How's Your Vision?

Today, I'm talking about vision, not the near-sighted astigmatism that sends me to the optometrist for new glasses all too often, but a long-term vision for one's writing career.

In the earliest stages of writing, experimentation is a fine thing. Wordplay across forms and genre helps develop fluidity and teaches us which type of writing speaks to us -- and through us -- with the loudest voice.

But eventually, if we choose to pursue a career, we have to zero in on one form and one particular project, for only our complete, sustained attention can ever hope to be sufficient. It's important, too, to look beyond the particular story, to ask ourselves important questions:

  • Do I love this form/genre/theme enough to expand upon it in subsequent manuscripts?
  • What type of reading experience/qualities do I want my name on a book's cover to guarantee? (If you are sufficiently prolific and talented, it is possible to write in multiple forms/genres - often under different names, but to do so, you must split your focus, and if you constantly flit from one wildly disparate project to the next, you will lose your opportunity to build an audience.)
  • Is there sufficiently-broad interest in this type of story to allow for a reasonable chance of developing a viable commercial audience? Or do I love what I'm doing so much, I'm willing to accept the much higher risk of failure for the chance to blaze new territory and pique a popular appetite?

While there are never any guarantees for success in the writing/publishing game, these basic questions can help you lay out the bones of a career plan. As for fleshing them out, expect that part to take years of tough, dedicated labor, a modicum of talent, and even a little luck.

So how's your vision this fine Sunday?

Comments

Suzan Harden said…
More wise words from the Jedi Master of writing.

Now back to editing the soon-to-be-super project of the genre I'd love to be published in.
Thanks, Suzan!

I should've added to the list: Do I love this project enough to spend untold hours rethinking, retooling, revising, and however many other "res" it takes to polish it to its fullest potential?

Because you *really* have to love a story to give your life over to it to that extent. And so does any editor willing to work with you.

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