Friday, May 15, 2020

Writing: Common Misconceptions

I've covered lots of these, but it's been awhile since I addressed all of them in a single place. So, here goes.

Age: I was retirement age when my first novel was published. My non-fiction book, The Tender Scar, written after the death of my first wife, is still in print, and I've published lots of novels and novellas since. No, you're never too old--or too young. If you think you have a book in you, write it. If it's finished, pitch it to an agent or publish it yourself. Don't let age deter you.

Income: Writers aren't rich. Sorry about that. A handful can support themselves by writing full-time, but most of us can't. "Don't give up your day job" is excellent advice, not just the punch line of a joke. Writing, especially Christian writing, is done because you have to do it, not as a means of income.

Fame: When I became a published author, I expected everyone to recognize me. Sorry. When the news finally got out, I got questions like the one that starts, "My friend has written a book..." or "Explain where you get your ideas"...or--well, you get it. The lift comes from messages from someone who has read one of your books and got something from it. Not from fame and fortune.

Platform: Authors are advised to have a platform, even before they have anything published. All authors should maintain a social media presence, we're told. That may have been true at one time, but if you're going to try to keep up with what the latest way to maintain a platform, good luck. You can't do it. Cultivate a few aficionados who'll help get the word out, and don't neglect to do your best to keep your readers happy (mainly with good writing, as well as answering their questions), but other than that, I don't have any sure-fire advice.

Ideas and manuscripts: What sets a good author apart is not an idea--they're everywhere, if you just look for them--but rather what they do with it. It sounds easy to write a book, but it requires more than just an idea. It requires effort to string words enough words together to make a novel, or even a novella (which, incidentally, is harder to write than a long novel).

Learning: Never stop learning. Never. Never. Never. Keep at it.

And that's my advice. What's your reaction?


Priscilla Bettis said...

Well I hope we never stop learning because we'd get in a rut, and our future books would become stagnant instead of improving with each new release.

Richard Mabry said...

One of the enduring me, at to never stop learning, and try to make each subsequent book better than the last. Doesn't always happen, but it's a nice goal nevertheless.