Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wednesday's Writing on Writing...

Check back here every Wednesday for a few thoughts on the craft. Here are today's:

The Subjective Writing Game
As you progress along your writing path you will eventually find dissonance – conflict among the so-called experts on how or why to do or not do something. Don’t be put off. Take it as yet another indication that aside from the Word of God and common sense, little in this life is absolute.

My son and I are in the film business, and if there’s anything Dallas and I have learned while trying to steer Jenkins Entertainment through Hollywood’s choppy seas, it’s that nobody knows anything.

Everyone tries to say they knew what picture would be best of the year or which would be a stinker and why. But the same people who produce a classic will follow with something abysmal.

So when I tell you that I don’t recommend self-publishing except in rare circumstances and that I never recommend subsidy publishing, and yet you are compelled to do one or the other, do it.

The purpose of the Christian Writers Guild ( is to take would-be writers past the hobby stage, past dipping your toe in literary waters.

We exist for the serious student, the writer who wants to be legitimately published, to compete in the marketplace of ideas, to sell his or her work rather than pay to have it published.

And yet for my father’s poetry, I self-published.

For the story of my wife’s 100-year-old grandmother, I self-published.

I didn’t fool myself that this was legitimate publishing or in any way connected to my career. The fact is that only family and close friends were interested in these books, and it meant enough to all of us to honor the subjects by having the books made available.

If there is a reason to self-publish, do it. Just don’t associate it with success in your writing career.

Some writing coaches challenge their students to see who can rack up the most rejection slips in three months. I’m sure the motive was to get them interacting in the marketplace, trying to sell their stuff. But I hope no CWG mentor ever suggests that method. Our goal is to teach you to
avoid rejection slips.

Learn to write great queries and proposals.

Write articles based on meaty interaction between you and an editor, and see how many sales you can rack up. Leave the collection of rejection slips to the hobbyists and you’ll be on your way to becoming a real professional.

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