12 Most Earth-Shattering Realizations That Every Writer Needs to Come To

12 Most Earth-Shattering Realizations That Every Writer Needs to Come To

 

Whether it’s starting your blog or publishing your first book, every writer has mixed emotions of excitement and trepidation when it comes to releasing their words to the world. You put your heart and soul into your writing. When you finally have the opportunity and courage to make the big leap, you wait with bated breath for the world’s reaction.

If you haven’t taken the time to sit under the counsel of experienced mentors, you will eventually come to these earth-shattering realizations on your own. Perhaps reading them here will lessen the blow and give you some perspective.

1. Writing is work

As much you may love to write, serious writing requires work. It requires writing when you don’t feel like writing. It requires thoughtful consideration of your writing from the reader’s perspective. Does it make sense? What haven’t I told them that they all they need to know?

2. You will write some really bad stuff

Even the best of writers write some really bad stuff — we don’t see it because it gets cut out or improved during the revision process. Don’t be afraid of doing bad writing. Get it out of your system so that the really good stuff can follow.

3. Revision is required

The first draft is never the final draft. This is part of the work of writing. We write, we revise and we revise some more.

4. You can always improve

Even best-selling authors and Pulitzer Prize winners have room for improvement in their writing. If it’s true for them, it’s true for you. Your best work is yet to come.

5. Perfectionism can be fatal

Even though improvement is always possible, eventually, you need to have a final draft, ready for submission. Don’t let perfectionism keep you paralyzed.

6. Rejection is guaranteed

It has been said that the one guarantee that every writer has is that they will experience rejection. It may include rejection from agents, editors, publishers and even readers. The key is to consider your rejections as part of the process. Every “no” brings you one step closer to a “yes.” Many of the best writers were rejected dozens of times before someone decided their writing had promise.

7. Agents and editors are subjective

Just because one or more agents or editors hate your work doesn’t mean it isn’t any good. Just because one literary magazine passes on your piece doesn’t mean that the next one will. Keep submitting.

8. Publication doesn’t equal sales

As writers, we can get so focused on getting our book published that we forget that books are written to be read, not just published. Publication is huge, but people need to buy your book in order to read it.

9. You have competition

As unique as you may consider your topic or your story, you will have competition. Whether you’re writing fiction, memoir, nonfiction or poetry, there will likely be hundreds, if not thousands of other books that fit in the same genre and topic category. You will need to find a way to make yours stand out.

10. Amazon is a big place

Whether your publisher makes the placement for you or you self-publish on Amazon, remember — almost everyone else has their book listed there as well. How will people find your book, out of all the books listed, on that mega-site?

11. Marketing equals sales

Many writers make the mistake of assuming that once they have their book written and available for purchase that their job is done. Far from it! Although your publisher, if you have one, will do some marketing for you, the majority of the marketing for new authors and lesser-known authors lands on their own shoulders.

12. Sales equal readers

As much as you may hate the thought of marketing your writing, without marketing you won’t have sales. If you don’t have sales, you don’t have readers. Isn’t the whole point of publishing your writing to have it read? If you want your work read, you’ll need to find a way to market and sell your writing.

There you have it. Choosing to share your writing with the world is not for the faint of heart. That being said, sharing your writing with the world can also be the most exhilarating and fulfilling experience of your life. It is all a matter of keeping realities in mind and not allowing the negative experiences to rule your perspective. The words of Winston Churchill are a great reminder: “Success is not final; failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”

Which one of these 12 items do you struggle with most as a writer?

Photo credit: Big Stock Photos

Kathleen Krueger

http://kathleenkrueger.com

Kathleen is a full time freelance writer from Minnesota. She enjoys sharing tips and encouragement with freelance writers new to the trade through her personal blog and social media. For all writers, Kathleen reminds them that the title of "artist" applies to those who paint with words just as much as those who paint with a brush.

