Sometimes taking on too much means a writer must cut down somehow without the feeling of selling one’s self short. I know this myself. I have too many ideas of what I can write. The answer is in decision, as much as possible…To make a decision. How? It will come…
You’ll just know, it will become clear. The how’s, the when’s. The why’s. It will all fit in place. You’ve even made the decision before, you know, with those other ideas ten years ago. The new ideas will be used or discarded in much the same way. I speak to myself.
People started calling me a writer and identified me as a writer, but I do not like to be called a writer. I am uncomfortable with the designation. Because I am a person, not a writer. I do not even like to say I write things. There is something, well, official about the title, and formal, but I am not royalty and I don’t want to be put on a pedestal, and labelled as “writer 123”. I hold no pride in the title “writer”. When I realized this more I thought about changing the title of this blog to “Mr. Invisible’s Shanty Town” or something like that, which I may do. This blog has all the writerly bits and bobs like a category called “writers life” but I’d sooner be more inconspicuous now. If I happen to use writerly categories, they are convenient ways of connecting with readers. All I am is me.
For the last twenty-five years I’ve been published in the “smallies”, the newspapers, the magazines, the journals, the websites, you get the picture, but I’ve been also greedy for the book deal, the “biggie”. I went into writing the book not thinking too much about the ins and outs of publishing, but I’ve learnt from experience as you’d say. It was phase one of learning about submitting to book publishers; yes, I got rejection slips. I learnt that when the publisher rejects one’s work, or most times the publisher rejects your work, they are most likely right, to the degree that they think the work isn’t the right fit, more or less, or they have better work than yours. I’ve accepted this reality and don’t really mind. Even if I’ve done my research on the publisher, there’s the possibility my work will be rejected. Don’t worry about it, I say. Life is bigger than that. It doesn’t really matter. But I will try, in not an ideal world, to exhaust the possibilities, if the book deal is still something I want, after realizing a thing or two about publishing.
Authors must face publishing reality. What ever that publishing reality is. Years ago, I ploughed headlong into my fiction thinking it would get published someday. But when I got rejection slips saying my fiction didn’t fit their publishing needs, I withered a bit, and learnt that I just can’t go in there and get my work published. If I want to get published with a certain publisher, it’s about knowing them very well, and catering the work to their publishing needs. This is the publishing reality I am talking about. It may even entail me reading what other authors have done with that publisher. It’s no easy path to getting the book deal. This may seem obvious, but to know it, rather than sense it, are two different things.
A piece of mine was published Monday at the Upper Room, after I submitted it two years ago. Well worth the wait, to see it up, and the reaction.