The Caren Johnson Literary Agency had a great post last week. Actually, they have many great posts, but this one really struck home with me. It’s about an unprofessional query they received – the writer kept querying them with the same piece even though he’d been rejected each time. His reason for doing so? “Until I get a hit, I must submit.” Um...
It always amazes me how people don’t see writing as a professional thing. For the non-writers among us, I can understand a little. Only writers know how difficult it is to write well, just like only a doctor knows how stressful it is to have a patient’s life in his hands.
But for a writer to treat writing with such indifference is kind of...well...I find it insulting. I have worked really hard to get where I am with my craft, and he thinks that he can just submit the same piece over and over again in order to get published? The only consolation I have is that I know it’ll never happen for him because he’s not willing to grow or learn. And that is the one thing that writers MUST do.
With any office-like job, what do you do? Do you sit around with your feet up, cranking out the same mediocre work time and again, and then expect to be praised? Probably not. If you did, you’re likely to get a Conversation with your boss. So how can people think writers do this? Because we really don’t. We work just as hard as 9 to 5ers, in a depressingly negative environment. It's RARE to get a zing of inspiration, crank out the story in a matter of days or weeks, and then have it become a classic/best-seller/whatever. We have to work to get it right.
I guess this is a sore spot for me. My husband is supportive of my work, but I have other family members who are not. One has said more than once that I should just self-publish and be done with it. And he won’t see me as a writer until I’m published. Which is kind of sad, but not really my problem. I know what I want, and I know what I need to do in order to get it. His approval isn’t going to change anything, is it? :) I'm a Writer, and I know what it means to me to be a Writer. He doesn't.
On that note, I guess I have one more consolation with the ‘until I get a hit...’ person. He’s not really a Writer. He’s not willing to put in the work, learn the craft, explore, make mistakes, and then learn from them. He thinks he can crank something (anything) out, then have accolades and money dumped on him. Well, it doesn’t work that way.
Sadly, folks like him won’t seek out writing blogs like this one. Probably not even the Caren Johnson Agency’s blog. Instead, he'll just keep submitting. *sigh*