I’m sitting here, keying and contemplating my thoughts on various “writing” experiences. I find the following interesting. A person who wishes to know something critical to themselves and their writing career asks a question in a group of writers, most of whom possess a minimally effective, at best, view of the writing and publishing industry.
The writing and publishing landscape lies riddled with the tattered, life-support remains of millions of writers searching for answers in the shards of fellow writers on life-support searching for answers in the shards… you get the point. To definitively make statements that one answer stands better than another from folks who play at the game of writing is to perpetuate this unhappy cycle.
Many writers still cling to “old school” publishing myths perpetuated in a manner much like the above paragraph. These writers struggle to understand the moving, changing dynamics of publishing. They know something works for them at some level and they enjoy touting their perspective with a strong voice and a conviction that other writers don’t know like they do.
I understand this. I’ve been immersed in writing and publishing for over fifteen years. I’ve stumbled and bumbled around finding answers which later were jettisoned with a grimaced scowl on my face. I’ve touted many things which in the long run, panned out to be marginally important. I’ve learned the hard way. Some things I know may apply to some writers, but will not blanket all writers. The sheer diversity of need, desire, planning, dedication, motivation, finances, and dozens of other factors, completely preclude any 100% answer from any one writer to another.
What I have discovered, though, are general success avenues which assist writers to find their way. So I developed a system. A philosophy. A blueprint. Now, some folks like two story houses, some like ranch style, some like mansions, some like quaint cottages, etc. My system, philosophy, blueprint, will not fit everyone. Those who adopt my stuff though, they produce books. I have many examples of people getting their books written. Efficiently. Passionately.
So yes, when I’m around a writing “newbie” searching for answers, I am going to attempt to give them my two cents worth. So many writers tout their way as the only way. So many speak with grand assurance and confident voice about the “right” way to go about things. Hell, there are times when the subject matter is near and dear to my heart and with all the debacles I’ve seen in writing, I will take a strong stand on them. People new to writing need to stop taking everything they hear as gospel. They should cull information, test it by measuring it against their needs and desires, and make informed choices.
It’s easy to become an “expert” in the writing and publishing industry. All you have to do is speak with authority and people will line up. This is why so many unsuspecting writers suffer under the weight of misinformation and expensive lessons. Personally, when I want answers, I look to people who’ve been involved in writing and publishing for over a decade, preferably over two. These people tend to, and I stress “tend to” have a stronger, more solid view of the wacky industry. Understanding that publishing is a splintered (massively) industry will change your perspective. Tunnel visioning that there are “right and wrong” ways to publish is the stuff nightmares are made of to new writers.
I hate hearing a new writer misled. The level of garbage information in this industry boggles the mind. But you see? I am just another voice who thinks he has a better way. Most of us think we know much more than we do. Finding the success YOU desire must be your priority. Otherwise, you will chase the same rabbit holes I’ve already been down. I’ve learned so many lessons through pain, I hate to see others go down paths they need not follow.
I’m coming to the conclusion, however, that no matter how much I work to let someone know I’ve been where they’re at, they will likely fall into the same pitfalls I did. It’s the rare writer who will listen, discern, and learn before they leap. Find your writing answers by accessing those who’ve been in the industry for over ten to twenty years. You will find the diversity of views among these people are nearly as diverse as those who play at being writers.
Also look for those writers who support themselves solely on their writing endeavors. Aren’t they the ones most people want to listen to? They’re the ones making incomes sufficient to support themselves while the others keep their day jobs to support their writing habit. Nothing wrong with the day job thing. In fact, those who support themselves off their writing generally have to work so hard to do it, the information they impart becomes something surreal and seemingly out of reach to the newer writers.
Pick you poison when it comes to writing and publishing information. Once you begin to dabble, you will find yourself repeating catch-phrases handed down to you from talking heads who speak with authority. Just please, for your sake, don’t take anything as written in stone. I can give you an opposing position to just about every writing and publishing truism out there. I can even crunch numbers for you. None of that matters. What does matter is finding what works for you.
Don’t just listen and trust. Most every writer out there passing on writing “knowledge,” including me, feel they have the “better” answers. The only better answers are the ones you may incorporate into your writing journey. There is one truth about writing I am very confident about. Don’t go into writing expecting to make millions. It could happen. The next time I buy a lottery ticket, the millions could happen. I’m still convinced the lottery ticket holds better odds at grabbing millions.
That said, I support my family solely off my writing related endeavors. Millions would be nice. Right now, paying my bills and eating tend to hold a higher priority. Pursue writing because you love it. Each of us well-meaning writers full of advice love writing. Find what works for you by culling that which makes sense to you. Throw off all the stuff that makes no sense to you. What a mess, eh?
Writing and publishing is fun. More than fun. Overloaded with passion. Excitement. Self satisfaction.
So now, as I glance over toward my patient clock, I note I’ve rambled on. When you look for writing and publishing advice, I guarantee you I will give a different answer than most. I know you will hear many catchphrases repeated over and over. Beware. Test. Find what works for you. Experts are a dime a dozen. Make yourself an expert. That’s the better answer. Just realize what I noted a few years ago – no matter how much you learn, there’s more out there which will make today’s learning obsolete. Accept this constant change as wonderful rather than annoying and you will be leaps ahead of most writers.