If you are a writer, the path to becoming a published author can sometimes feel like an impossible task. For writers to overcome the mental challenges placed before them, they’ll need to have 3 important things:
Saying things like, “You don’t know what you are doing.” “You’ll never get published.” “Your work isn’t good enough.”
In order to persevere, a writer must be able to silence the mental naysayers. Speaking back with positive phrases like, “I can do anything!” “I was made for this!” “I am getting better and better!” and “No matter what, my books will be published!” Positive thinking will help you endure the writer's life.
2. Passion For Storytelling
Writers need to have a passion for their stories. They need to be convinced that the world needs and is waiting to hear their voice. Their voice is unique and will have its own impact on the culture and society.
"You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you're not passionate enough from the start, you'll never stick it out."
3. Perseverance to Endure
Writing isn’t easy and it’s not for the faint of heart. Sometimes a writer’s career can seem to move along very slowly. Perseverance is an attribute that will keep you on the road to publishing when it seems completely out of reach.
One of my favorite quotes by Charles Spurgeon states:
"By perseverance, the snail reached the ark."
The quote and the video below should encourage you to keep pushing forward. If a snail can do it, so can you!
Play the video!
I keep dreaming about the day when I will become a published author. I can’t wait to speak at schools and libraries to share my story.
I’ve always looked up to authors and although I haven’t met most of my favorites, I still consider them mentors. Authors and illustrators have a great influence on their readers and this truth came to life just last week.
I took my kids to see award winning author and illustrator Brian Pinkney at the public library. The room slowly filled up with young and old waiting in anticipation to hear him speak.
Once he arrived, Brian shared about his family life and his journey in becoming an illustrator. He initially learned his craft by watching his famous father, Jerry Pinkney illustrate in their home. The kids in the audience were very engaged and asked questions like:
“When did you first start drawing?”
“How long did it take you to draw all the pictures in that book?”
“What art tools do you use the most?”
It was so cool to see the kids hanging on his every word. My daughter Anaya said “ I was so surprised when he shared that it took him over 8 years to write one of his books. I guess the process can take a long time.”
In addition, the kids were really shocked when Brian stated “I have over 120 sketchbooks.” As he showed one of his books, he explained that he would always travel with a sketchbook because inspiration could come at anytime.
I didn’t realize how influential that moment would be for my daughter Jayda. In fact, later that evening, around 9pm (an hour before her bedtime) she approached me timidly, “Mom, I was wondering if I could have one of your sketchbooks? You know, one of the ones in the box.”
I also love to draw and paint but have been too busy to make it a priority---so most of my supplies have been collecting dust! Anyway, Jayda’s request was a big deal considering most of her drawings were done on scratch paper littered around the house!
Well you know how I replied...“Of course! You know what Brian said earlier--he uses sketch books all the time.”
The next day this is what she showed me:
I couldn’t believe it! An hour with a professional illustrator and my daughter became a drawing machine! The power of Brian’s story was immediate and powerful! I only hope that in my future I will be able to do the same--inspire the next generation to keep pursuing their dreams!
Thank you Brian Pinkney for making time to visit us at the library. Your story and willingness to share your experience has influenced my daughter in a powerful way and who knows where she will take this passion!
You can learn more about Brian at: http://www.brianpinkney.net/main.html
You can learn more about Brian’s father, Jerry at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FknKcmsZPzQ
And you can learn more about Brian’s wife, Andrea at: http://andreadavispinkney.com/
“If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” Toni Morrison
As a homeschool educator I am responsible for selecting the curriculum my children use for school. As their history teacher I want them to have a well-rounded perspective of world history and not just learn it from one perspective.
History taught only from the majority culture will exclude many experiences from the narrative. I want my children to be able to analyze historical accounts and to have the skill to determine whose voice is missing from the story. They can gain this skill simply by asking questions.
Asking questions can be a powerful way to discover new thoughts, ideas, and perspectives. In fact, I started writing my first manuscript after sitting in a bookstore and viewing about about 40 children picture books on display about New York. None of them featured an African American. So I posed the question to myself: How did African Americans contribute to the development of New York City?
“I, myself, write to change my life, to make it come out the way I want it to. But other people write for other reasons: to see more closely what it is they are thinking about, what they may be afraid of. Sometimes writers write to solve a problem, to answer their own question. All these reasons are good reasons. And that is the most important thing I'll ever tell you. Maybe it is the most important thing you'll ever hear. Ever.”
This one question led me on an exciting journey. Not only did I want my children to know the answer to this question but I felt it was significant enough to share with the world.
I began to dream about the potential ripple effect this knowledge could have on the children in the United States. The pride, the dignity that could be transmitted through my story. There is so much power in the written word and it is my hope and prayer that my passion for history will make a difference in the world.
"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world."
So my question to you is this: Is there a book you really want to read but does not yet exist? Start asking questions and you never know where that simple exercise might take you!
Writing is hard work. New to the field of writing, I never anticipated the amount of time taken up by revisions.
When I first started my manuscript, I wrote it as a non-fiction book in about 3-4 months. After attending my first writer’s conference, the 21st Century Non-Fiction Writers Conference, I realized my story was not ready to send out to literary agents. It needed more work.
“Put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.” — Colette, Casual Chance, 1964
In fact, it needed a complete remodel in order to transform it into a historical fiction piece. This process took about two months of writing and another month of revisions and edits.
Initially, when I interviewed my agent I knew I wanted to work with her because of her editorial style of approaching her clients’ work. You see all agents aren’t willing to help you enhance your manuscript before its sent to the publishers. I actually had a few agents tell me that my story was very interesting but because my dialogue needed some work they weren’t going to offer representation.
I was so happy to know that my editorial agent was willing to help me perfect the manuscript giving it a stronger chance of getting purchased by a publisher. Right now I am in the revision process and with each rewrite it becomes so much better.
“By the time I am nearing the end of a story, the first part will have been reread and altered and corrected at least one hundred and fifty times. I am suspicious of both facility and speed. Good writing is essentially rewriting. I am positive of this.” — Roald Dahl
I agree with Roald Dahl and have seen firsthand how good writing has come from my rewriting. So if you have to revise for the 100th time---do it with the confidence of knowing your story will be all the better!
Ayanna is an author that enjoys writing fiction, historical fiction, non-fiction, and poetry for children. She has written over 15 stories and hopes to publish them in the near future.