While searching for quote for an article I’m writing, I came across this one from Abraham Lincoln:
I’d spend six hours sharpening my ax.
When I read this, the first thing that popped into my head was a writer honing her craft.
I’ve dabbled in writing since I was sixteen. Life had a way of filtering into my dreams of publication. As I look back, I realize God was giving me life experience to incorporate into my novels.
I’ve been writing seriously for the past decade, slowly honing my craft…or sharpening my ax. Honing my craft isn’t limited to writing the best possible story. It also involves learning more about the publishing industry and hearing what agents and editors want. Sharpening my ax may necessitate some expenses such as writing books, online workshops, writing conferences or retreats.
I met with an agent at a writer’s conference who told me she didn’t like to hear a writer say she had been writing only a year or so before pursuing publication. That agent wanted to see writers who took the time to sharpen their axes–learn the craft, get a feel for what publishing houses wanted, understand the sting of rejection.
Sometimes people want something so badly, they rush into a situation without being prepared. There’s a reason they keep getting those rejection letters. Yeah, they suck, but editors and agents are looking for great writing, not mediocre.
Even though it can be frustrating and discouraging, take the time to sharpen your ax. You’ll be rewarded when it’s time to cut down your tree.
How long have you been writing? How long did it take you to receive your first contract? Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently when you started?