There are two main reasons I started this blog. First was to keep myself motivated, to ensure I didn't chicken out on my journey or say, 'I can't do it, it's hopeless.' The second reason was to post resources or helpful information to other aspiring writers. Encourage them as well as myself. So far, I haven't posted a lot of information. There's a few links I put in the sidebar, but mostly, I haven't found any writer's insight that I thought, 'OMG I have to blog this!' There's been a few articles I retweeted, but it wasn't until today that I felt I had some insight worthy of blogging.
There's a number of authors and writer advice sites I follow on twitter. Every day I look through, click links that interest me, read through articles in hopes of finding something useful. I usually do find something helpful. Whether it be an article on grammar or general writing advice, there's always something. Today, though, there was an article that put a knot of dread in my stomach. The article talked about tips for writing a query letter or cover letter and once sentence in particular stuck fear into my little, writer's heart. It was utterly demotivating.
I quote: 'The biography in your cover or query letter should be good—and while this article stresses the importance of having strong publication credits, it’s not unheard of that a writer with no experience at all will gain national attention'
Now while the first part is true and the whole article had good tips. It was the second part that made me deflate. The way it was worded made it sound like if you're a writer with NO experience you have a slim to none chance because agents and editors really only care about queries by a writer with a degree or an arm's lengths list of publication credits. (Later in the article it stated not to worry, every writer starts out with no publishing credits. Even then the tone sounded patronizing, like the person writing that article is laughing at all us inexperienced and uneducated writers.) And maybe there are people who believe that. That's their prerogative.
After reading the article, I felt quite discouraged, a glimmer of doubt and worry wiggling into my mind. Then I remembered another article I read the other day and the doubt and worry was quickly defeated when I pulled it up and reread it. The article basically said that every bit of advice out there a writer should take with a grain of salt. Advice can be right and wrong at the same time. It depends on the individual. What works for me may not work for you.
That's what made me feel better, reminding me that the previous article was just advice, one person's suggestion on how to approach agents and it may not be the best approach for me. I need to find my own way to write my story or approach an agent or hook an editor. It's up to me to slog through all the advice, experiment with each suggestion and find out what works for me. Same for you. All you can do is try it, see how it works. If it does, hooray! You've found a great way to improve your writing. If not, don't sweat it, move onto the next bit of advice. Never give up, keep trying, keep experimenting and one day you'll find the perfect equation for you. That's my advice for you.
The articles mentioned in today's blog:
Write and wrong
Query letter and cover letter tips