If you become obsessed with being published, you will become just another frustrated writer like so many others in the world. Write every chance you get, no matter how ludicrous or nonsensical what you write might seem. Write for yourself not for others. Most writers who write to make others happy lose their soul. Don’t ever let any critic frustrate you into not writing, this happens very often to too many writers. All you are doing is giving in to someone who probably doesn’t even know what good writing is, and you only hurt yourself.
Don’t be frustrated by vultures, such as may often be experienced on the web. Experience life! Good writing material comes from true life experience and your unique interpretation. Desktop writers are usually stale or journalists, and we all know most journalists are rarely real writers, they are just paid record keepers. Those that never go beyond their own four walls can not possibly know what the rest of the world feels. Keep pads of paper and a pen wherever you hang out, by your bedside, in the kitchen, at your desk, in the bathroom, in your car…and don’t be afraid to pick them up and use them whenever you can.
Keep your writing organized. If you write a lot of crap and just keep throwing it in drawers, that is where they will die. Type your stuff into a computer. Bind it in an organized fashion. Catalog it. This way you will always know where it is. You will also be able to come back and read it, figure out if it sucks or if it has potential, then polish it till it makes you cream. But don’t over polish. Anything too slick is worthless. It has no heart. Read as much as you can…from other writers, about writing. Read and study all the grammatical rules, then make your own.
Courses and seminars are just fine, I guess…but usually you learn what works for others and not what works best for you. Often they will fill your brain with rules that cramp creativity. Take anything any academic tells you with a grain of salt. Academic writers usually think they know it all and are great writers. Usually they are creatively isolated and lame, and they only write for other academics, who are usually the only ones that understand their misaligned gibberish complete with obscure and insignificant references. Write so that anyone can understand what you read. The more sensibly and sincere you write, the more it has universal appeal and significance. Never, ever take the publishing world seriously. It is a marketplace and like any other marketplace it is full of prostitution and idiots. Treat them as such and you are sure to succeed. Remember… published writers have very often sacrificed their own personal creativity for some sleazy magazine or some high brow snot nosed esoteric rag which hardly anyone reads.
If you do decide to waste your time trying to get published instead of writing…this requires lots of letters, postage and time. Eventually someone will publish you. Never be discouraged by rude editors who never acknowledge or reply…this is a majority in the publishing world. Play the contest game if you like, but if you do, go for the big ones, with big rewards. Don’t waste your time on the little guys, they do little to advance your career. Before you submit anything, polish it. Ask someone with half a brain to read it, and listen to their idiocy, somehow you might manage to extrude a grain of truth. Visit as many little artsy fartsy writer get togethers as you can. Here you will find other hopeless circus clowns, but every now and then you might just meet someone who can actually advance your writing ambitions.
Write, write, write then write some more. Then edit, edit, edit and then edit some more. This is the true secret. And as previously and wisely mentioned…have fun! If you are not having fun when you write, it becomes a job. And in this case you might as well become a journalist, or write for magazines or journals or Hallmark cards. Invest in a current copy of the Writers Handbook. Visit the Poets & Writers web site…these can be good resources if you know how to use them. And finally, never ever put up with anybodies crap or sell your soul. Editors, agents and their kind can be vicious, self-serving and butchers…tell them to kiss your arse. And write what you feel…this way you will always be happy and you will not feel like you are a writing prostitute, like so many other best seller list sluts.