Monday, May 12, 2014

Be Patient

by Ann Tatlock

Some things just take time. Consider the pearl. Most people know that a pearl is formed when a grain of sand or some other irritant gets inside the shell of an oyster. The irritation causes the secretion of nacre, which forms around the grain of sand, thus forming the pearl. But it doesn’t happen quickly. For a saltwater pearl to form it takes between five and twenty years. The longer the pearl stays in the shell, the larger it will be.

Learning to write well is one of those things that simply takes time. But I’m finding that some people want to rush it, with unfortunate results. Without taking the time to hone their writing skills and really polish a manuscript, they are offering editors, agents, and publishers what amounts to a grain of sand rather than a pearl.

Even though I’m a novelist, my degree is in journalism. It took me quite a while to feel confident about my fiction-writing skills. I never took a creative writing class, but I read a lot of great literature and I wrote eight novels over eleven years before I finally came up with a manuscript I considered ready for marketing. The first seven novels were never published nor will they ever be. They were my training ground, necessary to my development as a writer but certainly not fit for public consumption!

If you have yet to be published, take your time and use it well. Read lots of good writing. Study books on how to write. Go to writers conferences and take classes. Join a writer’s critique group. Hire an editor to work with you and listen to what he or she has to say. And most of all, write, write, and write some more. All of this will improve your skills, so that when you do offer your words to the world, you’ll be casting pearls instead of sand.

TWEETABLES

Are you giving your readers sand or pearls? @Ann Tatlock #write #amwriting (Click to tweet)

How to be patient while waiting to be published. @Ann Tatlock #write #amwriting (Click to tweet)

Ann Tatlock is an award-winning novelist and children's book author. She also serves as managing editor of Heritage Beacon, the historical novel imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She lives with her husband and daughter in the mountains of Western North Carolina. You can read more about her work at http://www.anntatlock.com.

(Photo courtesy of billfrymire.com)



http://amzn.to/1l7Zlqn

Ann is giving away an autographed copy of her book, Sweet Mercy. All you have to do to enter the contest is leave a comment below. The winner will be announced on May 19th.

15 comments:

  1. What an interesting article, Ann! It's amazing that you wrote so many novels before you felt one was truly ready for an audience. You've made a great point. Thank you. Please enter my name in the drawing for your book.

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    1. Thank YOU, Rose! We've entered your name in the drawing!

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  2. This is great advice, thank you. Good to learn more about you, Ann. I'll pass on the giveaway since I've already read the book. It was wonderful! :)

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    1. So glad you enjoyed the book, Karen. Thanks for letting me know!

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  3. Ann, I love the sand or pearl comparison. Such wise words!

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  4. Thanks for the encouragement. In preschool I used to tell the kids, "Patience is waiting with a smile." I'm training these checks of mine to smile.

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    1. Yes, keep smiling! I know your patience will be rewarded!

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  5. Ann, you're so precious - your gentle and quiet spirit inspires me. I love the application of the sand-to-pearl analogy to our writing. Makes a whole lotta sense. Bless you!

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  6. Love the analogy. I'll share this article with a friend who needs to know it's okay to keep on keeping on when they don't see progress in their own work.

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    1. I hope this post will be helpful for your friend, Phyllis. Thanks for sharing it.

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  7. Thank you, Ann, for your helpful words. They came when I really needed to hear them.

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    1. You're very welcome, David. Forge ahead with the writing and trust in God's timing.

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  8. Always good advice, Ann. Thank you! By the way, I love the book cover. It reminds me of Tuck Everlasting, a classroom favorite I've been teaching for years.

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