A/N: I apologize in advance, but this is in response to people emailing me about my choice of writing as a profession in the future.
So you want to be a writer? Wonderful! Fantastic!
Let me remind you of a few things if you’re heading down this road.
Please remember that writing can be and will be lonely, and something you cannot half ass. In other words, when you’re bored with it, you can’t pass it off to the person next to you and say “Here, finish this for me”. You also can’t expect to talk about your piece with people because some people just don’t give a shit.
While you are super excited about it, you aren’t going to be a one hit wonder in your first draft. I’m on draft three of Turbulence (stated in my last blog post) and on draft one of Soulless. You’re not going to instantaneously be published because you wrote something without drafting it, and you certainly won’t be published on the first try. I don’t know anyone who has that is in writing. Diana Gabaldon (Author of the Outlander Series) talks on Facebook all the time in her group about constantly drafting to meet her editor’s needs.
Just to put it in perspective as a real writer . . . .My beta for the second draft of Turbulence sent me a 7 page email, and the first words were “I can find the story, but it’s like reading it as if it was in a blender.” I was promptly send why it needed revision, down to character quirks, spellings, and grammar. My second beta hated the main character’s name so much, she wouldn’t read it unless I changed it to something pronounceable. (She knows who she is. :P) She will be doing the third draft, which I am deeply grateful for.
People will not agree. People will not accept, and some may not support. Some may be your loved ones or friends. I’ve had a friend recently tell me to “stop trying to make a living with being a deadbeat writer because any asshole can post shit on the internet and it’s published”.
I will say right now–any person can write something and slap it on fanfiction.net, or any website of their own and “claim” to be published. On the INTERNET’s standards, maybe–because you can find it on a Google search and it’s cached. But to any writer, or traditional publishing place? No.
In fact, it is encouraged not to do this for your original pieces. I do this with parts I know will not be in my final publication (in the future), or with stuff I do for fun and don’t care to have it published. Some stuff is purely for my enjoyment or to share with people. To me, not everything in the world needs to be safe guarded. How can you relate and show off how you’ve grown or just have fun with it yourself if all it is for is “to make a buck” when it’s published?
Also, I have a job. I’m not unrealistic like some people out there. I have a home and bills to pay like the rest of the world. You can do this and still have a job full time. It just may make this a little hard to do.
One more important thing: If you connect with others–connect as friends, not as someone trying to “sell” a book. People don’t want to hear it all the time. Seriously. Put your money where your mouth is, let me read it and then let me judge. Shove it down my throat and I’m not going to want to look at it. Sorry. Just being honest here.
The road down this path will be hard. You’ll have days you don’t WANT to do it. (Yes, me included.) You’ll have days where it can be overwhelming because “you’re stuck”. Move on to something else. Draft, proofread. Edit. There is always something. Even if it’s just rereading another draft of something you’ve worked on long ago and critiquing on how you’ve improved, it’s still something.
I should probably also warn you: You’ll need thick skin to get through an editor’s critique. If you can’t handle critique of your manuscript, don’t even bother writing. You’ll take it too personally and then you’ll trash it, or just stop because your feelings are hurt. At the end of the day, you’re doing a craft. You’re writing to entertain, and make it believable.
Your editor should be a person who is encouraging, kicks you in the butt when you need it, and someone who has confidence in you. You’ll be happy when this happens and probably not so when this occurs. But that’s what they do. They’re doing a job to make you successful.
Last but not least . . .
WRITING A NOVEL IS NOT THE SAME AS ROLE PLAYING.
This is so important that this is in CAPS.
I say this because I have a lot of friends who think that I’m writing with other people in a group role play, every week. This is not the case. But three friends asked this very question this week, so I am answering it here. No.
Role playing is not good for novel writing. In fact, this is rather BAD. That is a no no. Novel writing is VERY different. Role play you can imagine just about anything. Bad role players usually make unrealistic characters that pay no consequences for what they do, and then do whatever they want ANYWAY.
YOU DO NOT WANT THIS FOR YOUR NOVEL. NO. No. No.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, there are some good experiences to this . . .
Whoever does support you with your endeavor, treasure them because they have a heart of gold. Yeah, I know you’re excited. But don’t burn them out, please.
You’ll be doing something you love, because apparently you really want to do this, or feel the need to. That’s fine. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. They happen. Just let them happen and learn from them.
You’ll grow as a person. No, I’m actually serious on this one. Patience is something you need if you want to be a writer.
However, please remember this: If you want this, you have to make it happen. No one is going to do this for you.
Anything else that I’ve left out, please feel free to comment.