The one superpower that all published writers have

Posted on May 31, 2015

I’ve been talking a lot about how to get published lately.THE ONE SUPERPOWER THAT ALL PUBLISHED WRITERS HAVE

One question that comes up over and over when I talk to writers is this: “How do I work up enough confidence to actually send my writing out?”

I’ve been thinking a lot about this over the past few weeks, mostly because I’ve been actually leaving my office and talking to lots and lots of writers.

And it’s this that’s brought me to the realisation that all published writers have a superpower.

So, what’s the one thing that all published writers have in common? I’m glad you asked…

I know that there are lots of possible answers here – we could talk about voice and talent and ability and discipline and … so on and so forth. But, after much thought and many conversations, I think what it comes down to is…

The courage to press send. To steel themselves against rejection and actually put their work out there.

Every single one of those published writers went out on a limb, took a deep breath, and sent their writing out into the world. Whether they self-published that work or went via traditional means or submitted to a magazine, they served themselves up on a plate to potential readers, knowing that those readers, be they agents or publishers or book buyers or editors, could simply sniff and turn their noses up.

It takes a brave writer to do that. But you will never be a published writer if you don’t do it.

I’ve written about rejection before. I know how hard it is. Writing is so personal.

But always ask yourself this: ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’. The worst that can happen is that someone says no, because what you’re serving up is not to their particular taste. So, to take my dining metaphor just that one step too far, you try another restaurant. And another.

And the whole time you’re sending it out there, you’re writing something else, so that if it comes back, finally, beaten and battered and you know that the market really wants pasta (sorry) not the filet mignon you are delivering, you’ll have another dish (sorry) all ready to go.

It takes diligence and persistence and all of those things.

But mostly it takes courage.

Be brave.

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  1. Jo Carter

    I loved the cooking metaphors!! An excellent post, I’ll have to remember when I start submitting before the year is over 🙂 Pinning it for future reference!

    • Allison Tait

      Thanks Jo – and good luck!

  2. Steve Turner

    As someone who is not quite there, my feeling on the power published writers have is not their courage to send things out — really it seems anyone should be able to do that.

    It seems the ability to be able to self-judge where you’re at and the quality of your own work is the true superpower. I’ve found so many times from publishers or in competitions, if you are rejected you don’t get a reason for the rejection, and if you lack the insight about were you’re at the rejection ultimately means nothing because you don’t know why you were rejected. You may guess (well or badly) but that is half the problem. As an almost-there writer the doubt sets in and you start to wonder what you’ve done wrong — and that’s where the doubt sets in for future submissions.

    So don’t be afraid of sending work to publishers, be afraid of what to do with the results, or lack of them 🙂

    • Allison Tait

      Great comment Steve – thanks!

  3. Malinda @mybrownpaperpackages

    My husband actually reminded me of this just today – what’s the worse they can say – no. Time to be brave and press send on a few things I think. #weekendrewind

  4. Lydia C. Lee

    I’m more of the batting averages type – I just keep sending it out, occasionally it wins. I still get that hopefully moment when I see the email in the in box, only to sink 2 sentences in…ahhhh

  5. Lisa@RandomActsOfZen

    So scary, but usually worth it in some way or other. Gotta be braver 🙂

  6. Kym Campradt

    Such a great post, Al. I only recently started thinking about the courageous side when I quit my job and was gifted a sign with this “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them” from Walt Disney. Now, off to apply another layer of rhinoceros hide cream!

    • Allison Tait

      Yes, still looking for the magic formula…

  7. Lisa

    Still hit and miss with the outcome Allison but will continue to press send in order to achieve my dreams! Thanks for the reminder. xx

    • Allison Tait

      Hit and miss is how it works Lisa, so good on you for sending it out there!

  8. Ruth

    This is an encouraging read. I’ve been trying to get my books for young adults published for about 6 years now with no success, and I’ve spent this morning in one of my many ‘this is never going to happen, I must be completely crap’ phases of utter despair, so thank you for this reminder and encouragement Allison! 🙂

    • Allison Tait

      Hang in there Ruth!

  9. Vivienne

    Great article, Allison. You might be interested in the winning story of the Write4Kids competition just announced – on exactly this theme! See http://www.write4fun.net/view-entry/256852

    • Allison Tait

      Thanks Vivienne – I’ll check it out!

  10. Karen

    Thank you for the reminder to be brave!

  11. Bec @ Seeing the Lighter Side

    I usually envision Drew Barrymore from Ever After when I hit send: “Just breathe”….

    • Allison Tait

      Yes, breathing is good. Otherwise you may be holding your breath for a VERY long time. Trust me. I tried it once…

  12. Rachael

    Such spot on advice Allison! Feel this message can be applied to so many varied disciplines – it’s just so necessary to be brave, to do and keep on putting yourself out there. A lovely reminder!

    • Allison Tait

      And an excellent word it is!


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