Finding a Home for Your Story: Advice on Publication

Way back when I was about 22-years-old, I took a poetry class that changed my writing forever. I’m by no means a poet. I barely managed to write any decent poetry during the class. And since leaving the class, I’ve hardly ever written a poem – except for the occasional one that is born out of a purely emotional moment. But my lack of poetry skills isn’t what I took away from that class. It was actually quite the opposite. I walked away from that course as a newly-infused writer full of confidence and a sense of hope. As writers, we should always be filled with a sense of hope as we tell our stories. And we should always be hopeful that our work will find its intended audience.

That is probably the biggest take away that I received from my professor. She often spoke about “finding a home for your writing.” At first, we all thought she was talking about publication and finding the right magazine or journal to accept your work. That’s not remotely what she meant.

She told us a story about a series of poems she had written, which subsequently got rejected from every place she submitted to. Discouraged, she put them away in a file cabinet and forgot about them. Then, one day years later, she was going through the file cabinet and found them again. She was experiencing some personal difficulties at the time and her own words ended up being exactly what she needed to hear in that moment.

“Sometimes, you won’t always reach the broad audience base every writer dreams of,” she said bluntly. “Sometimes you’ll find that what you created will only reach a few people or even just one: yourself.”

The silence after she said those words covered the room in an impenetrable cloud of thought. I scanned the pensive faces of my fellow students as they digested what she’d just said.

Sensing many crushed dreams in that moment, my professor smiled as she added, “But you also have to keep in mind that your work serves a higher purpose. Everything you pour onto the page is intended for someone to read – to provide someone with whatever comfort they need in that moment. It will always find its intended audience so don’t be discouraged by your words. Use them. They will always be hope for someone who needs to read them.”

To this day, I still get chills when I think back to that moment in class. Every writer has a moment when they defined themselves as a writer – and that was mine, at the back of the classroom, quietly absorbing this poet’s wise words. Yes, we all want to be discovered as the next J.K. Rowling and have our stories printed for the masses, but those grandiose dreams are really us getting ahead of ourselves.

The journey to finding a home for our story doesn’t begin at the end of the road with a publishing contract and an advance; it begins with ourselves. We are our story’s first home. We are the ones who need to take comfort in our own words – after all, they live within us. Finding the hope within our writing will have a ripple effect. So far, I’ve had a couple short stories published and each one was the most honest version of the story in my mind that I managed to tell on paper.

See where I’m going with this? When you stop writing for the masses and write for yourself, you will be free to create the purest form of your story – and that version always manages to find its intended audience, whether large or small.

Author Interview with C.L. Williams

Dragon Soul Press sat down to interview Author C.L. Williams!

With a goal of 35 publications within one year, it seems nothing can stop him!


 

How many hours a day do you write?

I don’t normally go by hours. I set a daily goal of 2,000 words. If I feel I can do more than that, I keep going. If I need to stop then I stop.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Usually both. On days when I devote my entire day solely to writing, I am usually proud of how much I get done, but by the end of the day, my bed is calling me.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

The internet. Like many other authors, I’ll go online to look up something for a story or a clever word to use in a poem. Next thing I know I’m checking Facebook or watching stupid videos on Youtube.

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

It varies. After writing several poetry books, I was asked to be more personal with my poems and I obliged. After that, I was asked if I could write more uplifting or positive poems and I also obliged. Right now, I’m expanding into fiction and I’m just writing in other genres to see if I can write a good story in a specific genre.

Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

Unless they are writing nonfiction or something like analytics, then no.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Things do improve. It takes time (something my younger self will despise) but you will see improvements!

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Last year, I backed a Kickstarter for a comic con near me and my tier was to be a vendor at said comic con. Not only did I make my money back from selling books, but I managed to meet a lot of incredible people, learned a lot about presenting myself to the public, and I did a lot of networking. There were also people there that run other conventions and I was asked to be part of them. Also, you’d be surprised how many people will buy poetry books at comic cons.

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

When I was a teenager, I wrote an anti-suicide poem. Little did I know, a friend of mine was having some problems and cried after reading it. That friend is now a husband and father.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I currently have three unpublished books, all planned for release later this year. I managed to release five books in 2018. I know I can release three more this year (I released a novella in February). No half-finished books, but I have several ideas written in my notebook or the notes app in my phone.

Where can readers learn more about you?

Learn more about me through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and my website.