We unpublished writers are always looking for ways to discern how far we are in our writing journey. One of the best guides can be found at Randy Ingermanson’s website, www.advancedfictionwriting.com/art/freshman.php. By answering only five questions you can determine, by Randy’s estimation, whether you are a freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior, with publication becoming likely in the final category.
I’ve come to believe lately that there’s another way to determine where you are along your path to publication–and that’s by counting how many people you have to thank. While my method is much less scientific than Randy’s, I believe it has some merit.
The longer I write and work within this industry, the more I understand that ‘no writer is an island,’ similar to what John Donne wrote five centuries ago about mankind in general, in a line made classic by Ernest Hemingway.
Writers need writers. Not only as mentors but encouragers. We need each other to pass the torch of information (craft) that has already been lit by the fire of inspiration. We need each other’s shoulders to cry on in moments of disappointment and exhaustion. And we need someone to jump for joy with us when that illusive, indeterminate pub board in the sky finally gives us a thumbs up.
Yes, when your time comes. When you are asked to sign on the dotted line and the book of your heart has been scheduled for release, you’ll have a dozen–if not a hundred–people to thank. From online friends, to one-on-one mentors; from contest judges (yes, even them) to critique groups or partners. Your list will likely include many other writers, agents, editors, marketers, lay people–and, of course, family.
So, if you want to measure your journey as a writer, I say measure it by the friendships you have made–and the number of ‘thank you’s’ you will have to include on the acknowledgement page of your debut book.
Start making that list!
Kathy Harris is an author by way of a “Divine Detour” into the Nashville entertainment industry. A member of ACFW and Middle TN Christian Writers, she blogs regularly at www.DivineDetour.com. Abingdon Press will publish Kathy’s debut novel, tentatively entitled The Road to Mercy, in Fall 2012.