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Keeping the dream alive of writing a book

February 12, 2013

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Many people who want to write books have dreamed of doing it for many years. For so many of us, it’s something akin to an obsession.

The desire to see one’s name on book jackets, the need to publish a book-length project, is something that perhaps cannot be explained. Ego gratification? A need to be heard? The simple pleasure of stringing words together or telling stories? It can be all these things, or even something else.

There were only two things in life I really ever burned to do. One was to play professional baseball. Unfortunately, I found out when I was still a teenager that I didn’t have near the talent to ever crack the starting lineup of the New York Mets, or even a bush league team for that matter.

Later, I decided I wanted to be a writer, although the desire was not apparent to me at first. Baseball was one thing. I loved to play the game, and that made it easy to dream about a career in baseball and take steps to make myself a better player. I loved everything about the game. But writing was something different altogether. When I first mulled the notion of becoming an author, I had more than a few second thoughts. After all, the idea of sitting before a typewriter for hours a day didn’t seem appealing. Now, the thought of being a writer, a real writer like Earnest Hemingway or Thomas Wolfe, that seemed appealing, even romantic. But putting words to paper? No.

I was a reader, not a writer.

After I took my first college writing course, I knew what I wanted to do. But even after I decided to major in journalism, I wasn’t sure how I was going to go about this whole business of becoming a writer, the kind of writer I wanted to be. Oh, I had a hazy scenario of working for a newspaper for a few years – a route many authors before me had taken – before eventually getting down to the prospect of writing the great American Novel.

That was the dream. Write that big book and quit working. And yet, I knew this would be no easy trick to pull off. By the time I actually started writing fiction, I was thirty years old, and well aware that one does not simply bang out a book and wait for the riches to begin flowing in. Oh sure. I realized it could happen. I also realized I could win a $6 million lottery.

I gave myself ten years to get published. And by God, I kept at the writing for most of the next decade.  When it didn’t happen, I wrote some more. Of course, after all this I had a number of finished but mostly unfinished manuscripts tucked in some drawers and tons of rejection letters from literary agents. I was frustrated, but alive and well. The point is, it didn’t kill me. The dream stayed with me. It didn’t die. More years went by before I finally got published, and only after more rejections and a decision to go the self-publishing route.

I tell this story, not to discourage anyone out there, but rather, to offer hope. Yes. Writing can be frustrating. It can be difficult to get anyone interested in your work. And it’s tough to put yourself before that computer every day wondering if anyone gives a hoot about what you have to say to the world.

But the best news is, you can get published these days, and quite easily, through Print on Demand and epublishing. Gone are the days of sending query letter after query letter to agents, trying to convince them to represent you. Of course, traditional publishing may well be your dream, and that’s fine. No one says you shouldn’t go that route, but it’s no longer the only route.

So, if you’re out there writing that book, keep at it. There’s a home for your work. You don’t have to do what this old Baby Boomer did for so many years. Keep writing. Keep the dream.

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3 Comments
  1. I will, even if my e book is rejected for using the wrong capitalization and I have to re do it and submit it again. I will keep my dream alive, to be one day a bestseller author ……thanks for your encouragement.

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