Friday, March 04, 2016

14 Truths About Being a Writer I Wish I'd Known Sooner

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Choosing to stand up and be identified as a writer can be a scary thing. 

The road is rarely a straight path to publication. 

These are some things that I hope will help you stay the course as you continue on your own writing journey

1. It’s an eternal struggle between you and the blank page. Unfortunately, it doesn’t get a whole lot easier. The doubts still crowd your mind, and fear still whispers in your ear no matter how long you’re in this business.

2. Talent without persistence is worthless. So much of what we need to know to be successful, no matter what our goals, can be learned.

3. You’re stronger than you think. If I had known when I started, the hard work and emotional toll getting to this point would take. I would have quite because I would never have dreamed I could do it.

4. You can’t plot a course always expecting to be the exception to the rule. Things generally happen in a certain way, over a certain time-frame. As believers we know that God can step in at any time and turn things upside down. But expecting that to always happen just isn’t reasonable. We need to do the work and celebrate when the exceptions do occur.

5. Quitting is the only path to failure. I’ve found writing success, but a lot of it has come simply because I refused to give up.

6. God is the One who directs my path—and yours. I can (and will continue) to make plans—but I stay flexible. I would never have even dreamed of the opportunities God has given me.

7. There’s a big difference between goals and dreams. They both have their place in the writer’s life, but a goal is something who’s outcome I can influence. A dream is something I wish would happen. It’s the difference between having the goal of getting a book published or having a best seller. I can achieve the first by hard work, but the second is ultimately up to God.

8. Detours aren’t the same thing as roadblocks. My path to publication has zigged and zagged so many times it looks like the path Mother Goose’s Crooked Old Man left behind. But more frequently than not, those detours ended up getting me further ahead, faster.

9. Change is the industry standard in publishing. It’s not possible to base your path on what has gone before. Technology is moving too fast. We either embrace the challenge or we fall by the wayside.

10. Generosity will always get you farther than selfishness. I have never once regretted putting someone else before me. I’d even go so far as to say that I’ve build my career (or at least my platform) by promoting others.

11. Your reputation is worth solid gold, but it’s not something I can buy. I can only achieve it and keep it by guarding it. I always try to communicate honestly and above all, keep my word.

12. The joy is in the journey. The people I’ve met, the things I’ve gotten to experience have been the high points, not the achievements.

13. Publication isn’t the sole definition of writing success. Touching someone’s life through the words I pen, whether it’s on a blog or a book or an article, is way more important than a book contract.

14. There are parts of the job you’ll hate. Writing is work. And like any work we do, it’s made up of tasks. There are some tasks you’ll love and some you’ll hate. But they’re all important and part of being a writer, so we learn to do them well.

These are just a few of the things I wish I’d known when I started. I think my expectations would have been more realistic and the heartbreak a little less frequent. Although it could be that someone did, and I just wasn’t paying attention. 

Edie Melson—author, blogger, speaker—has written numerous books, including While My Soldier Serves, Prayers for Those with Loved Ones in the Military. She’s also the military family blogger at Her popular blog for writers, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month, and she’s the Director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers ConferenceConnections: Social Media & Networking Techniques for Writers is a print expansion of her bestselling ebook on social media. She’s the Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy, the Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine, and the Senior Editor for Connect on Twitter and Facebook.  


Janice L. Dick said...

Most of these truths I'm already aware of, but being reminded is helpful and encouraging. Thanks for posting this.

Maresa said...

Thanks, Edie. Needed this today. My book's path to publication has been strewn with road bumps and detours lately. Definitely crooked. I found myself nodding yes after each of these points. Excellent post.

Andrea Rand said...

Thank you, Edie. I am new to Novel Rocket but thoroughly enjoyed, and certainly identified with, this post that arrived in my inbox today. I will be re-posting, twittering, etc. because you've said some great stuff!

Richard Mabry said...

Edie, Like most lessons in life, I learned these the hard way. Then again, I had no intention of ever being a writer (unless you count textbooks and professional papers). Thanks for reminding us of all these.