In one of those "Writing for dummies" books that I read at the beginning, the author suggested the aspiring writers to subscribe to a magazine of the trade, for example The Writer or Writer's Digest. This, he explained, is supposed to reassure you on the path that you chose; and I repeat not his actual words but what they meant to me.
Those like me, who are trying to write our first novel, find ourselves faced with the big probability of never getting our work published. For the world there are only two kinds of writers: The ones who are published but can't live out of royalties, and Those who are published and are rich; Stephen King, Robert Ludlum... you know who I'm talking about. The thing is, we are neither of those because we're starting our career and, consequently, most people don't take us seriously. An important part of human nature is the need to be recognized and praised, if no one recognizes us as part of a guild, then we have problems identifying ourselves as a part of it. Cue for the magazine to come around.
Receiving or buying an "insiders tool" on a monthly basis gives us that feeling of belonging, its a constant reminder of our dream... they have cool, insightful articles too; =) and, since I have no published work to brag about, I make a point in taking my magazines to as many public places as I can and read them with the cover showing.
But, seriously, buying and reading these magazines have helped me learn about the industry but have also showed me hundreds of stories that, one day were as improbable as mine, and yet they made it. These publications have helped me become a better writer by being more analytical of my work; they have also helped me know where I'm standing and what can I expect form the industry once I finish my book; they have downfalls as well, though.
I keep reading everywhere how few writers have been able to get their first work published; well, I want mine out there! So, it got me thinking; this is my baby and I really want to do the best I can to help it get to a bookstore; right now I'm not the best I can be and the only way of getting there is to practice...
I gave it a lot of thought and I've come to the conclusion that I'll keep writing the novel but as a side work; my main focus will be to write short stories and get them into magazines; that ought to help. First, I will get more practice while finding my own voice and style; second, I'll have something to show a publisher or agent that will hopefully prove me to be a better investment for them to make; and third, I will be able to produce a better quality narrative to elevate my novel.
Now, for this plan to work I have to write in the same genre of the novel, start finding my audience. I've already chosen (or the other way around, maybe) Young Adult; within this category I think I can move through other genres, I mean Horror, Mystery, Romance... as long as my audience doesn't change I feel I have some freedom with the thematic of the story. Since what I've read most of my life is mystery, thrillers and horror, I've decided to try my hand at what I know best; that's how I got to where I am today.
I've been thinking about a compelling story, because it's meant to be short I think I will be able to get a finished product in one month; I've done my research and now, I'm starting to write it. I'm already in love with it so, I hope, soon I'll be able to let you all know what magazine to buy...
I'll tell you all about it the next time. Wish me luck!