Wednesday, June 21, 2017

(My) 5 deadly sins of a writing "career"

Where this idea came from, I’m not sure. There are, of course seven deadly sins, but I’m opting for five so far as writing/writing career.

Not knowing your end goal

For me, it wasn’t a “writing career” (emphasis career). Though I’d written as a hobby all my life, when I retired I decided to see if I could actually get published. So publication was my end goal. I succeeded beyond my wildest imagination in both traditional and indie publishing. I had no dreams of being sent on book launch tours with the wining and dining and public attention. A shy sort, I don’t much like local book events, although I do participate on a limited basis.

Not being satisfied with your accomplishments

There are thousands (millions?) of writers out there. Some of them are definitely better than I am--and I’m not talking about those whose names you hear all the time and which I won’t mention. But I’ve achieved my own version of “success”, and I’m content.

Writing what you think will sell and not what you feel  should be written

Face it--we all know what flies off the shelves in many quarters. But it’s not me. I’ve written one book where I felt I crossed the line  (in some respects) of what I should’ve written. It wasn’t “dirty” nor “obscene”, but I let an editor tell me not to rewrite what I knew should’ve been done. It was a good story with a moral theme, but I’m not really proud of it.
I’m working on a novel right now which deals with (as I always do) real people and real life, but I already know I can go back and make it more acceptable. Acceptable to whom? To me. I’m the one whose name is on it. And I never want my grandchildren to grow up and read something I’ve written and think, “Ooooo, Mimi!” You know, “to thine own self be true” and all that stuff.

Not trying to make the next book better than the last

There’s always room for improvement in any area of life. For a writer, whether it’s plot, character, dialogue, or just grammar and syntax, he/she can always do better. You’ve got to work at it, but challenge is the spice of life.

Not writing

Okay, so your last book didn’t sell up to your expectations. Maybe it got some nasty reviews. Maybe you keep getting rejection slips!!  Maybe you don’t feel you’ve attained the attention you wanted. A whining writer is non-productive. If you really want to be a best-seller and honestly believe it’s not going to happen, then quit and do something else. But don’t bite off the end of your nose to spite your face. Either write for the love of writing and earn your living doing something else, or don’t do it at all.

The opinions expressed in this blog are my own and may/may not be relevant to the reader--who is free to ignore everything!

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