Tuesday, July 11, 2006

TL Hines Advice

A recent quote from TL Hines (author of the novel Waking Lazarus), really hit home for me. It appeared on Chris Well's blog, Learning Curve. Chris asked TL, "What advice would you give to aspiring writers?"

Part of TL's response:

Write because you love it, not because you have a huge desire to be published. If you're writing for the love of it, enjoying the creation and escaping into the minds of other characters, you'll ironically be on the path to publication. If you're writing because the most important thing in the world is seeing your name in print, you're misguided. You'll be worrying too much about what sells. You'll be chasing every new trend. You'll be frequenting writing boards online, and asking questions such as, "Should I use Courier or Times New Roman on my manuscript?" And frankly, you'll be spending less time actually writing.

I know of which I speak, because I've been there. I wrote my first book, went through more than 80 rejections from literary agents. I chalked it up to learning, put away the book, then wrote a second book. Again, more rejections. Maybe 100 of them this time.

Frustrated, I started writing a third book, wondering why I should even bother. Then, I realized I had a bad case of publication fever, and I had to sit down and say to myself: "You know what? It doesn't really matter if I ever get published, because I love writing. So I'm going to focus on writing, and quit worrying about publishing." With this admission to myself, I felt a weight lifted from my shoulders.

And ironically, about two weeks after being honest with myself, I received an email from Dave Long, acquisitions editor for Bethany House, who had downloaded the first chapter of my first book and was interested in seeing more. A month later, I had a two-book contract.

I don't think the timing on any of that was a coincidence.

Read the full interview here.

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