I want to thank Lindsey Leavitt for this week’s advice I’ve heard a million times but this time I think it actually sank in. Since I started blogging, I’ve discovered the bottomless pit that is the writing community online. It’s seriously huge. Although, it’s also seriously small. (Just like the world). I’m always finding connections between people that I previously only knew un-connected. And, anyway, while reading about writing and attending a couple of writing conferences, I’ve heard a few things more than once. The reason they get said more than once is because they are true, and because we don’t listen. For instance, at the first conference I ever attended, a lovely children’s book author said, “You have to write because you love it.” Not for any other reason – like, say, getting rich. An agent the next year said, “Write what you love.” Or in another agent’s words (heck, a million other agents’ words), “Don’t follow trends.”
This is all super helpful, right? I’m sitting there all stressed out about whether or not the publishing industry is ever going to notice me, and all these people are putting the stars back in my eyes by reminding me that the joy has to come from the writing itself. Or you’ll always be very, very dissatisfied. It worked every time, but still somehow my husband and I end up in conversations in which I’m trying to decide how to write about vampires since it appears that they sell well. (I just hope my agent isn’t reading this and thinking, Dude, I wish you would give me something with vampires. Because that would kind of step all over this highly insightful post.)
So we have the conversation about vampires or witchcraft or sad, literary endings and then, inevitably, I’m re-focused by some great author or agent or editor who knows how to chill and enjoy the ride. Now, usually their journey has sort of landed on a shelf somewhere at some point, but still – I have to assume they know, I’m convinced they’re right, and it works every time. This week’s benefactress, as I said: Lindsey Leavitt.
You can click on her name to visit an interview with her. She’s – well – simply delightful, and she has a book coming out about a substitute princess (a girl who steps in for princesses around the world), and she had this advice for writers. “Write your heart out.” She said we get so caught up in the pursuit of publication that we forget to just write, write, write. And unless you do that, there won’t be anything to publish.
NOW, if people would just stop telling me that we’re not supposed to quit the day job, I would find it so much easier to put Lindsey’s awesome advice into practice.