Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Do You Want to be a Writer?

How can you know if you're qualified to become a writer? Recently a person said that she didn't have a college degree so didn't think she'd ever be able to get published. A week or so ago, I saw an interview with Avi, famous children's author, and he said he struggled with symptoms of a learning disability when he was growing up. Last month I gave a little "author talk" during lunch at a local SCBWI event and someone commented that my success was because I had published so many books already.

Yet I started out just like everyone else getting years of rejections before I ever sold my first manuscript--a local newspaper article about my dad in celebration of Father's Day. And I qualify to teach writing at a local state university--not because I have a college degree because I don't--but because I am a published author. And as for struggling with a learning disability--I know of extremely successful writers who are such marvelous storytellers that they've landed high-paying writing assignments and still can't spell or use punctuation correctly.

Do you want to be a writer? Then you're qualified! I truly believe that if you have the heart to write--you can become a successful writer. Oh--it may not happen overnight. I gathered a steady stream of rejections for 5 years before I ever saw my first acceptance. You may have lots to learn--I still remember how I'd get letters back from editors telling me I had formatted my manuscript incorrectly. I had to read writing books and how-to books and attend writer's conferences and join critique groups. You may doubt your own abilities--I've shed many doubt-filled tears along the way. But you CAN be a writer. All you have to do is sit down and transform your thoughts into words on a paper. And if you're already doing that--you're already a writer!

Please note: Several people have told me lately that they have commented on this blog but their comment never gets posted. If you submit a comment and do not see it posted on this blog within 24 hours, please contact me and let me know so we can work out this issue. Thanks!


writer@marybk.com said...

I agree, Nancy. I think the reason isn't academic background but more likely is that people don't do their homework before sending material out. They don't join listservs, find out the conventions of submitting material, attend SCBWI or other meetings, research publishers, etc.--it's a long, difficult process.

Nancy I. Sanders said...

Thanks for sharing such great insight on the process. I, too, have found that those who make it their goal to connect with resources and take time to learn the craft can and do succeed.

Jean Matthew Hall said...

Very interesting post. I'm in year 5 of "becoming a writer" myself. I have a few credits and I'm still searching for the exact way God wants me to use my writing. Thanks for an interesting blog.


Nancy I. Sanders said...

Good for you for sticking in there, Jean. Five years as a writer is a solid foundation! I pray God will reveal His purposes and His plans to you as His scribe. Have you ever seen my book ANYONE CAN GET PUBLISHED, YOU CAN TOO! A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR THE CHRISTIAN WHO WRITES. Among other things, I share the journey I've gone through as God has revealed to me the manuscripts He's called me to write and get published. Perhaps it could help along your journey as well. -Nancy