wear skinny jeans: I know what works for me, and I know that if I don’t stay true to it I’ll be unhappy, uncomfortable, foolish-looking, and seriously worried about my circulation. Besides, publishing takes an eternity and trends can change in an instant, so chasing what’s hot could easily come to nothing, or even backfire. Why would I gamble on something that I don’t really want to write in the first place?

In most cases, however, I would definitely embrace #3 or #4. I’m a believer in extensive (some would say excessive) revision, and I figure I’ll be even more motivated when it’s based on specific feedback from someone who wants to make me better and who knows what it will take. So if it’s simply a question of hard work and time, I’m all in for minor or major revisions, especially at this point in my writing when I know I have so much to learn. The only reason I would turn them down is if the revisions seemed too focused on selling rather than improving the narrative. Of course, there’s a lot of potential gray area there. (Is my agent suggesting more kissing scenes/love triangle drama because that’s what sells to teen girls, or because that’s what my story needs but I’m too pathologically averse to writing romance to realize it?) Hopefully I’ll be able to find a healthy balance where I trust my agent, my editor, myself, and my story enough to make the right choices. 

But honestly it’s going to be a while before I even need to consider these publication-related conundrums, so right now I’m thinking about a different version of “How far will you go to get published.” As in, how long can I be unpublished and still treat writing as a career (meaning only working a few hours a week at another job and therefore being financially dependent on my husband) before I’m overwhelmed by guilt/debt/the desire for nice things (a house). And if I do get a full-time job, how much sleep/sanity/hobbies/relationships will I be willing to sacrifice to still making writing a priority? 

Obviously I hope I'll go all the way, and right now I feel totally energized and determined enough to do it. But I know that years of revision and rejection can take a toll. Fortunately I also know (errr, read about / stalk on the internet) plenty of authors who faced years of rejection but just kept going and eventually found incredible success.

I'm sure most of you have seen this video, but it's the best way I can think to conclude this post, and it bears repeating a gazillion times anyway. Never give up! 


  1. I hadn't seen the video and I loved it! Thanks for sharing.

    If you want to write badly enough, you will. I've been at it a loooong time and sometimes I lose faith but I usually/always come back to it. I have to. :)

  2. Definitely ride that energy wave! And imagining myself in skinny jeans makes me recoil in horror. I think pajama jeans are more my speed. ;)

  3. Loved your reference to skinny jeans (they also don´t work for me, I am more of a bootcut type of girl :-))

    I think if you´ve already taken the step to concentrate a lot of time to your writing, you probably will continue even if it takes longer than you first believed to get published.

    Crossing my fingers for you!

  4. Thanks for stopping by everyone. I'm glad we can agree on our commitment/addiction to writing and a healthy dislike of skinny jeans. :-)