Guest Blogger Cecil Murphey's Advice for Writers in the New Year
He called and said, "I haven't had a book contract in six years." He had published six books in the late 1980s. He went on to ask me if there could be age discrimination because he's 67. I assured him that wasn't the case. For about 20 minutes he told me of the terrible ordeals of trying to publish in today's market.
I explored a number of possible reasons before I finally asked, "How does your writing today compare with what you did twenty years ago?" He assured me that his current work was as good as the former.
I didn't say this to him but I thought, that's the problem. Your answer should have been, "It's much better now."
I've noticed that many writers reach a certain achievement level, develop a following, and they stop improving. That's sad. We can always get better.
One of the things I've recently done to improve my writing was to buy a new English book. I'd never been able to remember terms like restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses. This book uses essential and nonessential clauses. That makes sense.
I decided to stick with that book and keep learning. My new goal is to submit manuscripts so good that frustrated editors will exclaim, "I couldn't find even a misplaced comma."
I'm aware that the book business is having health problems right now (like all the other industries). My recent proposals might not make the contract stage. I won't like that; however, I want to be able to say that the writing is better. That makes me more competitive. Most of all, it's a good feeling to know that I've improved and that my latest manuscript is better than the one before it.
To learn more about Cecil Murphey, New York Times bestselling co-author of 90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN, visit www.TheManBehindTheWords.com.