GETTING IN WRITING STARTED CAN BE DAUNTING



Getting your first work published is often very difficult.

Most successful publishers are swamped with submissions, and don't even have time to consider them. It is not uncommon for most submissions to be thrown away without even being read.


Persistence Can Pay-Off (but not always).


Any writer will tell you that it is important to persist with your work. Whether it is trying to find a place on a journalism course, getting a job in journalism, writing freelance articles to be sold or selling your first poem or novel, it is not easy. Many writers experience many, many rejections before their work is published. Alex Haley received over 200 rejections for his book “Roots” before a publisher finally accepted it. He did not give up.  

Any writer must keep trying.  If one publisher says no, then send your work to another.  If your article is rejected, try another.

Learn from your mistakes.  If the person who rejects your works gives you constructive criticism - use that knowledge. If they say you work is too descriptive, try to make it punchier. If you work keeps straying off tangent, focus on what you mean to say. If your sentences are too long or too short - work on them. Use that criticism to your advantage.  Not many writers are able to just “write” with no advice or encouragement from other people. It can take many years for a writer to hone their skills and start to produce 500 -600 words an hour of coherent high quality writing. 

Keep trying. Many writers may not find success until later in life. Marine Lewycka, who we mentioned earlier, did not have her first book published until she was 58.  Many other authors can be older when their work becomes successful.  They may have jobs, lives and work in other fields, whilst still harbouring a dream to be a writer.  That doesn’t meant that they sat down at 58 and suddenly produced a best-seller – they will in all probability have spent many decades producing work that was either rejected or put in a ‘bottom draw’. Best-selling writers are not made over-night. 

So the main tip here is – KEEP TRYING! 

There will always be some writers who do not achieve success, who never sell any of their work, and never have anything published. This can be because the writing they produce is simply not good enough. But this can be avoided; as a writer can seek advice and help from others. If you do not listen or do not think your work can be improved, you may not do well. There are authors out there who think that their work is brilliant and that it is misunderstood, but it may be that the author is not willing to improve on their work.  Publishers often receive manuscripts that are scruffy, full of spelling mistakes, uninteresting, badly presented and so on. No matter how brilliant the story is, they will probably not be successful with the publisher.

Also, think about why you are writing – is it because you love writing, you enjoy writing and want to tell your story (whether it is about psychology, your life, a novel you want to write and so on)? It is still just something you want to tell others. If you want to write because you love writing, then just because you do not sell your work, it does not stop you working.  Recently, a friend gave me a poetry book. His mother had loved writing poems. When she died, he and his brother self-published a book of her poems, which they gave to all her friends and family. It was a lovely thought. Do not be afraid of other people reading your work. Give your work to friends, family and others to read.  We write because we want others to enjoy our work but how can they if we do not let anyone read it?  I recently read about a primary school teacher who loved writing stories to read to the students in his class. He was not interested in his work being published, but loved writing for his young audience. For whatever reasons we write, letting others read or hear our work and enjoying it is important.


HELP FOR OUR STUDENTS

Often the hardest thing to get published is the first thing you get published. 
One of the benefits about studying writing with our school, is that we can often help you get over that first hurdle; by publishing something on one of our web sites or blogs, or referring you to a publisher who we work with.

Getting over this first hurdle can be much easier if you are prepared to make compromises about what you write and where it is published. If your aspirations are to start at the top of the profession though; your chances of success can be greatly diminished.

Publishers can be receptive to an introduction like this, if it is made the right way and you are both capable and prepared to write what they want to be written.

Submissions can be made automatically to the student magazine or to your tutors via email.