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Maxwell A. Drake
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MAD’s second rule of writing – Write with Confidence (Part I)

Other than not having time – family, job, spouse, friends, hobbies, etc., all take time away from being able to write – the second largest hurdle for a writer to overcome is confidence.


And, I am speaking of two distinctly different utilizations of this word.


The first is the confidence that you will ever become published. The second is writing with the confidence that you are doing so in a manner that will lend itself to becoming published.


I will address the first in this post.


The fact of the matter is, hundreds of thousands of manuscrīpts are written every year that will never be published. I will not sugarcoat this – this is a nasty business to break into. I have not run the numbers on this myself, (keep in mind as you read this, 78% of all statistics are made up on the spot) but I think you have more chance of being hit by lightning, or eaten by a shark, or winning the lottery than you do moving from the realm of unpublished writer to published author. Some of you out there may have been at it long enough to feel like you have more chance to be hit by lightning while being eaten by a shark seconds after you find out you won the lottery than getting published! That is why a common question asked at writer’s conferences is “So, how many rejection letters have you received?”


Now, I am not trying to start this out on a bad note. I just want you to understand the realities of this industry. The good thing is, the majority of manuscrīpts written are written poorly.


I am speaking of just my genre, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, and again I have not run the numbers, but I have heard that some 200,000 Sci-Fi/Fantasy manuscrīpts are submitted to industry for publication each year. Of these, only a handful are actually published. The nice thing for you is that probably some 190,000 of them are not publishable. So, if you can get your manuscrīpt into the condition that will make an agent/publisher sit up and take notice, your chances are not 200,000 to 1, they are closer to 10,000 to 1. (I make no claims to the accuracy of my statistics.)


This has a two-fold effect. First and foremost, if you study the craft, really learn what it means to write well, you increase your odds of becoming published exponentially. Second is the fact that those thousands upon thousands of manuscrīpts that are poorly written are, for the most part, rejected by this industry. I say “for the most part” as I have read some published works that mayhaps had been better not published. Yet, I digress.


The simple fact remains. If you finish a manuscrīpt, it is a hard road to getting it published. If you never finish it, you are guaranteed to never get it published. So, if you are really serious about becoming a published author, follow MAD’s first rule of writing and write every day.



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