Joss
Lv 7
Joss asked in Arts & HumanitiesBooks & Authors · 9 years ago

5 Lies Unpublished Writers Tell Themselves?

This is from Writer'sDigest.com. Do you hold any of these assumptions? I've seen all of them. Which ones do you see the most? Do you have any to add to the list? I see #2 the most. On this site, I see #5 the most.

*****

1. THE RULES DON'T APPLY TO ME.

I write amazing first drafts. If there were a contest for first drafts, mine

would win every time. So I told myself, "Writing is not rewriting." Other

people might have to do multiple drafts, but my first drafts are so solid I

could publish them as-is. For years I believed this.

One day I did three drafts of an article, and it became my first published

article. A solid first draft is not good enough to be published. All those

"rules of writing" that you read in Writer's Digest, on blogs, and in

creative writings classes are rules because they are true most of the time.

So if there are some rules that you think don't apply to you, think again.

It might be the rule preventing you from getting published.

2. AGENTS AND EDITORS HAVE IT IN FOR ME.

Ah, those blood-sucking agents and editors. I'm pretty sure they have meetings in a secret underground lair where they talk about how jealous they are of my writing skills and how they should team up to keep me from being published.

This is a lie that is so prevalent among unpublished writers that editors and agents have to go to psychologists so they can feel good about themselves again. I know one editor who calls herself "Dream Crusher" to assuage her pain. Here's the truth: Editors and agents desperately want you to be good enough. They make a living by writers being publishable. If you're getting rejected it's because you still have work to do. either as a writer or as a marketer.

3. I'M NOT A MARKETER, I'M A WRITER!

Which is exactly why you aren't published yet. You have to do the hard work of writing a spectacular query and proposal. Notice that you have to "write" the query and proposal. You're not being asked to do an interpretive dance or draft blueprints to a rocket ship. It might not be your style, and it might be hard work, but being a published author is hard work, complete with e-mails you don't want to answer, deadlines, accounting and marketing!

4. I SHOULD SPEND A LOT OF TIME FANTASIZING OVER WHERE I WILL BE PUBLISHED NOW THAT I'VE WRITTEN TWO CHAPTERS OF MY NOVEL.

It is way more fun to read Writer's Market over and over—memorizing the publishers and agents—than it is to write your book. And while this is good practice for when your book is ready to shop, if the fantasy-to-writing ratio tips toward fantasy, it's time to get back to writing. Unless you are writing a fantasy, in which case you are probably fine and keep up the good work.

5. I'M A BETTER WRITER THAN MOST PUBLISHED AUTHORS.

If you're like me, you love picking up a book from the "Top 10" rack, flipping it open and cringing at the terrible prose. But this author (who is, keep in mind, a worse writer than you) somehow got a contract, got published and is selling well. I said this most often before I had finished writing the first draft of my first novel. Perhaps it's just that the "hack writers" out there actually finish their books.

Here's an exercise: Find a writer online who is published but far inferior to you as a writer. Look at what magazines they are published in. Then write stories or articles to submit to those magazines. This is a guaranteed way to build your writing resume. Unless—they are actually better writers than you, in which case, it's a good reality check.

These are a few of the lies that I wish someone had confronted me with when I was an unpublished writer. Now, here's one last truth for you: You can do this. Work hard, keep writing, improve your craft and be persistent. We're all waiting to read your masterpiece!

*****

Update:

I think #5 is valid. Writers tend to be delusional about their own writing; tend to think they're better than they are. There's actually a term for it, can't remember what it is though.

Update 2:

Q for you Enoa - if you've never finished anything then how do you know you're a better writer than a few of the author's you've read? Writing well encompass more than just having pretty prose. Plot and character development for starts. Many, many writers fail at that alone.

Update 3:

Aww @'because i said so' - maybe I'll find an article that'll hit you over the head like a two-by-four. :p

Update 4:

Hey!! Stop dissing Outdoor Hogwarts for Demigods. That's was the greatest story ever told!

Update 5:

And of course, these are my own opinions in the additional details. If you have a different opinion, I'd like to hear it, too!

