Do you want to get published? Then I have some advice for you. Be willing to learn.
In one of the first lectures I ever listened to about writing, I remember the author telling us a critique she did for a woman. This woman, however, was not open to the author’s suggestions. Her reply was, “I worked hard on this and I’m not going to change a word!” The author told us, “Guess what? She’ll not get published.”
I had wondered how any writer could not be open to improvement, but I’ve since met them. They respond with “Yeah but…” to every suggestion. One told me that he didn’t have time to read books on how to write. I suggested articles he could read that would help him understand writing techniques, but his response every time was, “I’m too busy.” He’ll be too busy to get published, I guess. (I’m not trying to sound superior – believe me, I know I have much to learn.)
So my advice: don’t be intractable concerning your writing. Develop a thick skin and listen to the feedback. Take something good and turn it into something great. Something polished and publishable.
Yes, it takes time. And if you’re like me, patience isn’t a word you like. But time passes whether you learn to craft your writing or not, and will make the difference on whether you begin receiving acceptance letters rather than form rejections.
So take the time to learn.
originally published in The Sword Review 2006-05-19