What I know To Be True - A Writer's Perspective
I've been a published author for 7 months now and a writer since I first learned to scrawl letters on a page (my handwriting hasn't actually improved much since then). I've learned a lot of 'truths' in my 28 years (yes, I know that's not a big number). Some were learned fairly easily, others, painfully hard. So today's blog post will be sharing those truths. Maybe it will spare someone from having to learn the hard way themselves. Maybe you'll find a common learning experience and be able to share a smile or laugh while reading it.
1) If writing is in your blood, you'll never lose the passion for it.
I knew I wanted to become a published author in high school, particularly my senior year. I loved to write. After taking a creative writing class that year, my inspiration took off like a rocket, and by the time I graduated, I had a binder full of ideas, stories, poetry, song lyrics, and the first rough (very rough) drafts of a few novels. Fast forward another year or so and I was married and we had a new baby. Life got crazy. I still found time to write: I cranked out the second draft of Dark Mountains while on bed rest and recuperating from the birth of my son. But between those first milestones, and the birth of our second child 4 years later, writing, or at least the strong desire to publish, was put on the back burner. Though my time for writing was drastically reduced, I still managed to write with the same passion I'd always felt: long and winding emails, Christmas newsletters, detailed Facebook posts, stories for my children, etc. Once my kids started school and I had more time, I found that I hadn't lost my 'writing edge'. I had merely added experiences I could flavor my writing with.
I firmly believe this can be said for any career. Family: your spouse and children, should never be put on the back burner. They are the most important things in your life and should always remain so. They will also provide you with a plethora of ideas to inject into your writing.
3) You will never have enough time to write.
3) Life is hard - Use it!
4) Life also rocks - Use it too!
There's just as much good as there is bad in life. Sometimes they seem unevenly matched. For grief there is also new life. For pain there is also joy. For hardship there is also relief. All these things, the pull and push of life, can make us better writers... If we don't shy away from using what life hands us.
5) Your children will amaze you AND annoy you.
Sometimes one right after the other. Sometimes at the same time. Sometimes a lot of one and only a bit of the other. But regardless of how many times they weigh on either, you will thank whatever God you believe in, for giving them to you. You can also use this in your writing. Even characters that are children have to be more than one dimensional. And if you write children's or YA, you will have large amount of inspiration to pull from.
6) Letting something get under your skin is a bad idea.
A bad review. No reviews. An editor that sends back your manuscript with so much red ink it looks like it's covered in blood. The fiftieth rejection letter from an agent. A cover that keeps getting rejected by the self-publishing program. Not being able to get copyright for use of a picture or name. A negative comment in your blog. Etc. These things will piss you off. They might even make you cry. Or yell. Sometimes they will make you do something very stupid like ranting on a public forum where everyone can see. Letting these negative things keep bugging you makes the original problem bigger than it ever was. Have your cry, yell it out, and move on. You'll only raise your blood pressure or have a heart attack if you dwell on it.
7) Don't write to get rich.
For a few reasons. The most obvious being that there's a very slim chance you will actually make money writing, let alone a lot of money.
The less obvious, but more important reason, is your motivation. If making money is your motivation, you had better try being a stockbroker instead if a writer. Too many authors (that usually start out amazing), begin churning out story after story (that sound more and more like the same thing only with different characters), or stretching out stories that should have ended a few books before, just to make more money.
If you aren't writing because you love writing, you shouldn't BE writing. Money can't go with you when you die but great written words will live on long after you are gone.