Andrew Winch is a writer of YA Speculative Fiction and Senior Editor of the Christian Flash-Fiction Magazine: Splickety-Magazine.
If you’re interested in Andrew Winch’s work, check out the first issue of Splickety magazine for free HERE (http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/324163), the magazine’s facebook page HERE (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Splickety-Magazine/296833703674321), or his personal blog HERE (www.winchway.blogspot.com).
Huh, that’s an interesting idea. I bet someone could write a great book about that. Hey, I bet I could write a great book about that.
Fast-forward 3 years
I can’t believe it. I wrote a novel. And people actually like it! Now all I have to do is send it to the agent of my dreams, then the editor of my dreams, and I’ll be famous!
Fast-forward another year
So, maybe my novel isn’t as publishable as I thought…Sure, friends and family have nothing but great things to say, but there really isn’t a market for that kind of fiction right now, and even after extensive edits, my manuscript still has some first novel symptoms that just won’t buff out. I know, I’ll write ANOTHER novel, using what I’ve learned about writing, the industry, and the mistakes of my first novel, and then I’ll be famous.
-Rinse, lather, repeat-
Sound familiar? If not, you’re probably not a writer. “What about all the overnight success stories, Andrew?” Well, I won’t tell you it doesn’t happen, but I WILL tell you that most sources claim C.S. Lewis was rejected somewhere around 800 times before publishing ANYTHING. And he’s definitely not in the minority. Google “famous writer rejections” for some cheap motivation.
Though it could have been about almost any schmuck in the business, the brief example I’ve shared is based on my writing career. I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing, but I started my first novel in the second year of physical therapy graduate school. After I finished it 3 years later, I dove ego-first into the other side of the writing world. You know, the world of query letters, revisions, conferences, and REJECTIONS.
There is no education like adversity. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. God never gives you more than you can handle. Blah, blah, blah. Rejection stinks. That’s all there is to it. So why the heck am I still writing? Partly because I’m magnificently stubborn, but mostly because God is good. And believe me, both parts of that equation are essential.
Without my stubbornness (some call it dedication, I call it stubbornness), I wouldn’t have learned to cringe every time I write “-ly” adverbs, and I certain-LY wouldn’t be working on my third novel right now. Without God’s goodness (I’m tempted to say something cliché about owing everything to Him), I wouldn’t have had that spark of inspiration on Christmas almost 5 years ago (whilst reading the Bible, no less) that started this crazy ride, and I unequivocally would not be as close to publication as I am now.
If you’ll allow it, I’d like to take a minute to expound on that last fact. Four years ago, I didn’t know ANYONE who had published ANYTHING (other than in medical journals). Now, I have regular correspondence with agents, editors, and published authors, and most of them tell me they enjoy my writing. I cannot stress enough how motivational it has been for me to have an active network of people in “the business.” And on top of that, God’s blessed me with the opportunity to act as Senior Editor of a rapidly growing Christian flash-fiction magazine (remember that whole “God never gives you more than you can handle” bit? Apparently I’m determined to test that theory).
So, when people ask me if I get frustrated with it all (“Why don’t you just self-publish?” they ask. Apparently my stubbornness isn’t as obvious as I thought), I smile and answer honestly: “No way.” I love writing. I love learning to write better. And, honestly, if my first novel had made it to publication, that would have been the end of my writing career. It wasn’t bad, but there’s a reason why editors didn’t jump at it. Now, I’m closer to publication than I’ve ever been, and it’s exhilarating.
As long as my tenacity holds out, I know God will hold up His end of the bargain. I’ve seen too much to believe any differently. I don’t know how long I’ll wait to become an overnight success, but I know I’m one step closer than I was yesterday.
So what do you think? Have I fairly represented the life of a novelist? Do you have a newfound respect for struggling artists? Is there anything you would like to ask a writer with delusions of grandeur?