I received a question today from a student at my old college, a girl who is interested in becoming a writer. I thought I would repost my answer to her questions, concerned as she was with the challenges of writing, and how I became published.
First, some things to keep in mind:
1. You must love it. You must love this writing gig so much that it doesn’t matter if you get rejected again and again and again—because rejection will just mean that you’re working at your dream, and (hopefully) it will be a badge of honor on the way to acceptance and publication—which is not the end of the journey, but just a stepping stone along the way in terms of a long, fruitful, career in this business.
2. Have a back-up plan. You’ll need to pay the bills while you write. Think about getting a degree in a field where you can make some decent money. I’m a lawyer, which is security.
3. Read and write. Repeat. Again and again.
As for the challenges of writing, I could give you a long list of everything that is hard and wonderful and difficult about what I do, but I’m not entirely certain how useful that would be to you. Every one faces a different set of challenges as a writer; and, quite frankly, if you are going to be deterred by the possible challenges and give up writing because of them, then you really don’t want this enough, and should find something else to do—because any job will be easier, and likely make you more money, than this.
As for how I became a published writer…as for how anyone becomes published…it really is just as simple as writing that first book/poem/short story/article. You write, you finish what you write, you revise what you write, you know your market, and you actually submit. There’s no magic formula, just hard work.
This frightens me: Police sources told CNN over the weekend that they had a list of 1,500 lawyers and political activists who were to be arrested…Under the emergency measures, newspapers and broadcasters are forbidden from expressing opinions prejudicial to “the ideology of Pakistan or integrity of Pakistan.” In addition, they are restricted from covering suicide bombings and militant activity and could face a three-year jail term if they “ridicule” members of the government or armed forces.
Screenwriters are on strike! Poor shows, poor writers, poor Hollywood. But I saw this on my F-list, and it’s cool – an interview with screenwriter, Phil Klemmer, who talks about how he got into the Hollywood gig, and what it’s like in the biz:
Television all sort of plays out like a card game, where everybody’s got insufficient information, and you’re all sort of slapping cards on the table trying to, like, map out your professional life, and it’s really f****d up and insane, with some awful moments.
I, like a lot of romance fans, am simply obsessed with British history, and in the 19th century, India was a HUGE part of British life: highly visible in its popular culture, and intricately involved in its social and political and economic affairs. Going to India was not an exotic undertaking; it was a viable career option for many, many people. In fact, I would speculate that India didn’t feel nearly as “far away” to Victorians as it does to many Brits today. I remain puzzled as to why historical romance has such a blind spot to British life in India back then.
Bizarre, but funny. Though from what I remember of the panda cage in Beijing, it should have been impossible for this dude to get in.