Posted by: Kerry Gans | April 8, 2014

Accretion and Your Writing Career

Accretion, according to Webster’s dictionary, is “a gradual process in which layers of a material are formed as small amounts are added over time.” According to science, the planets of our solar system formed via this process. The sun’s gravity pulled in millions of small pieces of rock and debris into its orbit and formed an accretion disk. The rocks and debris in this disk banged into each other, some sticking together, and as they stuck their own gravitational pull increased, pulling even more debris into the lump, eventually building the planets.

I think a writing career is also built by accretion.

Like most writers, I’ve been writing a long time. I have many pieces written, all swirling around me like an accretion disk. And now, after a long, long time, some are starting to stick.

Last year, I had my first short story published in a magazine. This year, I had my first poem published in an anthology. I am writing a genealogy book on my family history. The version for my family has already been printed and distributed–the public version will hopefully be available by May. So that will be three pieces out on the market, aside from all the blog posts here on The Author Chronicles, on my own blog, and as a guest blogger.

Accretion. My writing bio is growing, one piece at at time.

I think that’s how it is with most of us–we write and write and try and try, and then suddenly a piece “hits.” And then another follows. And another. And the more that hit, the more get picked up. Momentum builds. It is the old idea of success breeding success.

Of course, not everything we write will get published. Every writer has her own personal Oort cloud of writing that will never see the sun, forever relegated to the icy outer limits of our writing career. But every one of those played a part in the gravitational dance that led us to our first success. A tug here, a nudge there, an unplanned detour… No piece of writing is ever really wasted.

So don’t despair if your writing career seems to be moving slowly. For years, I have been fighting the frustration of working so hard and nothing seeming to come of it, too, so I understand. But this year I was able to look back and see the beginnings of success. And I was able to look back on those years where “nothing was happening” and see that I was laying essential foundations, both in craft and in networking that helped get me here.

Just keep writing. Remember that every craft technique you master, every writing-related friend you make, every piece you write (no matter how bad), is building your accretion disk. If you keep it all moving, eventually your career will start to build. The right pieces will come together.

And once they do, there’s no fighting the momentum. Gravity always wins.


  1. An encouraging post. I never thought of it like that, but what you say is so true, Kerry. It’s hard to be patient and wait for gravity to take over.


    • I find patience hard. Persistence is easier. But I am finding that the more I write, the more I put out there, the more I connect with other writers/agents/editors, the more my career starts to move. Still slowly, but finally something tangible!


  2. […] 3. This is a process of accretion. […]


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