Publishers’ websites make grim reading for aspiring authors. Those who accept unsolicited manuscripts tell the frank truth: they receive thousands every year, and may only publish one or two. Those are not great odds and even the most optimistic unpublished author cannot read that without their lips tightening.
Times are tough: one major publisher no longer sends rejection letters. I guess they’re streamlining their processes, and figure that not emailing 5000 form letters saying “thanks but no thanks” can free-up a staff member’s valuable time. It sends a clear message to those of us in the slush pile. And it’s not a nice one.
It’s food for procrastinators, and probably the crux of “not writing”. Why bother to waste valuable time developing engaging characters and plots with unpredictable turns? Why re-re-read a sentence to see that it flows well, and makes a clear (or ambiguous) point? Why agonise over whether that witticism is funny or lame? Why mull over the best sequence to deliver events? Why get into line with thousands of others, all of whom could probably write better than I ever could, and wait for months to hear....nuffin?
Why waste time writing when I could be earning a better salary?
Well, here’s some of the reasons; I figure even if I’m doomed to be unpublished forever, those hours haven’t wasted:
1. I love being on a “roll”, when the words flow and the answer to a conundrum suddenly appears, and the path is clear, all the way to the finish line!
2. It beats doing housework.
3. I’m giving my brain such a work-out, I’ve probably staved-off dementia for a few years- thereby giving me more time in my life to – um – write.