#IWSG – So you want to be a writer…. (pt 8)

Once again, it is time for me to ramble on writing for the Insecure Writers Support monthly post. In the past, I have written about things you should be doing as a writer.

However, this is the:

What *NOT* to do Edition.

There are jillions of articles on what to do if you want to be a writer, but not too many on what you should NOT do. So using my vast knowledge of all of those things (which means, either YES I have done it, or YES I have had it done to me), I shall impart my words of wisdom.

  1. DO NOT visit a big bookstore and get discouraged because it is filled to the brim with other books and then think “what in the heck could I write that would possibly compete with all this?” Do not think “I could never get in here!” because actually, you can. Four years ago (or so) I made friends with a writer, Jennifer Gracen. I can’t remember if she’d actually published anything at that time, but she had stories written. Today, you can find her The HARRISONS trilogy in Barnes & Noble. On the shelves. Because she didn’t give up.
  2. Which leads to: DO NOT give up. Keep writing.
  3. DO NOT compare yourself to others. Some people are more successful, some are less successful. It’s a big freaking crap shoot, this writing thing. Some people who appear – and ARE – successful still lose their publishers, their contracts, their writing life. And I’m talking bona fide New York Times best sellers, too.
  4. DO NOT think you know all the answers. You don’t. Study. Learn. Join groups. Get honest, true feedback.
  5. DO NOT think that writing is the hard part. It’s not. It’s the easiest thing in the world. Editing and marketing and developing relationships is the hard part. And selling your book. That’s a bitch too.
  6. DO NOT bug authors you like. DO NOT be mean to others who might be able to help you. DO NOT expect people to jump up and down and bend over backwards and lots of other metaphors of the same to help you. Not unless you have developed a relationship with them and help promote them and support them.
  7. DO NOT think you can do it all yourself if you plan to self-publish. Hire professional editors and cover designers. Don’t skimp. Find the best person for YOU and YOUR work. DO NOT hang onto your ego in this process. Listen to what they have to say, and be willing to learn.
  8. DO NOT share your work with your best friend and your mom and expect real, useful feedback. They love you. They want to make you happy. They DO NOT want to hurt your feelings. Find people who will be honest with you. (And, in my experience, stay away from your English teacher too.)
  9. DO NOT, for the love of goddess and all that is holy, think your work cannot be improved. It can. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but check out the acknowledgements in your favorite book. Many of the authors recognized at least one if not up to FOUR editors who helped shape the book and make it better.
  10. DO NOT think your work is the next best coming of bookdom. It might be. It might not be.
  11. And finally, DO NOT give up. If you’re a writer, then WRITE. Don’t let naysayers stop you. Learn the craft. Write. Write. Edit. Write. Edit. Write. Edit. Edit. Edit. DO NOT GIVE UP.

Insecure Writers Support Group

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About dSavannah

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17 Responses to #IWSG – So you want to be a writer…. (pt 8)

  1. Do NOT ask someone to read your story and, when they give you solid feedback (basically exactly what is wrong with the story with examples), you reject their feedback because they’re the only person to have said that. It’s possibly they have told you something because either everyone else doesn’t know how to write a story, or everyone else was being kind to you. Take all criticisms seriously.

    • dSavannah dSavannah says:

      Amen. This one is super important. You may, as a writer, decide not to accept the criticism, but you should consider it as a way to improve your work.

      So many writers tend to get so tied into their work that they can’t see any thing that needs to be improved – and that’s their downfall.

      Thanks for weighing in, pardner!

  2. Great list! I like how most of them are about finding a balance between arrogance and self-doubt with enough confidence to move forward but not so much as to resist improvement.

    @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

    • dSavannah dSavannah says:

      Again, “balance” is super important in writing, and you used the word I didn’t think of while ‘vomiting’ out this list. The whole thing is a learning process. And it’s not easy, but I think you would agree it’s worth it.

  3. I think this is real encouragement. It’s so easy for us to be ‘down’ on ourselves. It’s also easy to fall into the trap of thinking too much of ourselves. This advice shows we need to be balanced and realistic.
    Thanks for the donuts. I mean the Do Nots.

  4. Pamela says:

    Thank you so much for this – really, really helpful. Love all these but especially number 11.

  5. Elaine LeDoux says:

    Great advice and interesting even to us non-writers! One never knows

  6. Excellent list– shared it on Twitter. Could you connect your tweet button to your twitter account so it is easy to mention you ? :)

  7. ahtdoucette says:

    Great list! Definitely some good tips to live by – or not. ;-)

  8. Loni Townsend says:

    Hehe, there’s a healthy dose of realism for you!

  9. This is an excellent list!

    You said it like it is…straight up! :)
    I think this writing life is a never-ending learning process.
    EVERY DAY we learn something new.
    Thank you for sharing!

    • dSavannah dSavannah says:

      Thank you so much for stopping by and for your comments! Yes, it is a never-ending learning process. … whether we want it to be or not!

      (PS Thanks for tweeting this!)

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