“I’ll never get published.”
Rubbish! (And I’m not even mentioning computer-generated books.) Best-selling novelist Carolyn Hart lives in Oklahoma. In rural Oklahoma. She just started writing, submitting, and getting published and winning national awards, even “Malice Domestic” this year, because of her good stories, literate writing, and a strong sense of setting. Her books have graced “bestseller” lists for years – I’d say “eons,” but she wouldn’t like that term.
We can copy her dedication to the craft. We can copy the “time” dedicated to good writing, and the successful selling of – maybe not novels to start with – maybe with a newspaper column, maybe by writing book reviews for the local newspaper, maybe by going to conferences such as Killer Nashville to learn about the latest “stuff” in the publishing world, maybe by organizing our time to let our natural talent rise to the surface on our computers.
Other outlets include magazines which focus on nostalgia, health, child rearing, controversial topics (be a little careful there; I get into a bit of trouble with my blog Shastawatch), memoir, as well as a pocketful of miracles of other outlets.
If you’re a “newbie,” you can find that information in yearly-produced writer’s market books; in monthly writing magazines on every newsstand worthy of its name; in bookstores (that are still in existence!) that include a section on every aspect of writing known to man – except chiseling on a rock in the Painted Desert in the US southwest.
Once I was invited to take a drive up to the town of Three Rivers in California. The first thing I saw when we entered the small town was a candy store. As a candy fiend, I couldn’t resist. And what candy! Worthy of an article for some magazine. So, I took a couple of pictures, asked a few questions of the owner who was delighted to answer them, and shipped the story (before computers, of course) to a magazine that specialized in articles about candy. It sold. And paid. It’s plastered along with other articles over the years in that candy store’s display case.
Do I use that as an example of “being published” when other outlets ask about one’s writing “history?” You bet. It just dawns on me that the candy store didn’t “comp” me a box of the delicious candy. Hmm.
But it proves my point. There’s a story everywhere you look. Stories about animals, stories about being pregnant; stories about a savage illness; cheerful stories about successful people in our communities; stories about things “For the Soul”; stories about surviving computers when you’ve just learned to use a typewriter; stories about how to shop successfully for a new car; the list goes on.
And from short stories and longer articles can come the discipline and the realized dream you’ve had about writing that Great American Novel. So, rubbish to negative thinking! Just Write!
Chloe Winston‘s background is in banking, newspaper section editor (in old days), teaching, school administration, freelance travel writer Los Angeles Times etc., destination lecturer NCL ships.
(The Killer Nashville Guest Blog series is coordinated by KN Executive Director Beth Terrell (http://www.elizabethterrell.com/). To be a part of this series, contact Beth at firstname.lastname@example.org.)