English: penulis = writer


Actually getting started is the first hurdle in writing.  Choosing a topic, establishing an outline, actually putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), are all part of that start.  Although this can be difficult, the opportunities are countless.  Any idea floating around in your head is a starting point.  There is no need to have the entire work planned to get started, just the impetus to write.


Completing a story may seem much harder than starting one, and it is.  Binding all of your ideas together into a comprehensible whole, knitting a compelling picture with threads of your words can be a daunting task.  Sometimes getting to the end is a marathon, sometimes a sprint.  Knowing when to stop and accept what you have created as being of its own is also a hard.  You have created this thing, yet it has become like a child.  You want it to be perfect before anyone else is allowed to see it.  Just like your living children, you have to let go, let them out into the world to succeed or fail as they can.  This is difficult, but still not the hardest part of writing.


Publishing is the one part of writing where you as the writer have no control.  You are dependent on  others to take your work and proffer it to the world.  In the past, publishers were limited to a small group of large houses (if you wanted wide distribution).  They had to be large to take the risks of producing many physical copies of a story that may never pay off.  Small publishing houses existed, but they went for smaller runs, and therefore smaller audiences.

Today is very different.  There are literally thousands of publishers on line.  Although this provides a lot of options and opportunity, there are also more risks for the writer.  Many of these options can result in the loss of your work and someone else earning from your effort.  To pick the right venue, research the publishers you are considering.  What is their policy for sale and protection of your story?  What is their support level?  How long have they actually been publishing and have they been successful?  Remember, even on line publishers are taking a risk when they choose to host you.  That risk is a negative reflection that your work could bring to their site.  This can have the effect of eliminating that site from the internet.

No matter how you publish, build the relationship with your perspective host.  If something is rejected, you have to remember that it is a business, not a charity.  If you are faced with continuous rejection, you should re-evaluate your relationship, just as you would in a personal relationship.  Just as starting and finishing your work are challenges, so is the act of publishing.  Never give up and keep writing.

Editor’s note: I’m happy to announce that Martin has published his debut novel, A Changed Man.  You can buy the Kindle version on Amazon.  Don’t have a Kindle?  A Change Man is also available in PDF format on the Hyrax Publications site.  Or you could buy a Kindle (or download a Kindle viewer for your computer or smart device).


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Martin writes about writing in his weekly column Ramblings from Martin.

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