Thursday, September 1, 2011

Why Didn't They Tell Me Before?

When I first started writing, I thought all you had to do was write something and get it published. HA! There is so much more to having a book get published!

Have a great critique group. If you don't have one in your area, there are some online (because sometimes you will think it sounds perfect, when it just sounds like pretty gibberish).

Go to writing conferences. Not only will you meet awesomely-cool people, you learn the tools to have a great book! (Plus you can go to pitch sessions and meet uber-ific agents and stuff.)

Remember you will have to write, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite......(why didn't anybody tell me this when I started?)

Get a good writing snack. Why? Because most writers will start eating when they are thinking. I snacked on chocolate chips for years. Bad idea! I'm still working at getting off those last ten pounds (I hate you skinny Pilates instructor.  hee hee...Just kidding...please don't kick me off the stretchy team.)

It takes time. This is the biggest newsflash I can give you. It takes time to write, time to revise, time to edit, time to query, time to .... Oh the list goes on and on. So keep yourself busy with new projects and stay excited for those stories.  

Wish I had known all these things before. Now I know.

So my writing friends, anything I forgot? Anything you wish you would have known about before picking up that creative bug?

25 comments:

David Powers King said...

You listed the fundamentals here, Carolyn. Perfect for all writers everywhere. I didn't realize that finishing a book is only 1/10th of the process.

If I could add anything, is start a web presence. :)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I didn't have a CP when I began--not until after I'd been blogging a while. I still only have one, though.

My big road block is conferences. I have trouble convincing hubby it's worth the money. :-)

Wendy said...

No more pizza slices???? :)

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I think the time it takes is what amazes me... Plus all the obstacles in your daily life that get in the way of your writing time. I think you have to be committed to working on your writing, just like it was your job...even though it may take a long time to get paid.

ali cross said...

YES. You forgot to tell me what IS a good writing snack? I need one in a bad way. :)

ali's blog

L.T. Elliot said...

I don't think people can tell you beforehand because there's no way to encapsulate the magnitude of what writing entails. And maybe if there was, no one would put themselves through the strain. In the end, I think it's worth it. I'll read something beautiful and touching and desperately what I need and it feels like the hand of God. Writers should never underestimate that--no matter how hard it is.

Summer Ross said...

That list covers it for me- except for a good pen!

Bethany Mattingly said...

I know this is a dividing issue, but for me. It changed the way I feel about music. I used to listen to music a lot, but now it's almost as obsessive as writing for me. I definitely wasn't expecting that.

Jennifer Shirk said...

How disciplined I'd have to be! And crazy and always changing the industry is too. That would have been a good heads-up. :-)

Janet Johnson said...

Lots of truth in those 5 things. Lots of truth. *sigh*

Have a great weekend!

Susan R. Mills said...

I had to learn all those things myself. And I'm struggling to get off the writer's snack ten pounds too. My snack of choice is usually something salty.

Angie said...

I'd add that it's okay to do it your own way. We're all different.

What do you snack on now? I am eating sunflower seeds lately. I think it's a pretty healthy snack.

salarsenッ said...

All of these are equally important. It takes time is a great one!! ;D

Elana Johnson said...

I hear you loud and clear. For me, when I first started writing, I read a piece of advice that went something like this: "Take a year off to read." And my immediate thought was, "There is no way it's going to take me a year to get published."

LOLOLOL! So yeah. It takes time.

Suzie F. said...

You're so right! It takes time, patience, confidence, perserverance...so why am I writing? Oh yeah, I love it!

Visiting from Karen's BBQ. Have a great weekend

Medeia Sharif said...

It would have been nice to have known all of this in my early years of writing, but I eventually got into the groove of all of them.

Have a great weekend.

KarenG said...

It's the time that drives me, because I'm not getting any younger and procrastination is a weakness that works against me. And yes, definitely a web presence as your first commenter said.

colbymarshall said...

I agree with all those you listed as well as web presence. I think my favorite writing snack, oddly enough, are dill pickle chips. I get a little bowl of those suckers and pop them as I go. Yum!

Shelley Sly said...

I'm with you! Before I started writing to get published, back when I only wrote as a hobby, I didn't realize how intricate the process was. There's also so much more to the craft of writing (going easy on adverbs and dialogue tags, etc.) that I didn't know until I got serious. But what matters is we know these things now, right?

Lynn said...

I wish I would have known how much time it would take! Then I would have not waited to start until I felt 'ready' and just did it!!

Creepy Query Girl said...

I wish I had known about the terrible ups and downs. And the waiting. I had to learn all of that through years of experience. Not that I wouldn't have started if I knew beforehand how long it would take- but I think I'd be better prepared mentally and emotionally. Still, I think it's one of those things you can't tell new writers. They figure it out for themselves.

Patti said...

I totally thought that as well. I wrote my book and I thought within a couple of months I'd see a hard copy of my book in stories. Completely naive.

Jolene Perry said...

TIme is the biggest lesson learned for me.

I can get out a rough draft pretty quickly, but I need to let is sit for a couple of week while I do something else.

I also need to let comments from readers sit before I jump in. Then, when I've sent it to readers, I need to wait some more before I'm ready to move it on.

BIGGEST THING?? I don't write like anyone else. I shouldn't write like anyone else. There's no real right or wrong way to go about publishing something.

Great post Carolyn

Al said...

Have a thick skin because rejection hurts!

Michelle Teacress said...

I've been gone for the month of August, so I'm glad to be catching up on blogs. Good to 'see' you again (though I've seen you commenting on my blog - thanks so much).

Going to conferences is the most helpful suggestion I received. Thank heaven I followed that advice. :)