I’ve been a member of many online groups and forums and sooner or later there is always an argument that pops up about what is the right way to write. I usually find this amusing since everyone is different, therefore it stands to reason everyone is going to write differently. Unfortunately, there are a few that will constantly tell you that you absolutely MUST write a certain way or you’re doing it wrong.
You Must #1–You must write every day, preferrably with a minimum of 1000 words. I’ve always found this one to be a royal hoot!! I love to write, but some days I absolutely cannot make myself sit down and pound out 1 word, much less 1000. On the other hand, there are days when I can sit here and blast away at a WIP until I have 8000-10,000 words for the day. Speaking only for myself (because honestly, who else can I speak for), if I try to write 1000 a day, even on days when I don’t want to write, I’ll end up tossing 95% of them during edits. So to me, it’s a two-way waste of time.
You Must #2–You must hire someone to edit your work. Really? I didn’t. I had two incredible friends (and one just happens to be a former editor for a magazine) and they helped me tremendously with my editing. I’m not saying it’s not a good idea to hire someone. But if you’re like me, you simply don’t have the funds.
You Must #3–You must have a webpage/blog/facebook page/twitter acct/etc. Alright, I’m not about to say these are wrong, but I don’t believe joining EVERYTHING on the net is a necessity either. I, for one, hate to blog. I never know what to say. And ask anyone who knows me–that’s a first! All of these things help to promote your novels, but I’m learning quickly they can eat up a huge chunk of your valuable time, too. Everything in moderation I say…except reading. Read like there’s no tomorrow!
You Must #4–You must publish with a commercial (traditional) publisher; otherwise, you’re not really an author. (Runs and ducks as things get thrown at me.) I’ll admit it, I used to think like this. But not anymore. Some of the best books I’ve read in the past year have been by self-published authors. Unfortunately, some of the worst books I’ve ever read have also been by self-published authors. It’s all about perfecting your work before you present it to the world. I know I’ll never pick up another book from some of the ‘worst self-published authors’ list again. I don’t care if the book tops Harry Potter or Twilight. I’ve had a bad experience with this author and it totally turned me off. Please check your work if you self-publish…and then check it again…and again!
You Must #5–You must depend on support from family and friends to succeed! (hahahaha…LOLOLOL!!) Yeah, sure, you do that! I know lots of authors that have such strong support from their friends and family I’m envious. I feel like asking them to adopt me! I learned hard and fast that not everyone will support you; and some will do everything they can to discourage you. I still remember a Facebook post I made about dedicating my first published novel and who I should dedicate it to. The first choice was to my family and friends that did support me. The other said, and I quote, “This book is dedicated to my husband who kept telling me I was wasting my time. Thank you, sweetheart. Nothing motivates me more than proving you wrong.” So you see, sometimes the people you expect the most support from, are the ones who support you least. And don’t forget the jealousy issue. This has recently raised its ugly head with a couple of my friends. It hurts, but you deal with it and move on. You also find out who your true friends are!
The whole point of this blog is to say that there really isn’t a wrong way to write. What works for one person may not work for you. So if you try something and it’s not working, try something else . Just because it works for one writer doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong if it doesn’t work for you.