Talking Shop

This morning I read a post by an agent where she advised that writers not write about writing, because who cares? I found that a little vexing because I care. I like process posts. Not just writing them, but reading how other people have figured out how to do the work.

In that vein, you should check out Kat Howard’s piece on rejection.

I get rejected all the time. I can’t find homes for stories I know are good. I keep writing anyway, because it makes me happy.

But it seems weird to me to not talk about it. How can anyone know if what’s happening to them is typical or not if they have nothing else to compare it to?

4 thoughts on “Talking Shop

  1. I agree. I think it’s part of the “fake it til you make it” aspect of authorship, where we’re all supposed to pretend like muddling around with words is not hard work. You don’t want to talk about rejection because then people googling your name will see that you’ve been rejected and think you’re a loser…but I don’t think it works like that. Maybe crappy agents work like that?

  2. Agreeing with you. I love reading about writing, in part because the people I read don’t write like I do, either in process or product, and it’s fascinating to me how many ways there are of getting words onto a page. Part of *my* processing how this writing thing works. And yeah, I like hearing the war stories, too, and the triumphs.

  3. Yeah, that’s another thing I think is kind of problematic about the “never talk about how it works” aspect. I see A LOT of writers who think there’s some… I don’t know… almost unacknowledged game aspect to publishing–that you have to not only write the story, but then also do all these other things no one ever tells you about–go to these conferences, meet these people, write your cover letters in these exact ways–that, if you know to do them, will give you some kind of inside track into getting published.

    So, I feel in some ways like the whole “this is what you must blog about, if you blog, and this is what you should never blog about in case an agent or editor reads it” is kind of part of that superstitious thinking–like you have to play the game exactly right and that that counts for more than just writing, revising, and sending it out.

    I think we want to believe it’s more complicated–go to this place, meet this person, get the secret password–but easier (because if you know there’s a game, you can learn how to win it)–than writing really is. Writing is very simple–write and revise over and over and over. Then submit and get rejected over and over and over. Sometimes, you won’t need to revise anymore. Sometimes your piece won’t get rejected again.

    But, by and large, it’s just revising and rejection until it’s not. It’s simple. It’s hard as fuck but it’s simple. I can see why people prefer complicated but easy to it.

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