My name is DA Roberts and I write the zombie series, the Ragnarok Rising Saga. I wanted to start this blog to introduce myself as well as share thoughts, information and tips I’ve learned throughout the publication process. Although this is, and probably always will be, a learning process for me…I wanted to pass along things I’ve learned in the hopes that it might help someone else achieve their dream of becoming published.
To that end, I plan to make entrees periodically to discuss lessons I’ve learned and things that did or did not work for me. If you find this helpful or you just enjoy reading it, feel free to let me know. You can contact me via e-mail at RagnarokRisingSaga@gmail.com or join my mailing list to keep up with announcements related to my work.
I have wanted to be a writer since I was a kid. However, the desire to be a writer is not enough. Like any other craft, writing is a skill that is only perfected through practice and dedication. So, for years, I wrote. Mostly, I wrote what I felt at the time was good material…but when I looked back at it years later, I could only wonder what I was thinking when I wrote it.
If you want to become a successful writer, it’s more than just English classes, punctuation and sentence structure. You have to write, and read, and write some more. Just a friendly word of advice, though. Don’t throw any of it away. No matter how bad you think it is. Years later, you will wish you had all of those stories, poems and prose to look back and see how far you’ve come. It can also serve to teach others that you will one day take under your wing and share your experience with.
Writing is about more than just stringing words together and making them fit. It’s about sharing your muse. It’s about telling your stories so that others can read them and hopefully enjoy them. You breathe life into the tales you tell with the words you choose. The more you write and the more you read, the better your abilities will become. No one ever sat down and wrote an instant classic in the first try. Just like no one steps up to the plate and hits a game winning grand slam on their first ever at-bat. It takes practice to get there.
Don’t get discouraged. Every author out there has had rejection letters, bad reviews and people that didn’t like their writing. It’s going to happen. It’s just part of the writing process. The trick is to not let the negative comments, complaints or refusals stop you. Even bad reviews can teach you something. It might just be to learn to ignore certain reviews, but you will learn something.
Oh, and don’t be surprised when someone hates your work, no matter how well written. There’s an old adage that says, “You can’t please everyone.” That phrase has never been truer than when discussing literature. Even some of the giants of the literary world have people that can’t stand their work. It’s just a fact of life.
But one those occasions when you get an honest critique that seems to take your work apart piece by piece…listen and evaluate. Honest critiques tell you what they didn’t like and, hopefully, what they did like about your writing. Take these to heart. Learn from them and keep writing. That’s how you improve your craft. Honest reviews followed by self-evaluation of your work.
No one writes a perfect manuscript in one try. Re-writes are as much a part of the process as the writing. There’s a reason we call it the Rough Draft. Rough draft’s don’t have to be perfect…they just have to be written. That’s where re-writes and editing come in. That is also where the real work begins.
I loved the writing phase of my work. Editing sucked. Editing was more work than I ever imagined it would be…especially when you’re editing it for a publisher. I’ll discuss editing and rewrites at length in other installments. For now, I’ll leave you with this. Write! Write some more! Keep writing!
It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just keep writing. Every story, every poem, every line of dialogue…they all bring you closer to your goal. Polish your craft and give it the dedication it deserves. Write every day, if you can. Try to set aside time to write, each day…even if it’s just a few lines. This will pay off big time, in the end.
Although it took me half a life-time to finally do it, I’m a published author. I did it, and at my core, I’m just a poor kid from the hills of Missouri. If I can do it, so can you. It’s not a contest to be won. We all, as writers, “win” when we see each other succeed. Share your experience and your gift with others. The rewards you reap will be worth more than gold. Share the written word…it’s our legacy to the world. Once you’re published, no one can ever take that away from you. It’s your own slice of immortality. Savor it. And don’t worry. You’ll get there. It just takes time and practice. Don’t give up. Ever.