Pub Rants

White Noise

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(Just a note, this post is from our archives. Some references and links may be from past years.)

STATUS: Last week was just tough. Battling being sick so just didn’t know when I’d be in the office or not. So not pleasant….

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE by Mat Kearney

When I was at the Rocky Mountain Writers Conference, I gave a couple of workshops. In my classes, I always give the daunting statistics on how many queries we get, how many sample pages we read, and how many authors we actually take on from what we read.

Yep, the icky stuff.

Then I tell them to cover their ears and say, “la, la, la I’m not listening” because what it boils down to is that these stats should be white noise to you aspiring writers. You can hear it, but it’s in the background. Know the stats so you have a keen understanding of the reality behind the business of publishing but then don’t let it stop you. .

If you love writing, if you are passionate about it as your dream, then you are going to write no matter what. Publication is one possible end result but whether that happens are not should not be the only determiner of why you write. You write because you have to. It’s like breathing. Absolutely necessary.

Besides, you never know when toughness and persistence will finally pay off so don’t lose sight of that!

Photo by KoolShooters from Pexels

28 Responses

  1. Susan Gourley/Kelley said:

    Hope you feel better. Lots of the fall illness stuff going around. Thanks for the encouraging words just at the right time. Sending out another query tomorrow and working on the next book tonight.

  2. Dawn Embers said:

    The workshops you presented at the conference were excellent. And this post really gets to the point. A writer loves to write and will make the effort no matter how much “white noise” goes on because it is what they are passionate about. Publication is just a cherry on the sundae.

  3. Shallee said:

    Thanks for this post! It’s always good to hear the reality of the situation– but it’s always nice to hear encouragement too.

    Persistence and passion are both definitely necessary to a writer!

  4. Abby Minard said:

    Thank you so much for that- we aspiring authors need to hear that every once in a while 🙂

    I know if I just finish my book, it will be a great accomplishment for me. Just taking each step at a time, and living the dream!

  5. Joanna St. James said:

    I wondered where you were all week, glad u are feeling better now.
    You are right I just write as a catharsis and then send a few out once in a while when the bug bites. It will be great to get published dont get me wrong but i am going to enjoy the journey too

  6. Astrid said:

    Yes, yes, yes! And thank you. I agree completely. People always bug me about, have I sent stories to competitions, magazines etc. They don’t often get that while it would be nice to be published, the enjoyment is my main drive. Perfecting the craft is the second thing I concentrate on. Publishing is third on my list of priorities. I do dream of becoming a published author, but it’s not the driving factor, and I know that with perseverance and a level-head, it will happen at the right time for me.
    Thanks, it’s good to hear this from someone well-acquainted with the ‘biz’. =D

  7. Jenna Wallace said:

    I actually use those stats for the non-writers in my life so they can understand why a book doesn’t hit the shelf a few months after the first draft is finished.

    And more notes on the RMFW conference, please! I sounds like fun!

  8. Jeff Baird said:

    It’s hard to accept white noise when it’s more like Lightning to the creative soul of a writer. Over time you learn that it is not meant to be vindictive but how it is instead. Like many though, we struggle with non writers explaining the complicated in’s and out’s of why we stress over an opening line or paragraph. In the end, this Blog is a road map. Amazon allows the first Chapter to be read on line before you purchase it. Imagine how well we would do if writing wasn’t there in the first 30 pages. Imagine if your “Plot Catalyst” was page 72?After all this time, I think the Blog has pretty much developed my writing skills into something much better. Yes it is frustrating sometimes but in the end, 3 books on the NYT Best seller list, tells it all in my opinion. Hope you’re feeling better, Kristen! Great Blog. How much do I owe you for the free education?

  9. Rachel said:

    Thank you for sharing the nitty gritty truth but also keeping it real–if we are writing just to get published or get accliam, we are doing it for the wrong reasons. We should be writing because we are passionate, because we love what we are doing and because if we don’t, these stories and characters will stay bottled up inside us driving us nuts 🙂
    Glad to have you back!

