There’s so much advice given to writers these days that it’s hard to decide what to listen to and what to discard.
Here are a few misconceptions many writers have that I encourage you to think about before accepting them as truth.
- Write well and you’ll succeed. Actually, writing well is necessary, but there’s a lot of bad writing that’s being published by major publishers simply because the author is famous or has a proven track record of being able to sell books. What you really need to do is write a good story or book that people will tell others about.
- Rejection of your proposal means the idea isn’t worth pursuing and you should try something else. Instead of trying something else, consider trying somewhere (in the case of a publisher) or someone (in the case of an agent) else. When I wrote for national magazines, I thoroughly analyzed the publication (how often published, readership, advertisers, what percentage of articles was staff written, article topics, etc.) before I sent my query letter. I even tried to find something the managing editor wrote, then mirror his/her voice in my query letter. I experienced very few rejections because I knew what my customer liked, used, and needed.
- Write with the intent of getting published. Some of your best writing will occur when you write for fun. Only a small percentage of writers gets published and an even smaller percentage is able to make money, much less make a living writing. It can–and does–happen, but you’ll enjoy your writing (which will probably also make you a better writer) if you write because you love it, not because you want to make money at it.
- Future success is more likely if you’ve had past success. While it is true that if you’ve had past success, you’ve got a proven track record, it’s also true that editors who don’t know you and your work may have other writers they like to work with. When that occurs, you’re simply starting over with a new market or editor and your past success is just that.
I encourage you to keep writing. As I’ve said so often, you’re the only one who can write what you write. If you don’t share your writing with the world, it can’t enjoy your ideas, your characters, your stories, your insights, your wisdom. Happy writing!