There are still magical wonderful things in the world. I’m reminded of this when the Creative Writing Conference at UH Manoa came into town. It is an annual event with writers and artists who speak. The first year it was free! Did I mention that a delicious lunch was also included?

This year, there was a $10 fee which a mom friend who attended said was, “still nominal,” for what you get. I agree.

Although I attended for just one talk (Publishing and the Writing Life by writer Alicia Upano), I gained enough fuel as I seem to always, to keep on writing. This post will include a few gems if you could not attend.

Luck, Suck and Pluck

Upano says there are three roads to publishing, which she took from An Insider’s Guide to Publishing:

  1. Luck – if you happen to be at the right place at the right time.
  2. Suck – can you depend financially on someone to support you while you write?
  3. Pluck – the greatest avenue of success is to work hard, persevere even when your writing sucks, cause it will.

Aim for Rejections

The more you put yourself out there, the more success you will eventually have. Instead of the sting of rejection, this will help you to refocus on getting not avoiding rejection. If you are submitting (regardless of the outcome), you are essentially winning.

Be Accountable

Find in-person writing groups, online critique groups, writing coaches and even email writing pals that can hold you accountable. Upano sends out business like reports of what she hopes to accomplish by a certain period of time. Another writer in the class said she announces her goals to friends and family on Facebook. Find like-minded caring people that can hold you to task.

Time Not Words

Commit to how much time you’re willing to put with arse in chair, not the amount of words. Sometimes you may not write a lot, but it’s the time investment and commitment that’s most important.

Publish in Literary Magazines

Focus on getting your work published in places editors and agents look for new blood. It’s much easier to be the hunted then the hunter.

Start Where You Are

Who are you and what do you care about creating? If you write enough stories, you will see a theme. Know first what your story is.

Put the Work In

You will feel doubt. Your work will suck. You will think of all the time you’ve “wasted” away from your family, friends, and life, and a cloud of fear will develop. You will consider quitting. But don’t. What you are going through is normal. If you want to understand this on a deeper level, watch this:

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

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