What writing myths have you encountered? How can we create a new frame of mind?
Perceptions in Writing Myths
When it comes to writing, whether you’re an experienced author or not, you have stereotypes and perceived notions in your head about what being a writer means. Some of these thoughts may be called Writing Myths. Unless you’ve dealt with it personally, you may not know how much time, effort, and determination it takes to write, edit, and market a book.
Though there are several more than this, here are 5 misconceptions about writing that I would like to clear up! How can we change this frame of mind?
“That’s What My Editor’s For.”
Yes, an editor does read your work to check for errors in grammar, development, etc. They make changes here and there and offer suggestions about what can be improved. They are your guide to improving your writing and offer ideas, but the writer has the final say of the last version of the book.
Editors are not your re-writers. It can be frustrating to your editor if they’re constantly adding missing punctuation or fixing spelling mistakes that they know you could have found yourself. This work can be exhausting, but with a partnership of an editor and writer, the work becomes more manageable.
If you know there are tons of errors in your book, but you just don’t want to do them, try taking a break from your manuscript first. Or do the edits in small chunks at a time. If there is an error you’re not sure about, flag it so that your editor can look at it and won’t miss it in their first read through.
When the writer puts in a little extra effort into editing the obvious mistakes, it makes them a better writer in the future and allows the editor to focus on the more complicated errors.
Write What You Know
This is a very limiting phrase, making it one of my favourite writing myths to discuss. Many people interpret it in the way that you can’t write anything you haven’t had firsthand experience with. Where does that come in with fantasy writers? Have those authors personally battled dragons and rescued princesses from castle towers? And Sci-Fi writers have travelled to new planets, right?
Much of the writing process comes from your imagination and your own views of the world, but some things you have no business writing about if you have no knowledge of it. Historical events, for example. The beautiful thing is that if you do your research, you CAN become an expert on ANYTHING!
So yes, write what you know… but right after you’ve taken the time to learn it!
Writing is Solitary
Writing is never a solitary practice. Let’s go through the process, shall we?
Brainstorming. Sure, you work out a lot of ideas yourself. But where did those ideas come from? Talking to friends. Watching movies. Interacting with the world in your daily life.
Writing. You’re alone in your office, but you’re working with your characters. A family member then comes in to talk to you. Your dog sleeps at your feet. Your child screams for you to come play!
Editing. Some writers like to do extensive edits on their own, and then they hand it off to an editor. If you’re self-published, this is usually done by freelancers. If traditional, you’ll have a team of people helping you with this and the following steps of the process.
Publishing. Again, traditional publishing usually takes care of this aspect, but if you’re self-published you have to figure out all the formatting and what platform to use. These authors ask for advice in writing groups and author friends for support.
Marketing. This is a never ending process that should happen way before the book is published. Traditionally published authors have teams to help them out. The size of the team depends on the size of the publishing house. Self-published authors rely on beta readers, family, and overall writing community to help get the word out.
You’re never alone!
Wait For Inspiration
NOPE! You think if you sit around all day that your greatest idea will come up and whack you in the face? You’ll be lucky if that happens with a vague story theme, never mind the next greatest piece of literature. If you want inspiration, you have to go find it. You have to write!
Walk around the neighbourhood and take notes. Listen to music and describe the emotions you feel. Talk to your friends and family about their favourite hobbies or their views on global topics. Search for your next story idea until you find one that sticks out to you most!
Then, write! I find once I start writing, I can get into the flow much more easily. Write one sentence about anything. It doesn’t have to be good. In fact, it can be utterly terrible! You can’t expect to get anything done if you’re not completing the action. Write your first draft as that is the first step to developing a full story.
All You Need Are Good Writing Skills
DOUBLE NOPE! You can be the best writer in the world, but if no one knows you wrote a book, how do you expect people to read it? Developing good writing skills takes time, practice, and even when you become the best, there is still more to learn.
You can be the best writer in the world, but hate what you’re writing about. If you’re not invested in the project you’re working on, it will not reflect your best work. You must choose a topic you’re passionate about and write for yourself, not just to please everyone.
Spread the word too! Keep talking about your book, share it on social media and with everyone you know. Marketing is key to ensuring the right people find your book.
There are so many aspects that go into becoming a successful writer. Having skill is just one of them. You also need determination, discipline, a writing community. You need practice and persistence. Writing is a never ending learning experience and it takes more than knowing how to craft an intelligent sentence. The brain, heart, and soul combined is the beginning of a writer’s journey.
Thank you for reading about writing myths! Need more advice or have comments to share? Leave a message below!
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