Monday, July 5, 2010

Don't Wait for Success

One of the most valuable things I learned last week at the Paris Writers' Workshop (aside from tips on how to score an apartment rental in Paris for 200 Euros a week) is to not wait for success.

I have finished a memoir and am ready to look for an agent. But my instructor advised me to start on my next project in the meantime. This advice was also echoed by a group of first-time novelists. Most said it took them up to a year and querying 100 agents to find the one to represent their project. Working on another project in the meantime supposedly keeps you sane. The advice to start on my next project was also spoken indirectly by an agent I met, who wasn't interested in memoir at the moment, but asked me if I had a novel.

Sadly, I don't have a novel right now. But give me a year and maybe I will. Thanks to the workshop, I'm inspired to start my next project while trying to sell my current one.

What valuable piece of writing advice have you received?

57 comments:

  1. Aside from echoing Nike's "just do it" I always thank the writer who told me to invest in my writing. To spend the money to go to workshops and conferences, to splurge on the dinner or coffee with a writing group. Not necessarily for networking toward publication but just to have people to talk with who know where you are and where you've been. Every time I feel a little burnt out I look around for something to invest in and it works like a charm, I'm back to writing with enthusiasm in no time!

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  2. Wait! I want to know more about the 200 Euro apartment.

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  3. From Jane Hamilton-- enjoy the process of writing. Don't worry about timelines, agents, fulfilling your own expectations. Just write, and enjoy the process of it. What great advice from a wonderful writer :)

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  4. That's great advice, everyone, thanks for sharing. I agree that if you want to take your writing seriously, you do need to invest both time and money in the process.

    Kathy, I'll do a special post on great places for writers on a budget :-)

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  5. Absolutely! Get started! The thing I am most looking forward to when I finish my current novel is...starting the next one!

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  6. Great post, and I also like what Beth, the first person who responded to the post, had to say. I was a little wary about spending money to attend the ASJA conference here in NYC this past April, but I decided to go for it, to invest in myself, and I not only connected with an editor who I'm now writing for, but I also got inspired to spend more time working on my fiction projects.

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  7. Great advice. That is absolutely correct.

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