February 9, 2011

Ways to Persevere at Writing by Danica Davidson

Danica Davidson is a young, enthusiastic writer who got in touch with me with a few questions about the writing biz.

Perhaps I should be asking her questions. Even though she's young, she's ambitious and dedicated, and probably has already written more than I have!

Today, she's written a GREAT post about perseverance . . .

Danica Davidson has been writing since a young age. She is currently seeking to publish a YA novel and has sold a few hundred articles to more than thirty magazines, including Booklist, Ms. and Publishers Weekly. Please check out her website at www.danicadavidson.com or follow her on Twitter @DanicaDavidson



1. It usually isn’t easy to break into the publishing world, but keep going. Very few writers make it into the business right away. Most of us have to work hard at it for years. I had a dream of being a professional writer at a young age and have been working toward it since then. Yes, I actually showed up at writing conferences and the likes at age eleven and tried to show people what I was writing. At the time, they assumed someone my age couldn’t write and ignored me, which hurt. Since then I’ve continued to plug away. I’ve built up a strong résumé on freelance work and am now doing what I can to publish a YA novel.

2. Be creative. I regularly read advice on how to become a professional writer and I follow this advice. However, I also seek to come up with out-of-the-box ways of trying to get my name out there. By doing this, I’ve managed to get myself covered by such places as the Los Angeles Times and Guide to Literary Agents. For the Los Angeles Times, an English teacher who’d read my novel called the paper and got them interested in me; since I knew she liked my book, I had asked her if she would call. For the Guide to Literary Agents, I got in contact with the place myself and showed a previous interview, asking if I could write something similar for them.

3. Remember to write. Sometimes we get so consumed with showing people that we’re writers that we . . . well, forget to write. Or we lose time to write, because we’re so busy networking or being busy with other tasks. It’s one thing to say you’re a writer, but the really important thing is to be a writer.

4. Go with what you love. Many people — and I’ve been guilty of this, too — try to write what we’re “supposed” to write instead of what we ought to write. If we ought to write something, it comes to us. If we try to write something we’re “supposed” to write, then odds are we’re going to be much less successful. I’ve tried for years to get into literary journals because I thought they would make me look sophisticated, but I’ve yet to be published by one. However, I have managed to sell a few hundred articles to other magazines, so I guess I’m doing something right in a different genre.

5. Don’t let rejections stop you. I haven’t let them stop me, and I’d be lying if I said I haven’t gotten quite a few rejections. I got the most when I was trying to become a freelance writer since I was young and untested. I was a high school student who had to earn her own money because of family circumstances; I turned to freelance to get me the income I needed and also in hopes it might help me in publishing my novel. At first, magazines kept saying No due to the fact I didn’t have a professional résumé. But then I started to get into a few places, and once I showed I was reliable and good at the job, more places began to have me write for them.

6. Different experiences, including hard ones, will help with your writing. Most high school students I knew in their senior year were partying and looking forward to college. I was working three part-time jobs, earning my diploma through independent study, and trying to become a professional writer. This was never the life I pictured for myself. But I also know it strengthened my writing and gave me a new perspective on the world.

6-1/2. Enjoy your writing. If you’re persevering despite the odds for a career as a writer, it ought to mean you really love writing. I know I do. That’s why I continue with the freelance, and that’s why I’m working hard to publish my novel. I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Love that last line, Danica. I can't imagine doing anything else either, especially when it means I get to meet lovely, fascinating young people like you. Thanks, Danica!


David LaRochelle said...

Excellent advice on all accounts, Danica! I wish I had such a clear vision and strong determination when I started out. I have no doubt whatsoever that you will get your YA novel published...and many more books as well.
Thanks for the inspiration.

David said...

Hey I think that is great advice. Basically don't give up. I can dig that. And when a writer writes for themselves it's harder to ever stop.

So who's listening? Create valuable work and people will listen.


David said...

Oh and here's a link to my blog too :)

Wild About Words said...

Thank you, DAVIDS!

Anonymous said...

Great advice. 3. I particularly like "Remember to write". I'd been so busy setting up accounts and putting together proposals that I finally realized I hadn't actually written anything creative in a week.

Wild About Words said...

We all need to be reminded of that one sometimes. Writers writing. What a concept!