"Deep in the black heart of every writing workshop instructor resides a dirty little secret: We are praying that no one asks when our next book is coming out." So says Brooks, whose books have been well reviewed and bestsellers, yet who has found himself cast adrift from his publisher and uncertain when his next book will come out.
I thought his article was going to be really depressing, and start bashing all of the people wandering around out there who want to get published (the very same people that he is teaching). But it actually isn’t too bad, and he redeems himself with sentences like this:
"I still believe that anyone willing to take on the daunting task of writing a novel or screenplay deserves the same respect as someone who, say wants to erase world hunger–but I do understand the frustration."
Love that line about writers of novels and screenplays deserving respect. Years ago, when I had no idea what I was doing and I undertook to write a mystery novel, I developed instant respect for all book authors. No matter how crappy the tome, it still took someone a lot of energy and effort to write the damn thing. And that deserves our respect.
Brooks delves into answering the question of why so many of us keep working at our novels and screenplays, when so few of us are ever going to be able to make anything from it? His answer is simple: hope.
And here is the takeaway thought from Brooks’s article. He says the key to getting published is simple: "Write something completely fresh and original, nor derivative of what you think might sell. Understand the basic criteria of the game; they are inviolate. Don’t listen to anyone who says it’s either good or bad. Just keep writing. And for God’s sake, try to find a way to enjoy yourself as you do."
Good advice. Just keep writing. You’d be surprised how many people ignore that.