Janet Reid is an agent at Fine Print Literary and if you read her blog you know how fortunate every client on her list is to have her dedication and wisdom. When I read this quote from her blog (the full text is HERE) I almost wished I wrote crime novels or women's fiction just so I could query her :)
"I make my living based on material people send me. I couldn't pay the rent if you didn't write. Never doubt for one second I don't remember that and value it every day."
Ahh, the warm and fuzzies...agents need submissions, a pleasant reminder in the midst of an often negative business.
But this quote underscores the very plain fact that if we are pursuing publication, then our writing is something to be sold. It has to be wonderful to more than just ourselves for this to happen.
Maybe I enjoy singing show tunes in the car, but does anyone want to listen to me sing show tunes in the car? Would anyone pay for this "opportunity"?? No, no, a thousand times NO! The world is not deprived of my singing, my singing is just for me because here is my truth: I like to sing, but I am not a singer.
Apply that last sentence to writing instead of singing... it becomes a real kicker. I couldn't type it out without an internal wither. Go on, try it if you dare, but have someone with a hug ready after!
Being that we are writers, this kind of comparison tends to motivate us. We're as stubborn as we are praise-thirsty. So if we are serious about pursuing publication then it's up to each of us to work hard and get a real handle on the craft. We can't write like we're singing in the car, we have to be brutal with our stories and open our eyes to the market, and turn our writing into something wonderful...something people will want to read. Something they'd pay money for.