“Writing is the hardest, and most joyous, labor I know. And here is the bonus: It’s also a great way to be fully alive, to soak up life in all its sensuous detail, wonder, mystery, and surprise.”
T.A. Barron is the New York Times bestselling author of The Merlin Saga, which has sold millions of copies and won the author legions of devoted fans. While Barron roams the world on book tours (yes, Virginia, they still do exist), he still finds time to write. As he
puts it, “Essentially, I write all the time, even when I’m traveling, going for a hike with my kids, sleeping, whatever. The creative process isn’t limited to the hours I spend in my writing chair in the attic of our house — though that is still my favorite place to work.
I love to sit up there with a steaming hot mug of cinnamon tea.”
After his first novel received 32 rejection letters, it took Barron 7 or 8 years to try again. At a crucial moment, he had dinner with the magical Madeleine L’Engle, author of the classic, A Wrinkle in Time. When he called himself a “would-be author,” L’Engle said, “No, Tom.
You already are an author. Just not a published one.” That was the boost Barron needed. He sent off his new book and it was accepted by the first publisher who saw it. That was 20 years and 24 books ago. T.A. Barron’s tips:*
1. “Remember that you are a writer, even if you are not yet published. You have things to say — important things — and you deserve to find a voice of your own.”
2. “Writing is a craft, something one learns by doing. There is no substitute for constant practice. (And that, unfortunately, requires constant discipline.) The bad news is, no matter how good you get at the craft of writing, there are always things you can learn to do
better. And the good news is — exactly the same. That is why writing is a wonderful way to grow as a human being…even it if is also full of struggle and anguish at times.”
3. “Be honest. Deep soul-searching leads to more compelling writing.”
4. “Write through your passions. That energy will flow into your writing, breathe life into your words.”
5. “Now for some practical advice. Get yourself a literary agent. It’s just too difficult to get published without one.”
6. “Finally: Don’t give up. Remember that rejection is, unfortunately, part of the process. But if you persist, the chances are good that you will eventually succeed. Never forget that you have something valuable to say, and it’s worth sharing!”
Sage advice to ponder and pursue as we write on!
* Interview with T.A. Barron, TheNewsinBooks.com; from www.tabarron.com.