Humble Pie. (Bill Belichick is coming to dinner.)

02/02/11 8:38 AM

Former agent, current author, and all-around-nice-guy Nathan Bransford is running his annual Stupendously Ultimate First Paragraph Challenge over on his blog. Over 1500 writers (this one included) posted the first paragraphs of their WIP (work in progress). Sweet Jesus! That’s a lot of writers, a lot of dreams, a lot of late nights, early mornings, lost showers (ahem), and lost relationships, no doubt.

The sheer number of entries humbled me. Think about it: those are just the people who decided to enter. Think of all the others who were too shy or too scared. Think about all the writers who aren’t familiar with Nathan’s blog (I’m sure there are some). Think about all the writers in non-English-speaking countries who have the same dreams.

It’s times like these when it becomes clear — like Technicolor clear — that talent and persistence aren’t enough. You really do need a good dose of Lady Luck or an ardent belief in The Secret or some sort of direct conduit to the Publishing Gods.

I often say there’s enough room for all of us, but I think reality dictates that I revise my statement to this: there’s enough room for most of us. Try as we might, some of us won’t see our dreams manifest into reality. Will it be me? Will it be you? Who knows? Sure, we can all go to our graves saying we’re writers and that we worked hard at our craft, and that’s nice and all, but this writer right here wants to be read by more people than her best friend and mother. I’ve made some inroads to that end. Thanks to digital publishing, short stories that had been traditionally published and long since forgotten have had a second chance at life, which is great. And I’m releasing my debut novel in May. But still, I wonder.

(I mentioned the humbling part, right?)

What humbles you as a writer?

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Posted by Robyn | in Creative Writing | 3 Comments »

3 Comments on “Humble Pie. (Bill Belichick is coming to dinner.)”

  1. Phil Says:

    I also submitted my first paragraph, and was also awed by the sheer number of entries into the competition.

    However, I remain obstinately hopeful. From my editor friends I know that 95% of the slush-pile is simply not publishable, which means if you have talent, discipline and drive, you should eventually stand out from the rest and be recognized.

    I’ve heard that the main difference between a talented published author and a talented unpublished writer is a question of persistence. Once persisted where the other gave up.

    So, Yukon ho!

  2. Robyn Says:

    I so hope you’re right, Phil. I think I believe that most days. But then, those other days…

  3. Laura Matthews Says:

    I think there’s enough room for all of us to find our niche. That’s what’s different today, with the Internet — you can find your own personal audience instead of it always having to be all or nothing, mass market or zero. So I think there’s more opportunity, not less.

    So everyone, keep writing!