Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Guest Writer -- Brandon Ax

One of my favorite writers to follow of late has been Brandon Ax over at Writer's Storm. Many thanks to him for being willing to guest write for me today. He's well read, well written, and has many insightful things to say. Here are some of them: 

When Deb asked me if I would write a guest post on her blog, I realized I was tasked with coming up with something that was at least mildly interesting. I had a few ideas flit through my mind, but decided to settle on something I think of often.

For many writers I think one question plagues our minds as much if not more than anything else—What does it take to actually get published? I myself have sought an answer to this for years. It takes a lot to be a writer, there are things you must have in order to keep going in this sometimes cruel and calloused field. A hobby/ time wasting mechanism I find myself spending a lot of time on is watching/reading anything I can find on my favorite authors. I know I’m not alone on this, but in watching their interviews or reading their blogs, listening to their stories, I have come to a conclusion.

I would like to call this conclusion the three P's: Passion, Productivity, and Perseverance. I have come to feel without these three things it is unlikely you will find your way to that coveted spot where your book is sitting on the shelf (or in a list of online books).

link to original here

Passion. This one may seem easy, but I think I am not speaking for myself when I say that I feel very passionate about something as the idea is forming. I may even feel it through the first few chapters, but most times when writing I lose that feeling. This could be a lot of things, the story moved in a direction that caused a lull, the characters are not engaging anymore. Maybe I am just pushing myself too hard and need a break. To me the loss of passion is a clear indicator that something is wrong with the story. If you don’t feel passionate about your story, more than likely the agent/publisher/reader will not feel it as well.

Productivity. The work, the act of actually putting words on a page. If you have no product to send out then there is no way for you to be published. Finish things, don’t wait for that perfect moment, or for everything to line up in your mind. I learned more from finishing writing a novel than I did from any class or study on writing I have ever taken. Don’t stop at that. So you finished a book and you’re trying to get someone interested in it? Write another, don’t wait, maybe that next one is the story that will be picked up. The only way we can progress as a writer is by writing. Start a journal, write a blog, do what it takes to be writing every day. The more you put words on a page the better you become.

Perseverance. The hardest of the three. The words, “sorry,” “no,” “not at this time,” and so forth will be constant companions in this journey to be a published author. You will at times feel you are not worthy or lack something and maybe you should just give up. DON’T. We all get this no matter what stage you are in your witting. Self doubt is a staple of being a writer. I have said on my blog, I don’t like to think of getting published as a sprint where you finish your story and try to get it out as fast as you can. Instead think of it like a marathon, where you have to train yourself up and go the distance. That “yes” we all want is out there, maybe we need to work on our skill with writing or query letters. It is possible we need to find the right person for our particular story. No matter what the case is, the moment you give up is the only time you are truly defeated.

Anyway these are some of my thoughts hope they help and as always have fun and keep writing.


  1. This is great! I think perseverance is the hardest one.

    1. I think you're right. Especially the part where we have to push through the doubt. I like how Ax says, "Self doubt is a staple of being a writer." So true, I think. So true.

  2. Brandon - thanks for this great advice, even though I am still not sure what the aim of my writing is yet! I certainly need to get back to writing every day and see where that takes me. (PS I'll pop over for a visit soon)

    Deb - seriously are you psychic?? Maybe just a little? You always know exactly when I need a kick in the proverbial!!

    1. I think figuring out the aim comes from writing as often as you can. The muse won't talk back unless you are initiating the conversation. That's my experience, anyway :)

      As for being psychic...that would be an awesome skill to put on my resume and/or query letter, wouldn't it? Too bad I'm not. Heh.


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