“I have a story,” the conversation usually begins, “but I don’t know how I’ll get it published.”
“Publishing can be challenging,” I’ll respond.
“I want one of the big publishing houses to pick it up,” they say with great enthusiasm.
“Well,” I’ll respond with a hopeful smile, “that is the hope of all writers. It’s no different than an actor wanting to find the perfect script, land the perfect part, and win the Oscar.” They smile and nod in agreement. “But talk to the thousands of hopeful actors still waiting tables, that doesn’t just happen. Neither does getting picked up by a big named publisher.” The smiles turn to frustrated expressions and the nods slow.
“So tell me,” I’ll continue, “What’s your story about?” They begin to describe in great detail their beloved story line, passionately describing the characters, locations, and relationships.
“How far along are you into your writing?” I’ll ask. This is when I hear the self-conscious giggle.
“I haven’t started yet.” The response to which I stop nodding and look questionably at them.
“I suggest you focus in on writing that story before you focus on getting it published.”
Publishing a book is easy compared to writing a book. But neither should ever be thought of as easy! It’s the writing, re-writing, and refining ones skills that requires time, energy, and focus. Writing is a process that, when given the chance, will organically develop into something bigger and far better then the original idea which birthed it.
The writing process is just that, a process. An idea turns into a story, characters are created out of nothing. Locations emerge from the writers imagination. Conversations that have never been spoken appear on the page. And if allowed to, sometimes the ending comes from some unforeseen place, leaving the writer as surprised as the reader will be.
As a writer, we must learn to trust the process. The same power that turned a silly idea into story and eventually into a manuscript, is the the same power that will lead an author to getting their work published.
How do I get it published? By trusting the process – which can only begin by writing the first line.