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.
- 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.
- Which leads to: DO NOT give up. Keep writing.
- 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.
- DO NOT think you know all the answers. You don’t. Study. Learn. Join groups. Get honest, true feedback.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- DO NOT think your work is the next best coming of bookdom. It might be. It might not be.
- 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.