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?
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