by Steve Laube
Preparation is awfully important if you are planning to climb Mt. Everest. If you show up in a t-shirt, shorts, flip flops, and a sack lunch it is likely you will perish during the ascent.
The same idea applies to the writer. You must do the hard work ahead of time to achieve success.
There are No Shortcuts
Despite numerous methods for efficiency, there is still no shortcut in writing a great book. It is rare for anyone to slap together a masterpiece in a few short days. Don’t think we can’t tell the difference!
There are No Substitutes
This is your work, not your neighbors. Yes, you may use the help of a Book Doctor, a freelancer, a critique group, or even a collaborator, but it is still your work. It is your name that goes on the cover.
There are No Guarantees
You could put in the 10,000 hours of practice Malcom Gladwell says is the minimum time before you are ready. You could come up with a great idea. But it still doesn’t guarantee that it is going to break through. Someone else may have just released a book too similar to yours. The execution of your craft may need another 10,000 hours before it is good enough. Many writers fail at this stage because they get a sense of entitlement and are frustrated with rejections.
John Creasy the English novelist kept at it. He kept getting rejected so decided to use pen names to create a new identity. Fourteen of them! Collectively he received 753 rejection letters. But he didn’t give up. His 754th became the first of his 564 published books. What if he had quit at the 700th rejection?
The bottom line is to take the time necessary to truly excel. It will be worth it in the end.