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Hunt Country Blog

Note: In this space, we will present regular blogs about writing, authors, events, and more. We also hope to have guest bloggers who will share their own thoughts and experiences about writing, publishing and anything else we can think of that might enrich your writing life a little bit more.

Don’t Be Seduced by the Marketplace

May 2014

 

 All writers want their books to be published and to attract legions of loving readers. We all know that if we are ever to be able to work full time as writers, we need to be successful. Most of us steal time from our days (and nights) to write, and that can be challenging to say the least.

 

 At our third annual Hunt Country Writers’ Retreat, we heard Brad Parks tell us we must write every day, that we must carve out the time to do it no matter what. We know he’s right, and he’s a wonderful example of real discipline that we should all strive to emulate. For most of us, that’s just not going to happen. We have jobs, families, commitments—a whole host of obligations and distractions that intrude on our writing time.

 

So, let’s all take a collective deep breath and forgive ourselves for not managing to write six days out of seven. Then we can get back to the task of trying to do exactly that.

 

One of the great pitfalls for many writers, from my point of view, is the seduction of the marketplace. If we can just write a major bestseller, another The Da Vinci Code or The Hunt for Red October, then we’ll be all set to sit back and write our great masterpiece-- that breakout novel that will set us up for a long and successful career producing works of staggering genius. We just need that first book and if it’s derivative, well, so what? It will give us the means and opportunity to show our real stuff.

 

Brad Parks also shared with us his own challenges and disappointments, and in a very poignant way. He taught us a very good lesson when he spoke about the letdowns he’s experienced. His story showed us just how hard good writing is—and Brad Parks is a very good writer. But he also taught us that the risk of painful disappointment doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue to do the very best we can, to write to the maximum of our ability—and then push ourselves to write beyond that. That’s what Brad is planning to do.

 

 Your first book might not be the big breakout novel you want it to be, but don’t be seduced into writing something you know is not your best work, just because agents or editors or others tell you that otherwise it won’t sell.

 

Write your best, always, because in the end, the only opinion that matters is your own.

 

 

Moments from the 2014 Writers' Retreat

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