Lessons Learned from Michelle Devon – Writer Extraordinaire

Posted by admin on February 1, 2008 in Uncategorized |

Michelle Devon has gambled successfully as a writer, doing so through pains taken only for the love of writing. Michelle states that writing isnít only a job, but a way of life. One of her biggest lessons shared with writers who come across her work is that it is a job like any other in that there will be rejections. Edits, restlessness in the creative process, and worry about where your next paycheck is coming from. 
Writers are people like any other person. What we view as celebrity is a myth because reality dictates that for a person to be well known, the effort takes something of a dedication based in a level of insanity on part of the writer and a mix of efforts by an interested publisher or agent. The publisher or agent, and the writer both have to engage in a relationship investment to promote the writer. That involves the writerís name, the good name of the company, and in the end, a good finished product capable of being marketed.  
Insanity is sometimes defined by someone doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results each time. For a writer, this is reality. Writing takes on many genres in the same way music performance does, only there are more sub-categories. Perseverance can be said by those who know nothing about what real work goes into a piece for publication and knows nothing about the creative process to be a form of unrealistic obsession rising to the level of creepy.
I could go off on a tangent here, but prefer to stay on the topic. I have been writing for my entire lifetime and just like Michy, people have always said I was great. Some editors didnít always think so, but that is their opinion based on what they are framing for the best possible sale and exposure to the market being written for. Marketing is a key component of writing. It comes down to knowing your audience because THAT is your market. 
 Writers write with the same fervor that videogame enthusiasts use to beat each skill level in a particular game. Michy is correct to point out that the skill for writing can be learned, and that talent plays a part but will only take you so far. Some writers write for multiple markets because they have adequate professional knowledge about their topics. Other writers focus on only one market because that is what they know about. A good friend of mine is a music artist of more than 35 years, and has said it best when he gave the following advice ‘write about what you know’. 
Too many writers get that glory flash and start to think about the million dollar deal. I have done it, and still do it here and there, that is just my drive. The dream of being published over and over is a compelling addiction. Any writer can tell you we are gluttons for punishment because we constantly subject ourselves to high levels of stress that most folks would not have anything to do with. Writers have deadlines, and deadlines will either make you work faster or make you freeze. 
I sound like a million dollar accomplished celebrity author don’t I? Let me assure you that I am in fact not a writer of any special consequence to the literary world, though I know I am someone special and have no embarrassment in openly stating it. That kind of spark is what publishers want. They also want you to revise without complaint when they point out so many things that your work will be unrecognizable to you after all the changes. 
None of this should be taken to construe that publishers and editors are evil, or that writing isnít worth it. Writing is absolutely worth it. I have learned that waiting for an income to roll in is something of a normality for a writer, and believe me itís true. I don’t even make a significant amount of money at this point and I keep going strong. What I donít do is write something just to have material put out. I write thoughtfully from my inner-most being. 
I refuse to submit something for publishing if I don’t believe in it. Write what you know! As someone who started out at Associated Content, and still on their staff as a contracted writer, I have learned to not be afraid to state my own position on something even when the view is narrow and harsh. I write about Aviation, Mental Health Ethics, Law Enforcement, Christian Music, certain political topics, Holiday suggestions for family outings, etc, because that is what I know about.I endorse Michelle Devon’s views because she is right on the point with everything she says. Everything she says are things I have encountered so far. I have yet to publish a book and do a book signing. I have yet to be on store shelves, yet to even be handed an award. Even if one of this happens, I wonít stop writing. I will not stop publishing works. 
Donít be afraid to explore the world of different genres. Write your heart out and develop it to it’s potential. Don’t be afraid to talk to your peers. Allow someone you trust to give you objective, constructive advice. Learn the skill of stepping outside of yourself to view it from the vantage of the reader. Nothing says anything about your work like the readerís perspective. 
In the same breath, do not let the opinions of others in the negative become personal to you. It’s difficult because a writer’s work comes from a deep place no matter what value it has in itís market type. Meet negativity and challenge with your own brand of creative fire. Tweak, tweak, and tweak some more. Write different versions of the same thing especially if you are on contract with copyright restrictions regarding the use of your own material elsewhere. 
Write your dreams from the core of your wildest thoughts. There is a market for everything! Look around everywhere. Beware of some of the classified ads out here. Donít see something and place every hope in that opportunity. Check it out thoroughly before biting on it! You want to get paid for your time investment. After all, your work is an investment!
As with any goal, make your goals for your writing career clear. Make them achievable by some measure, and use each measure as a stepping stone for the future. Make everything measurable, you should be able to track your progress to be able to project your immediate future. Do lots of networking among your peers, lots of networking anywhere you can where there are legitimate resources reachable by you. 
Write! Go ahead, do it, do it!!!!
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