Official Seal of Approval

6:00 AM Elizabeth Seckman 40 Comments


 Years ago, a writer told me that if she couldn't get a writing contract from a large publishing house, she would quit writing because writers who couldn't make it traditionally were clutter in the world of literature. 
The comment was like a gut punch that caused my very first case of insecurity-induced writer's block. What right did I have to call myself a writer if I didn't have industry validation? 
Should I quit? Was I single-handedly undermining the quality of literature? Was my estimation of self-publishing and small publishing as the equivalent of the brave pioneer in the industry misguided and...dare I say...dangerous???  
Then logic-fed defiance kicked in. Writing isn't brain surgery. Now, that's an occupation that should NEVER be done as a hobby. I 100% adamantly insist that NO ONE should EVER attempt brain surgery without all the validations and credentials required. Attempts at amateur brain surgery is murder. 
DON'T DO IT!!!! It's a BAAAADDD idea! 
But you can be an amateur writer. You can even learn as you go because no one ever keeled over from a poorly written book. 
Honestly, I've decided that it takes some arrogance to think that stories are as critical and dangerous as brain tinkering thus requiring any sort of validation and accreditation. 
Or maybe it wasn't arrogance at all. Maybe it is also insecurity that makes some writers want to clear the field of competition by insisting on yielding authority to gate keepers. 

Who knows! But I'm here with a solution. If you're one of those writers who need a seal of approval to get to work, I made you one. Feel free to wear it with honor as you write on. 



Thank you to this month's awesome co-hosts! Liza at Middle Passages, Shannon Lawrence, Melissa Maygrove, and Olga Godim! Wantt o be part of the insecure crew? Follow the link and join us!Follow the link and join us!

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

40 comments:

  1. I love the seal of approval, ha! As someone who left trad publishing on purpose, I'm afraid that writer might not know much about the realities of traditional publishing.

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    1. This conversation happened years ago and I've since lost contact with her. No idea which route she utlimately took.

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  2. I like the seal of approval :-)

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  3. Well now, that is some seal! It's pretty darn difficult to be traditionally published these days. It's probably not a great idea to fail to consider other options.

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    1. Personally, I believe if you love writing, you'll do it at any level. If you need a big contract in order to write, you're looking for prestige. Now, I would love to write an awesome book that appeals to every reader, but will I quit writing for any other reason other than I lose the desire to write? Nope.

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  4. Love the seal! I still sometimes struggle about the thought that I will never be good enough for others. But I'm good enough for me.

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    1. You're the bomb-digity. My husband found your story on our shared kindle. He asked if he could read it and I said absolutely...take notes so you can give Loni feedback, poor woman is waiting on me and I'm slower than February molasses.

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  5. Ouch, that was a huge gut punch. I'm glad you pushed though and continued on. Great seal!

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    1. I must admit, every time I have to come up with a post on feeling insecure, this conversation is always foremost in my mind.

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  6. LOL!

    Heck with her. You've taken several publishing paths and they all work and count.

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    1. I will add that I think self-published authors also get a nod for being brave entrepreneurs.

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  7. Anonymously Esther O'Neill, East of the Sun, no google account.
    Hi . Indie publishing ? Just online vanity ? - that slur never inflicted on artists or musicians.
    Rewriting a large secition of one book, and several new chapters for another, in a failed attempt to satisfy members of Five, I was ready to give up.

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    1. I'm glad you didn't give up! Good luck on your rewrites.

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    2. Esther, I was wondering...do you have a blog? I tried googling your name but couldn't find one.

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  8. Hahaha Love it! I'm glad you kept writing.

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  9. What if a wonderful non-traditional publishing opportunity came up for that person? I try hard to never say never because you just don't know what might come your way....

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  10. "Clutter in the world of literature!" That is brutal! Good for you, Elizabeth! Keep on pushing back!

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    1. I must admit, those are my words. I don't remember exactly how she said it, but that is how I heard it.

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  11. I didn't want to be part of the games big publishers play. I've learned the person I'm competing with is me.

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    1. That is a healthy attitude that will keep you in the marathon!

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    2. I tried to find your blog but it wasn't connected to your profile!

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  12. There are plenty of very good and successful self/indie/small press published writers out there, and the idea of only being worthwhile with a traditional publisher is quite an archaic one. Some trad books are terrible. Love the seal.

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    1. Things have changed so much in the world of publishing since the comment was made. Perhaps she has changed her mind? I don't know. I lost touch with her.

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  13. LOL! I love that seal of approval. I had someone tell me she was getting an MFA because she wanted to write a book and she was so offended I hadn't started my journey that way. I had some insecurity over it, and then just kept writing. Thankfully, I already knew Dickens and Austen and some of those "greats" didn't have an official seal of approval when they started and if they didn't need one, neither do I. :) And BTW - I don't have a problem with MFAs, I just have a problem if it is stated as a requirement.

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    1. One of the things I love best about writing is that it's accessible by anyone and everyone now. You don't have to have an MFA or be traditionally published. The many journeys from thought to book are as numerous as the ways to get there!

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  14. Best seal ever! I'm putting it on the wall above my desk!
    https://cleemckenziebooks.substack.com/p/welcoming-june

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  15. Yay for you and common sense. The arrogance of some - and what happened to that writer? Still cluttering the world of literature with their arrogance? That's my guess.
    But you, my friend, you're a gem. Love you.
    Thank you for the seal. That's a gem too.

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    1. I am all about common sense. Nothing fancy about my brain. Love to you, too!

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  16. Haha I love the seal! That's beauty! :D

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  17. So did she get published with trad? Sounds pretty arrogant. Even for those that do manage to land a contract, which is a wonderful thing, it doesn't mean success. AND I gotta wonder what her definition of literature is. Seems like most successful trads are genre oriented.
    Sandra sandracox.blogspot.com

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    1. She did. She was as dedicated as she was insecure.

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