I asked Austin Boyd, Mount Hermon friend, faculty member and best-selling author, if I could quote him in response to 2010 Writers Conference faculty member Mary DeMuth’s FB question as to how long it took to finally get published. Here is his response. Love his realism!
“How many hours did I write before I was published?” I’ve lost count.
Like Forrest Gump, running across the country because he needed to, I was penning poetry from age 10 to 23. Reams of it, because it was gushing out and I had to capture it. How many hours? Conservatively, 2000.
I dropped poetry “cold turkey” when I became a Navy pilot; writing quatrains in the ready room before a mission to hunt down Russians can ruin your career. So, I wrote prose… dozens of articles, news clips, magazine blurbs, technical papers and a 626 page thesis that would crush your foot if it fell on you. How many hours in 20 years? Conservatively, 5000.
I spent 10 years on my first novel, The Evidence. I revised it through three developmental edits and $7000, learning the craft and accumulating freelancer edit expenses. I read more than 25 Writer’s Digest books, including everything published about novels from 1994-2004. I counted the words of all those versions, well over 10,000. How many hours? I kept a log. Just shy of 2000.
So, it’s a wag… but 9000 hours, give or take 10%. It’s an estimate; age 10 was 45 years ago.
I wouldn’t trade away a minute of those hours. They were the formation of who I am. God placed in me this strange need to compose with words. It’s my music, my greatest love outside my wife and kids. And I kept every word I’ve ever written. None of those hours were wasted. They define me.”
So my word to you? Exercise your gift of writing no matter now long it takes! After all–it’s honestly not about getting published… it’s the process! Learn the craft to the best of your ability by attending Mount Hermon Writers Conference (or other Writers Conferences), reading all you can on your genre, and letting God put that learning to good use in changing people in whatever way HE wants to through your written words. Have at it, for His sake!
See mounthermon.org/writers for information on the 2010 Writers Conference. You won’t be sorry!