Today I’m going to fill it up with three very important words. If you’d like to be published, these words should become your mantra. If you’re newly published, this phraseology will help you weather the journey ahead. And if you’re multi-published, the triple T will give you the kick in the pants you need to finish this writing journey well.
Three words: Tenacious, Talkative, and Teachable.
You need to be tenacious. What is tenacious? It’s clinging to the craft when publication eludes your grasp. It’s a dogged determination to keep writing even in the face of rejection. It’s the ability to get back on the horse after it bucked you clear across the writing arena. It’s grit. It’s believing that your words have merit. It’s the ability to set artificial deadlines and meeting them early. It’s finding your voice even if that means writing miles of prose to do so. If you’re half-hearted in this writing gig, you won’t be published. If you’re nonchalant, find another hobby. Writing is the type of preoccupation that must be pursued, nursed, continued. It’s not casual.
You need to be talkative. Being around this blog long enough, you probably know that publication is about relationships. How do you foster relationships? By communicating, by talking. Go to a conference and meet real editors and agents face to face. Don’t use them for your own personal multi-level marketing publishing ploy. They are folks, just like you. And they deserve your kindness, respect, and, if the door opens, your friendship. You may be shy. You may be an introvert. The word talkative may scare you silly. Learn to get out of your shell now. After all, publishing is a series of stepping out: a query, a proposal, a contract, a book in the public, then promotion. It all involves your ability to communicate. Be talkative. Be interested in people. Be fascinated by others.
You need to be teachable. I enjoy critiquing others’ writing once a month at our local writers group. I love it when I see a writer take what I’ve said and learn from it. I love improvement. What I don’t love is someone who constantly insists his or her way is right, neglecting any wisdom or direction. Simply stated: you will not go far in this industry by being cocky. And when you’re brand spanking new, it behooves you to be overly teachable. This is the time to absorb everything, not argue about every jot and tittle. Recently an editor friend of mine called an editor I’ve worked with, wondering how I was to work with. The other editor said, “Mary is a dream author. She takes direction well.” This bodes well for me, even with nine books under my writerly belt. Don’t be a diva. Don’t be difficult. Take instruction and direction now. Practice humility.
If you can cultivate the Triple T in your life, you’ll eventually see success.
Tenaciously pursue your dream.
Talk to people in the industry as well as potential readers.
Become a teachable author.