The Chaos of Balance–Kenneth Kao

A man searching for a balanced life has many stories.

Getting Writing Exposure

So,  a friend recently asked me about how to get writing exposure, since I’ve “experience.”

Below was my response that I thought was worth the share:

Writing exposure?

Write your butt off for about 3-5 years, realize that you’re crap, write another 3-5, decide that you’re still crap, attend seminars, study a lot, read everything you can about writing, and practice practice practice. Become the top 1-.1% of those good enough to sell to a professional market, realize that you’re still crap—just not as smelly—and practice some more until you figure you’ve sold regularly enough to pro markets that you aren’t just a fluke. Then, unless you’re the one in a million who doesn’t need to practice stories(as above) before writing a masterpiece, try a novel length story. 2-3 of them at least, probably. Write some more, hopefully be in the top 5% to land an agent, be in the top 5% of those to get a publisher, be in the top 5% of those who can make a living writing. Receive exposure because people like your book.

Or, self pub. Realize you’re crap, and choose between 1 of 2 methods. Keep self pubbing, getting better and better and publishing constantly until you have a following and your stuff is competitive enough or you have enough mediocre pieces to carry you for a bit until you’re awesome or simply satisfied with your income bracket. My guess is that this is about as likely of succeeding as above, maybe a little more probable right now but quickly getting less and less probable. Or choice 2, spend your time marketing the heck out of yourself in compensation with spam, blogs, networks, controversy, a lot of money, fame through other means, or sheer luck. Probability of this working is little to none.

Exposure is rarely the issue. Being good enough to support the exposure is the real issue. ie, What if you get the exposure but your stuff is laughably bad? Have you tanked your career before it’s even begun? The outlier(top of the pile who succeeds) spends at least 10,000 hours refining his skills in whatever it is that he’s pursuing. In writing, there is chance, but there isn’t really talent—just hard work. A lucky break will not last a writer’s career. Hard work and disappointment after disappointment that you have to overcome makes the writer a true writer. And those that don’t overcome the repeated disappointment…. They don’t last long. It’s hard to hear, but once you DO overcome, then the reward is absolutely worth it. Writing IMHO is the hardest thing anyone could every pursue. You murder your babies over and over. It’s not easy. Just some thoughts.


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This entry was posted on August 25, 2012 by in Writing and tagged , , , , , , .
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