There seems to be a continuing debate among new writers about whether you can garner any agent interest if you don’t have an MFA or writing credits. Many people think without some kind of publication under your belt, agents are unlikely to take you on as a debut author. There are others who believe if your writing is good, and your premise unique, agents will be willing to take a chance on you.
I have been wavering on this point. I question how I’m going to get noticed among the hundreds of manuscripts agents receive a day if I don’t stand out. When I write my bio at the end of my query, and dance around the fact I’ve never been published, it seems I am truly grasping at straws.
With this in mind, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I enrolled in a creative writing course which pushed me outside my comfort zone. I was required to write short stories and flash fiction just for the sake of honing my craft. It was daunting and scary, but what I found was I liked being pushed. I enjoyed being forced to think about something beside my MS and my endless quest to write the “perfect” query.
What I learned was when I pushed beyond what I thought I was capable of, my writing became better. I’m still trying to stretch my limits, and recently asked a fellow writer if I could guest post a review on her website. Again, I was uncomfortable taking on this new task, but enjoyed focusing on some other aspect of writing beyond my current manuscript. It taught me once more that with each new writing experience, I could perfect my craft and use the experience to influence my current manuscript. It also gave me a writing credit I did not have before.
Fellow writers, how do you push yourself out of your comfort zone? Do you blog? Guest post? Write short stories, poetry or flash fiction? Do you feel like taking those risks makes you a better writer? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Guest post on www.undergroundbookreviews.com