  10. Josh Hoyt said:

    Isn’t that the truth. I got home from a conference and they talked about the statistics but added that you need to go for your dreams make it happen. Anita a keynote speaker also pointed out the difference is the amount of effort you put into your dream. The more time and energy we put into our dreams the better chances we have.

  11. Phil said:

    Ha – read that as ‘you never know when toughness and pestilence will finally pay off’.

    Btw, would you be willing to share those stats on your next blog post? Thanks!

  12. Renee Collins said:

    “You write because you have to.”

    Definitely. There are many times when I wish I could give up on writing. It’s too hard. It hurts too much to be rejected. I feel like I’ll never get there.

    But I keep writing. It’s part of who I am.

  13. Allison Rushby said:

    I couldn’t agree more, Kristin. The statistics are always dire, but I’ve always told myself they have to publishing someone, so it may as well be me! Keep on truckin’, everyone!

  14. LaylaF said:

    Thanks for the encouragement Kristin,

    Great post…and you’re right, I love to write, even when I’m not at my computer, my brain is still forming sentences, plots, ideas…yada, yada, yada… 🙂

    hope you feel better soon.

  15. Becke Davis said:

    I’m smiling right now because you posted this on my daughter’s birthday and she, a non-writer who NEVER reads agent blogs, somehow spotted it, read it, and then posted it on my Facebook page because it made her think of me.

    I love that she knows me so well, and because you so get it.

    An author friend was wishing she made enough on her book sales so she could quit her frustrating day job. I reminded her that many of us who are unpublished are happily, and sometimes obsessively, writing for free.

    It would be nice to make money from writing, but that’s not why most of us write.

    Yes, I’m sure every one of us would like to get published one day. But I know most of us would keep writing even if we knew, one hundred percent sure, that it was never going to happen.

    The love of words is a gift and a curse. Every day I wake up eager to write, and it’s such a joy knowing there are so many other writers out there – published and unpublished – who feel exactly the same way.

    Thanks for reminding me how much I love what I do, even when it makes me crazy. Feel better soon!

  16. Roni Loren said:

    Great point. I think it’s hard to tune out all that stuff sometimes. I remember looking at those stats when Sara had my full and thinking–Oh
    lordy, don’t get your hopes up. But here I am, proof positive that it does work out sometimes! 😀

  17. Weaving a Tale or Two said:

    “Publication is one possible end result but whether that happens are not should not be the only determiner of why you write. You write because you have to. It’s like breathing. Absolutely necessary.”


  18. Valerie said:

    The la-la-la approach works in other areas of my life, too! Writers and dreamers have to listen to those inner voices and not let the outer ones drown them out. Off to stick my fingers in my ears…

  19. Anonymous said:

    I was already ignoring the statistics.

    These blogs that are appearing everywhere by all these literary agents are all very informative, but they can also prevent me from writing.

    Some of the literary agents are providing so much daunting information that at times I’ve felt such a sense of hopelessness from having read their blogs that hours later, when I went to write, I was unable to do so.

    Yeah, I realize that I made myself do this – but in a way, I kind of also didn’t. It kind of was the information that stopped me.

    I’m not exactly saying the advice being provided by the literary agents should be ignored – but too much information can sometimes be a bad thing.

    One of the greatest chefs in America at present, Thomas Keller, said about his Nappa Valley restaurant, The French Laundry, that if he had known how difficult it was going to be to find investors then he never would have proceeded. He said that he succeeded because he was ignorant.

  20. lora96 said:

    Thank you.

    Also, my 2nd grade class listens to that song every day. And Hey Soul Sister. Evidently we mood swing from emo to peppy pretty easily.

  21. androidblues said:

    Getting published is sort of like doing anything. If you give up, it won’t happen. Besides, after reading QueryShark I realized that 50 percent of the stuff people are querying is garbage with no plot. Once you realize that most people can’t write very well, and you are in the minority of decent writers, you feel much better about the odds.