Update 6:

That's funny RedStar. Point 6 is something literary agents see in some of the queries they get.

13 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    9 years ago
    Best Answer

    6. WHY EDIT MY NOVEL? ISN'T THAT WHAT THE EDITOR'S ARE FOR?

    They aren't paid to overhaul your novel. Your novel should be good enough to the point where all they are doing is correcting the tiny errors that only a person with fresh eyes could see. Other than your own. You still have to edit your novel as well as you possibly can. Kind of like..you wash your car until it shines in the sun and then let the editors buff and wax:)

  • 3 years ago

    1

    Source(s): Work From Home Writing http://givitry.info/WritingJobsOnline
  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    1. THE RULES DON'T APPLY TO ME.

    I see this one quite a bit. I think that there are some rules that are okay to break some of the time, but that doesn't mean every rule should be thrown out the door.

    2. AGENTS AND EDITORS HAVE IT IN FOR ME.

    I haven't seen this one a lot, but I have seen it, and it's sad. If you want to be a writer you need to accept that maybe you aren't good enough, and that if you aren't good enough you won't stop trying until you are.

    3. I'M NOT A MARKETER, I'M A WRITER!

    This one I haven't seen, but that's probably because almost everyone I know or have talked to is either published or currently writing. If I knew more people trying to get published, maybe I would see this more.

    4. I SHOULD SPEND A LOT OF TIME FANTASIZING OVER WHERE I WILL BE PUBLISHED NOW THAT I'VE WRITTEN TWO CHAPTERS OF MY NOVEL.

    This is the biggest problem I see in new writers. They are writing to be published. You may be asking, "Wait, isn't every author writing to be published?" The difference is that for authors that will be published, getting published isn't their goal - writing is. Getting published is merely the result of a goal to write. For writers who may not be published (at least until they change how they look at things), getting published is their one and only goal, and because of that they may not even get there.

    5. I'M A BETTER WRITER THAN MOST PUBLISHED AUTHORS.

    I've seen this one quite a bit. Books that are published are typically published for a reason. Thinking you're better than published authors is the first step to becoming unwilling to change and improve, and being unwilling to change and improve is the first step to failing as an author.

    If there's one I was definitely guilty of is was #4. I focused so much on getting published that if I didn't think my book was publishing material I tossed it out. I didn't even want to write unless I was sure it would be published. I have finally gotten over this delusion, and getting published really isn't my goal anymore. I'm not saying I don't want to be published (I do with all my heart), but if my first completed book isn't good enough, then oh well. At least I gained all that experience, and on to the next project I go.

    Another I was (and sort of still am) guilty of, at least to a certain degree, is #5. For a long time I wanted my writing to be perfect, and it hurt me so much to think that it wasn't that I denied any faults. I'm still working on overcoming this mindset, and I've come a long way. I'm getting better and better at excepting that my writing needs work, and now I'm finally starting to feel that I have what it takes to never give up. If I'm not good enough, and I'm probably not, then I won't stop until I am. I am going to be an author no matter what it takes, and I'm ready to give it my all :)

  • 9 years ago

    I am my own worst critic. I am at times, too objective with my own work.

    When others ask me to edit their work, I always risk some kind of repercussions because of my brutal honestly. I have lost friends and contacts because of it. Let's go over these five points.

    1) Many think that their first draft is great. There are very, very few who get it right on the first draft. (Those that do are of the pure genius we tend to despise.) What separates the wannabes from the real writers is being objective and knowing it may take 10-15 rewrites to make your story work.

    2) There are some that take rejection personally. There are many reasons why an agent or publisher might pass that might have nothing to do with the quality of the work. I have known of publishers and agents who resign because of the unwarranted guilt that are put upon them by inspiring writers. It is your job as writer to not only to put out quality work, but also understand what certain publishers and/or agents are looking for in particular. You must act professionally, even gratuitous, in the face of continuous rejection.

