Wednesday, May 20, 2015

You Cannot Fly If You Do Not Try

The quote above has gone viral and can be seen in many different photo/poster versions. It's attributed to Erin Hanson, a 19 year old writer from Australia. The young woman seems wise beyond her years with this quote.

It's good advice for those writers, young or not so young, who fear taking a great leap in their writing journey. We think of the negative consequence immediately but it would be so much better if we could put the positive spin first.

The first time a writer makes a submission to an editor can turn into one of two things. It can be heady stuff, bringing dreams of grandeur, or it can be one of the scariest ventures you've ever tried. It's probably more realistic to say that the second choice here, being scared, is more the norm. Most people who try writing are aware that it is a very competitive field and know that first submissions are not going to make you famous. Oh sure, there will always be a handful of writers who score big on their first try. But for most of us, scary as it is, the first time is what gets us started on the submission path.

We know that we are going to fall--translate that to mean getting a rejection--a lot. We know that everything we write is not going to be a winner. But we also know that the possibility of flying is also real. So what if it's your fifth try with the same story or article? Be happy to spread those wings and fly no matter when it happens.

The main thing is that you cannot fly if you do not try. It's as simple as that. Sure, it's still scary but you'll never know what might have happened if you didn't make the effort to become a published writer. I am sure there are some excellent writers who have stacks of stories that they've never shown to anyone, let alone sent to an editor. How sad that is for the writer and the readers who will never have a chance to see them.

What's the worst case scenario if you submit your work and it's rejected? Only that you will have to try again. And maybe again. A fisherman doesn't always catch a fish in the first spot he tries. He may have to move around the lake several times before he hooks one. You, too, may have to try several times before you receive an acceptance. Think how great the elation will be when you've tried multiple times and finally score. You most certainly would be flying high at that point.

Keep in mind that you cannot fly if you do not try. Let that simple statement be your motivation.

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