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15 comments
lindsaywriter
lindsaywriter

Great article! All very true. I think too that if the list discourages you, find something else to do. But if it just makes you want to keep writing, you're in.

NicoleStracek
NicoleStracek

What an excellent article Kathy! It makes me feel human again and connected to others who have the same fears and trepidations I do. I have found that being a writer does require more work than I expected it to be - mostly I struggle with how to stand out from others and also put myself out there for the world to see. I am terrified still and I've been writing since I was 12! I find the whole experience similar to wandering around naked in public and it's by choice! Who does that!?! The good, the bad and the ugly all wrapped up into one big gift! I truly enjoyed reading this so much and wishing luck and perseverance to all my fellow writers!

withwoman
withwoman

Perfectionism is my greatest struggle. My rational mind understands that while striving for excellence is a good thing, perfectionism is a surefire way to never finish anything, some small part of my brain clings to the idea that I can (and should) reach that impossible standard.

Larry J Dunlap
Larry J Dunlap

5. Perfectionism can be fatal, could be something to watch out for. While I've been a writer for most of my life, from copy writer to technical requirements to training curricula, I'm transitioning to authorship. The book I began writing has taken three times as long to write as I projected. Part of it is the complex (note: not confusing, just textured) story but a lot of it is learning the craft on the fly, which is no joke. Whenever I finish a draft and come back around to check the first chapter I spot too many flaws. I won't feel comfortable until, like the inspectors who only allow a certain amount of fly larvae in our food, I feel my defects are small enough to let pass. I'm getting to that place when I can look at several places in my book and think, "You know, that doesn't all together suck!" Must be getting near the end.

SherrieLeeHurd
SherrieLeeHurd

Thank you so much for this post. As you know, I have been struggling with many of these issues. I am here again, at my desk. I dust myself off and keep typing. :)

NicoleStracek
NicoleStracek

@withwoman I feel this way ALL THE TIME. I have since I was a little girl and  not just with writing either, with just about everything I do! It spills into almost all creative parts of my writing and drives me mad with fear!  I try tell myself when I struggle with perfection that really, it's never perfect and you can always make adjustments and change it later on. At least that's what I'm told ;)

crafterofwords
crafterofwords

@withwoman  Yes. That is a common struggle with the best writers I know. It is part of what makes your writing so good and yet it is also what often keeps it from being shared and read, which is a shame.


Don't keep your words hidden too long.

crafterofwords
crafterofwords

@Larry J Dunlap  Yes, it can be difficult to distinguish when you've crossed over from necessary improvement to obsessive scrutiny. Good luck on the book! 

Larry J Dunlap
Larry J Dunlap

@NicoleStracek @withwomanI almost don't have a right to comment but I just couldn't help it. In the way that everyone's fingerprint is unique, every writer's voice is unique. There really is no perfect other than expressing your voice as clearly as you can. The caveat is well expressed in Gladwell's Outliers book, you still must become your own expert, hone your craft, and learn all the skills, then let it flow.

Larry J Dunlap
Larry J Dunlap

@crafterofwords @Larry J DunlapI think the key is having a basic understanding of your own standards. I can't finish until I reach that. However, one can't maintain an unrealistic standard. There are writers who I aspire to emulate that I just cannot. I have to know when I've done the best I can, found the best help I can afford, have created the best effort I'm capable of. Then let it fly.

Larry J Dunlap
Larry J Dunlap

@NicoleStracek @Larry J Dunlap@withwomanIf I make one final comment, the greatest epiphany in a long life came the day I realized I had to be my own authority. In the end we're born and die alone, it follows, we alone are responsible for what we do in between. Nothing's more important than our personal standards.

NicoleStracek
NicoleStracek

@Larry J Dunlap @NicoleStracek@withwoman You absolutely have a right to comment! Thank you- I have heard good things about Gladwell's books. I need to add that one back to my "must read" book pile!  I feel that finding the strength to surpass our past insecurities whether about writing or anything else in life comes from a place that only we can create. 

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