    3) Which brings me to this point. You have to know the market. You have to know which agent or publisher s interested in your particular genre and/or format. You must treat every piece of writing as seriously as you manuscript, making sure it looks like you're a writer who is serious about his craft. You have to meet deadlines. You have to keep schedules. You have to follow up in a timely manner. You have to understand how any payment you may receive affects your finances, or pay for someone who does.

    4) We all have dreams. It is when these dreams take of more of our time than actual work. This is why I think you should stick to strict writing regiment. some would be surprised at how much you could accomplish with a mere hour a day, every day.

    5) This one is a classic. What many inspiring writers fail to understand is that sometimes mediocrity sometimes get published, just not your mediocrity.

    If you read a best-selling book and find this book is inferior, than there are certain forces at play here.

    '

    A) Your are not truly being objective to the authors' work and too subjective of your own work.

    B)That this piece of work is mediocre but got published because of the author's reputation either in this media or some other area and that the author might had to meet an contractual obligation.

    I mean, even the greatest novelists have so-so books that sold well. There are very good books out there that sold poorly. If you have a good fan base, you sell. If no one knows who you are, you don't.

    Keep these in mind when you finish that novel. Everyone is trying to do the same thing, You must have something different, that is brilliantly written, that gets into the right hands at the right time.

    Even with all that, you still may fail. You will only know if you give a diligent shot.

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  • KC
    Lv 5
    9 years ago

    I've never seen 2 nor 3, but they make sense. You've got to be a pretty big egotist to believe 2. Four years ago (when I was twelve) I was the best example of 4. As for 5, I think I'm better at writing than some, not most, published authors, but they have written books and I can't finish anything.

    I see 4 the most.

  • 9 years ago

    I'm not guilty of any of those, I'm glad to say.

    They should actually add points six and seven...

    6. THE ONLY REASON MY BOOK ISN'T PUBLISHED IS BECAUSE IT'S TOO ORIGINAL AND DIFFERENT AND PUBLISHERS ONLY PUBLISH FORMULAIC CRAP

    7. THE ONLY REASON MY WORK ISN'T TAKEN SERIOUSLY IS BECAUSE I'M A TEENAGER

    I see a lot of unpublished authors apparently adhering to those views.

    Sorry, but laughing out loud @ Enoa who thinks they're better than published writers but hasn't actually finished anything. In whose world is being incapable of finishing a story being a good writer?

  • 9 years ago

    Ha, this totally made my day. I kind of wanted a wake up call, but I didn't get one. :(

    I used to think this (some of it, anyway,) when I first started out, but now I'm at the point where I understand all of this. I don't want to get published, I write for myself, rewriting and rerewriting and outlining and making building layouts is my life.

    But, sadly enough, this describes a plethora of writers here who post things on here without saying "Please tear this apart for me".

    They think that anything they write will be published, as long as it has vampires and a Mary Sue, because they say, "It worked for Meyer, so I'm going to write something just like her."

    And then, when you tell them to use spell check, capitalize, and to use commas, they thumbs down you.

    But once again, thank you for posting this. Gave me a laugh. :)

  • Javik
    Lv 6
    9 years ago

    I do #5. Not "delusionally" though, and I rarely apply it to the writing itself but the plots, the originality and creativity of the plots. I daresay I can come up with a much more creative plot than Outdoor Hogwarts for Demigods and Not Another Paranormal Vampire Romance.

    @Veirra

    Come on, being "egotistical" isn't a bad thing... XD

  • 9 years ago

    Well, I won't try to say I don't compare myself to famous authors. I DO NOT consider myself a better writer than them, but taking into account their style of writing, how they word things and what they write about I feel I'm probably at least as good as them. All in all I write for me. I don't claim to be good at it and what I write about is admittedly not terribly exciting to anyone but me. I'm just putting words on paper. Anyone can do it and some are better at it than others. In my opinion that makes them no less a "writer." We're all creators of something and that's all that counts.

  • 9 years ago

    I've seen all of the above on this forum.

    I can't say I ever thought these things about my writing, even when I was a teenager. I know it needs work. I know I need improvement. I follow the rules I've learned and I don't think I'm better than anyone.

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