I asked a good friend of mine and fellow writer, Michael Gunter, if he’d be interested in doing a guest post. Below is the fruit of his labors. I also highly recommend that you take the time to check out his blog. He’s got some great stuff over there as well as a tremendous new character he’s in the process of writing a book for. Click the link. You know you want to.
Thanks to Ms. Banschbach for letting me write this guest post! Hopefully, I can keep you interested, but if not, feel free to throw tomatoes. (Preferably at her; I’ve a mental allergy to organic projectiles.)
Now, she said the post could be about anything. With that said, I think I’ll write about… wait for it… books! I know it’s a shock, but you’ll survive.
It’s quite interesting that so many people write. Operating only a little information, you might think authors are a special breed, specifically suited to laboring away over inky paper, a typewriter, or a word processor. It’s a natural enough assumption, one probably reinforced by the fact that most people really hated writing in school (those awful English assignments), detested writing those thank-you letters after Christmas, or couldn’t write a good essay for the mandatory competition in the school paper. It takes a special kind of person to enjoy that, a rare kind of person. (read both of those adjectives as ‘likely crazy’)
Well, here’s the real shocker. Most writers hate those things, too. Sure, a few of them probably enjoyed the English essays (myself, included) but it’s not necessary. Writing isn’t devoted to a specific temperament. For example, Ms. Banschbach and I are markedly different in temperament, but we have writing in common. Another thing we have in common is the type of writing we do. Exciting, overarching adventure stories are our mainstay.
Now, not every writer writes fiction. Among those who do, even those do not all write fantasy. However, all writing is similar in that it doesn’t require talent, or really great idea behind it. What all writing does require is perseverance. And you know what? Everyone has that. It really doesn’t matter if you failed miserably in English or spelling. (it’ll make it harder, sure) Anyone can write a really great story, if they’re willing to work at it. It may require more effort than anything you’ve ever done.
It may require ceaseless rewrites, multiple trips to a freelance-editor, and continued debasing comments from beta-readers. (I actually have a whole reading team devoted to nothing but sarcastic side-notes) It might require five separate ‘finished’ drafts, each one a ‘finished’ that you discovered wasn’t quite so much so. You might spend years fine tuning your manuscript and sending it to agents. But anyone can do it, if they’re willing to keep trying.
It sounds crazy, sure, but it’s true. A lot of the authors we all know and love had very little luck in getting their books accepted by publishers. ‘Gone with the Wind’? 38 rejections. Dr. Seuss’s first book? Somewhere between 25 and 40. Stephen King’s and John Grisham’s writings? About 30 times apiece. Harry Potter? Publishers rejected it 12 times and one recommended that Rowling not quit her day job.
And every one of them succeeded brilliantly. They are all vastly different people, writing completely different stories (King’s horror stories and Suess’s kids books) but each of them succeeded, probably through sheer stubbornness. (if that’s the key, I’ve got it made!)
Don’t let a lack of spelling ability prevent you from writing the next bestseller. Lacking a brilliant plot-line idea shouldn’t prevent you from pounding away on that keyboard. As Edison said; “genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” That line applies to writing just as well.