When I was younger, I used to think that 25 was the deadline for a lot of things. One of the most important, though, was the deadline to be a published writer. I read somewhere that “all the greats” were published before the age of 25. In this society where the value of a book deal if you aren’t Nicholas Sparks, James Patterson, that woman who always uses a number in her titles, or one of the few big sensations in young adult fiction, being able to live as a writer who does nothing else seems a far fetched dream. With the age restriction, it seems I’ve missed my moment.
I used to think that 25 was just an arbitrary number for a time to get things done, but now I see the logic. It would take you until about then to finish undergrad and get your MFA, with a full year or so to get published thereafter. Up until then, you are supposed to have enough time to experience life, yet not enough time to become set in your ways, as your life is still in transition. There are still a few things in life you haven’t seen yet, a few things to experience with another person. So 25 became glorified in my mind as the perfect time to start cementing things like my writing career, who I’d spend the rest of my life with, what my ultimate goals in life were. Since this post is about writing, let’s stick to that.
Technically, I didn’t have to worry about the cut off point for being a published author. I was published in elementary school…and middle school…and high school. I’ve been awarded more times than I can count, asked to write something to say more times than I can count. But I haven’t been in a national publication, despite having a recognized talent. Now, past the magical age of 25, I don’t have the concentrated time to write, even though I am unmarried and live alone.
I feel a bit cheated. I didn’t get to take as much advantage of the cocoon of college years as the average person. In fact, I spent over a year out of school, working three jobs to save enough money to go back. In an effort to work my schedule so I could finally graduate, I wasn’t able to take some of the more interesting writing classes to hone my craft. I only got to take the intro class and Creative Non-fiction.
But I haven’t let go of my dream to be a prolific writer. I am working on some promising pieces. The next step is to find the right market for my work, which is more labor intensive than actually writing. I would love to be published in The Atlantic, The Paris Review or the New Yorker, but those are HARD markets to break into, especially without a book deal in hand.
The hardest part about writing, aside from editing, is submitting your work. It’s hard to keep going if your best work is continually rejected. Sometimes it’s because you are submitting to the wrong places. Sometimes you just haven’t done the market research. Sometimes you just have to keep going until you get a yes. I know this. But rejection is still rejection, for whatever reason. As I have grown older, I have stopped writing for the “yes” and have started to write more for me, the things I want to read and the things I want others to know that I’ve discovered about life. Is that the key to success? I don’t know. But it’s the path I’m on right now.
If you would like to sample some of my writing, there are a few snippets on the Untitled page of my writing and reading blog, Copywrite1985. There are also generic description of the projects I’m working on littered throughout the site. There aren’t any examples of my non-fiction work on there at present, but we’ll work into sharing that, shall we?
If you read my other sites (namely Indigo Moods), you’ve sampled some of my more “literary” posts. I’m a bit more lax here. I don’t want to craft posts here, I just want to write whatever I want to say here without making it pretty. This is a very bad example of what I am capable of writing.
Question: Would you buy a book written by me? How can I build a following big enough to make self-publishing an option? Do you know someone in the publishing industry looking for creative non-fiction/memoir, literary fiction, or chick lit with substance?
- navel gazing at the American Dream (navelgazer7.wordpress.com)
- Getting Published Isn’t for Sissie by Beth Ann Masarik (tymothylongoria.wordpress.com)
- Who Needs An MFA? (damyantiwrites.wordpress.com)
- Want a Book Deal With Penguin Press? (diamondpublicationz.wordpress.com)
- Self-published ebook author becomes Amazon’s top seller (begottenrealms.wordpress.com)
- Think Writers Should Blog About Writing? Think Again (christyfarmer.wordpress.com)