What’s the Hardest Part of Writing?
I guess most people would talk about “writer’s block” but I’ve already spoken about that phenomenon and it’s not the hard part of writing at all. To me, that’s just part of the process of writing.
For me, the hardest part of writing has nothing to do with writing.
It’s like anything else – I’m sure there are highs and lows to being a doctor or teacher or a painter or whatever profession we may be talking about, but if you love what you do, you’ll accept those parts of the process that feel heavier at times than the parts that are light and somewhat easier. So, writer’s block is just a heavier part of the process. Struggling to finish a chapter or connect the dots between characters, just part of the job.
The hardest part of writing is what happens AFTER you finish your masterpiece. And this goes for all types of art – whatever it may be – whether a piece of writing, or something you’ve sculpted, painted, music or even mastering your acting skills – all of it, unless you’re planning on keeping it to yourself and just sharing it with family, has to become a business. The hardest part for me was NOT being aware of what to do AFTER I’d written my manuscript. I had no idea where to start, what to do – and so I did what many people do and started submitting my unsolicited work randomly to publishing houses hoping someone would read my “brilliant” writing and just have to publish it.
That didn’t happen.
After being thoroughly disappointed by continuous rejection letters, or worse, no response at all, I shelved my manuscript for a couple of years. Of course, then naturally I started to believe it was a horrible piece of writing and a stupid idea. No matter how strong of a person you are – and no matter how many times people tell you NOT to pay attention to criticism, we’re all only human. It grates on you. Multiple rejection letters and terrible pieces of advice from strangers who clearly had NOT read my book – did a number on my confidence. It was not a great time for me as a writer. Self-confidence is a thing as an artist.
So, my advice to anyone writing their first novel or script or poetry – START to think of your creativity today as a business. I know it’s sometimes hard to find the time to write, but if you’re committed to your work, please also take the time –even if it’s just a few minutes a week to researching the “Business” end of your industry. It took me so long to figure it out and even NOW I’m still learning some of the tricks to the trade.
Here is some basic information to start you thinking about your creativity (whatever it is) as a business:
- Join LinkedIn (yes, even if you’re a writer, or actor or sculpture or whatever). I was never a big fan, but now it’s become the best place to connect with like-minded individuals. Here’s why it’s great: People in all types of businesses post their successes and failures and ideas and suggestions and it’s just another avenue to learn. Here’s my link if you want to add me: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carmensbusiness/
- Join BlogHops. I never knew what this was until Author Raimey Gallant saw one of my blog posts and invited me to join! This #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop is a great resource on so many levels! But there are many “Blog Hops” and if you don’t know what they are – because I surely didn’t – then do a quick google search and get on board. It’s an easy way to connect with the community and share your thoughts and ideas as well as learn so much about the writing world as well! (BlogHops can be for other topics as well…)
- This piece of advice is mostly for my script and actor friends, but I bet it also applies to really anything at all: know who the entertainment lawyers are for your industry. And if you can pay a retainer, or sign with a lawyer on a percentage basis, know that pitching your script is something a lawyer can help you do. Yes, everything is about money, so it might be harder if you can’t afford to hire a lawyer. But I learned THIS YEAR that studios, including places like Netflix and Amazon studios will be more likely to hear a pitch from a lawyer than someone who is sending out their ideas “unsolicited”. My book has been pitched to a production company for a possible deal with Netflix – NOTHING HAS COME OF IT YET and in this town that really means NOTHING. But, it would have never even gotten to this point – a legit hearing – if I hadn’t had a contact from a “legit” source.
- Go to places that support writers (or whatever your craft may be). Seek out organizations that have other ways to network and grow. For example, here in Los Angeles there is a great organization called Writer’s Blok. It was much cheaper when I first joined back in the day and I can’t lie, I think the monthly costs are a little high nowadays – but if you join their mailing lists, they do have some free sessions and free events once in a while. The point is this is another great way to network. I prefer NOT to write with other people – but I can’t lie, when I found this group and decided to try it, I took my manuscript off the shelf and finally found a way to get it published! It was a great place to figure out what was next. Wherever you are on the globe, there might be a place in your neighborhood that has this type of organization. I found this by going on MeetUp and just searching for “writers” within my neighborhood. Best thing I ever did for my book! And my confidence!
There is so much more I could list. But I just wanted to get the idea in your head that the hardest part of writing isn’t always about the writing. It’s about realizing that in order to get your creativity SEEN, READ, HEARD – that you’re also going to have to wrap your head around it being a business!
There are so many people who write about self-publishing and/or how to get an agent and such – so I wanted to offer some other, less talked about ideas.
My hope is that this has you at least thinking about the business end of things… I hope this was helpful.
‘til next time,