5 Myths About Writers and Writing

Hi, guys! My name is Gloria Oliver and I’m a writingholic. I’ve been writing off and on for over thirty years. Pleased to meet you.

Roxanne’s been kind enough to allow me to take up some of her space. So I hope you’ll enjoy my meager efforts to entertain you.

I thought it might be fun to spotlight and talk about a few myths about writers and writing. Feel free to add more or throw your own opinions on those I’ve listed down in the comments section.

1. I just finished a manuscript so it’s ready to send out into the world as is! – Hah. I wish! Unfortunately, writing “The End” only means that more work is about to begin.

Regardless of how excited or fabulous a story seems during that first draft, it’s still just a first draft. It will have awkward phrasing, misspelled words, missing words, problems with pacing, theme, consistency issues and who knows what else. While you should feel a huge sense of accomplishment with the fact you actually finished the story or novel, there is still much more to be done before it’s ready to be seen by a publisher.

2. Once I find an agent or publisher, I’ll be able to retire. – Unfortunately, this one doesn’t work that way either. Only one to three percent of authors actually make enough money from their novels to make it a full time career. And normally these same authors already have close to twenty or more books out there before they can make a living at it.

3. I’ve got a publishing contract and I don’t have to do anything else to become a bestselling author – Nope, not true. If anything, once you get a contract (as if writing and polishing the novel, as well as creating a sharp query letter, synopsis, etc. in the first place weren’t bad enough) the hardest part of the job is actually about to begin.

As technology makes the creation of books and e-books easier and easier, the competition you go up against increases exponentially. Readers find themselves flooded with options. As an author, you have to try to connect with readers, build a following, make yourself available, and market the book without becoming a pest. (Actually, anymore, they suggest for authors to have been doing all these things to get known before the book is ever even signed!) With major publishers you have a maximum shelf life of three months before the book gets pulled- a very short time to get the word out.

4. I’ve got control over all facets of the novel, like choosing a cover – Wrong! You’ll get to work with your editor and make needed changes to the manuscript, but with major publishers all other facets of the book are out of your control. Back cover blurb and the cover image are all in the hands of the publisher’s artists and marketing departments. With small presses you do have a little more input, but again, the final decisions are up to the publisher. And honestly, they should be. They’re the ones putting up the cash to get the cover done and the book printed for sale.

5. You should only write when you’re in the mood – Nope! Writing is like any other job. When it’s time to do it, you just plow through it. The good thing is that if you set a schedule for when you write, your psyche will get used to that and expect the work and will therefore be more ready to comply. So build up that creative muscle and flex it regularly. 😛

If some of these caught you by surprise, you’re not alone. I know a few of these shocked me pretty good back in the day. Writing is work. And like all work, you have to get to know the rules and how best to go about it to get better at it. Having readers understand all we go through too can be helpful. Makes them appreciate even more the final product created to give them some fun entertainment.

Are there any writer or writing myths that you’ve been exposed to? Please share!

You can find Gloria on her website at http://www.gloriaoliver.com/

One Response to 5 Myths About Writers and Writing

  • Great post! It’s enough to make me weep sometimes, the misconceptions that come out of the mouths of new and wanna-be writers. The general public also suffers under the illusion that if your book hasn’t been published (or has, but isn’t sitting there on the shelf with the best-sellers) that it must be lousy. They have absolutely no clue how many great books and excellent writers suffer in obscurity because of the intense competition and major obstacles writers face.

    Or, how many of you have had some naive soul come up and say, “You’re a writer, aren’t you? I’ve got this great idea for a novel. You can write it, and we can split the profits.”

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