How to Get Published by James D. Macdonald–good advice

Well, I keep track of Making Light, the blog by Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden and all their friends and guests, and Jim Macdonald has a great post today:  How to Get Published.  You might have heard the advice a thousand times, but Macdonald gives it some fresh spin.

To be a writer, you must write.

Thinking about writing is not writing. Talking about writing is not writing. Pre-writing exercises are not writing. Only writing is writing.

Write every day. If you only write a page a day, at the end of a year you’ll have a novel. Read every day. If you want to be a writer, you must be a reader. If you are not a reader, perhaps being a writer is not in your future.

Write straight through to THE END.

The urge to give up, particularly in the dread Mid-Book, will be strong. The desire to go back and fix the beginning will be strong. Resist the urge. You won’t know what the beginning is until you reach the finish, and perhaps not even then.

Every synapse in your brain will be screaming “This Is Crud!” Perhaps it is. That’s okay. You can’t make a pot without clay. We’ll fix it all in the second draft. If you need permission to write badly, I grant it to you.

Note that while you will think that your writing is crud, and it may objectively be crud, you should still write to the very best of your ability.

Besides, if you give up in the middle, when and how will you learn to write endings?

The rest of this article, if you’re serious about writing, is worth your time to look over.

3 thoughts on “How to Get Published by James D. Macdonald–good advice

  1. Dr. Tom Bibey December 7, 2010 / 9:59

    Someone asked Chet Atkins what he considered to be the most important thing in a performance.

    He said, “Finish the song.”

    Dr. B

  2. Patrick Nielsen Hayden December 7, 2010 / 9:59

    Making Light isn’t “the blog by Patrick Nielsen Hayden”, it’s a blog by five people including me. I didn’t even start it — it was started by Teresa Nielsen Hayden in 2001.

    The post in question is certainly good, but it was written by a different one of our five co-bloggers–novelist James D. Macdonald.

    • jstueart December 7, 2010 / 9:59

      And I even looked on your site to find your about statement to make sure I had the authorship right! I’ll change it. Thanks.

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