While there are plenty of great editors and publishing consultants that you can choose to work with (and if you’d like to go that route, I would certainly hope that you would consider my services), sometimes all an aspiring writer needs to get themselves on track is to leverage their contacts. In the words of Morrissey in The Smiths’ song Ask, “Shyness is nice, and shyness can stop you from doing all the things in life you’d like to…”
There are many steps to the writing process, but it can be broken down most simply to this:
1. Formulate an idea
2. Outline that idea (optional, but strongly recommended)
3. Write like your life depended on it, and don’t look back. Any writer, if they’ve already done steps 1 and 2, can complete 90% of the work of capturing their idea without poring over every detail. Leave that to an editor, or if you want to take on the chore yourself (though it can be very difficult to be objective about your own writing), do it afterwards. Don’t waste time. Just write.
Regarding steps 4 and 5, but most especially step 5, if you have contacts in the industry, either people in publishing, other writers, or any other relevant ins, LEVERAGE THEM.
I know that most of my readers are aspiring writers, and my services, though fairly priced, are simply outside of some of my readers’ budget. I can relate. I was in the same boat. I quit my job in the English department of Monroe College to really see what I could do as a writer. My friend Rairigh Drum helped me in so many ways. She knew that my writing needed MAJOR WORK when we were students at Beloit College, but she had seen some growth, and supported me along the way, as friends do. She let me stay in a spare room in her apartment in Clarion, Pennsylvania rent-free. She edited all my short fiction, making it much better, because I knew I couldn’t do it on my own (what writer could, we really do need editors). What happened? A string of acceptances. That didn’t happen before. Why did it happen? For many reasons, but most importantly because I ASKED for a favor.
If you have people in your network who would be able to help you along the way, free of charge, LEVERAGE THEM. I’m always there for you if you don’t, but seriously, get creative and you can start advancing and not even have to spend a cent.
In the spirit of this post, I’m going to ask YOU a favor: If you know anyone in the film industry, please help me out. I just completed a script with my co-writer Zubair Simonson called Brooklyn Blend. We just registered it with the WGA East. Think of it like Frances Ha meets Thank You for Smoking. The script is about a deluded Brooklyn hipster who thinks he’s a great musician, but really is a total hack, and how his ruthless ambition brings down a racist politician and lands a record deal. If you can help us get this sold or optioned, let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org). See, it doesn’t hurt to ask!