Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Other People's Careers

Because writing is such a solitary profession, and we’re all making it up as we go along, we seek others in our field. We feel less alone through the sharing of information. Deep down, we feel that everyone else has a special secret we don’t. If we learn the secret, if we learn how to unlock whatever it is that makes it work for them, everything will be all right.

The truth is that we can observe, learn, and brainstorm for everyone around us, but because we are individual, we still have to adapt it to something that works for us. We have to decide where we are willing to compromise with time, people, and subject matter. We have to decide WHY we’re doing what we do. We can’t have a career just like Writer X, because we aren’t Writer X. We are unique, even when we share similarities.

Learn as much as you can. Talk as much as you can. But figure out what is your special process, pattern, and desire for your career. Don’t write something because someone else sold something like it. Write it because it is the story you yearn to tell. Don’t set up a blog or a website like someone else’s because someone else did so. Do it because it’s something you want and need to do.

Decide how much of your writing time you are willing to sacrifice to marketing and networking. Just because someone else finds it useful to spend 85% of his time marketing and 15% of his time writing, it doesn’t mean you need to subscribe to the same ratio.

Remember, we’re all making this up as we go along: writers, editors, agents, publishers.

Sometimes, we just get lucky.

And what isn’t made from luck is crafted from dedication.

Devon Ellington


At 1:41 PM, Blogger Colin said...

Getting the balance of those percentages is the tricky thing, because they seem to change day in, day out.

I suppose it's trial and error.



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