Today I thought I would share a little wisdom… from other writers all at different stages of the writing journey.
So I went and pestered several of my writer friends, asking them all “what things do you wish you knew before writing.” Here are their insightful responses!
PEARL R MEAKER
“I wish I would have understood just how difficult it is to keep juggling all the marketing, promotion and social networking.
The industry really does require that you’re either able to work four jobs at once (more if you have to work a “day job”) or that you have loads of money to hire everything done.
I guess that doesn’t really apply to “writing a book” – more to publishing and successfully selling a book. But, I’m not sure I would have dived into writing a book if I’d truly understood how much more is expected beyond writing a book.
There are times it seems like writing the book is the least important part of the process instead of the most important as one would think.”
“I wish I knew the importance of having a good editor. A good editor doesn’t change your words or simply fix your manuscript. A good editor, a great editor will teach you what you did wrong.
They will mentor you and enhance your voice rather than change it. A great editor is also expensive. So money wise, you should save at least 2,000 dollars.
The first thousand is to have the editor tell you your masterpiece is a disaster in the kindest way possible. The remaining thousand is to have your editor polish your voice to be the best it can be.
So, I wish I knew to take my time and hire the right editor, not -any- editor.”
“I’m glad I was oblivious to the journey of becoming good at my craft. Of how long it would take to master the many moving elements of good writing.
However, I wish I knew how rewarding those accomplishments would be. How incredibly proud I’d feel for my perseverance. And how wonderfully liberating, writing would be. I would have started sooner. I feel truly blessed to have found my calling.”
“I wish I knew how much time and effort was needed to go into a book for (possibly) such little results (meaning, little pay so you can’t make a career out of it).
That’s not to say I never would have started, but I always thought you just wrote out your ideas and that was that. There was no editing and rewriting multiple drafts, querying agents and/or publishers or researching self-publishing, finding beta readers and book reviews… forget about the marketing, lol.
I’ve been working on the same book since 2011. Part of that is me (getting overwhelmed, doubt, etc.) but the other is that it’s just so much work… and characters don’t listen to you and it can be such a hot mess.”
“I began writing what would eventually become Mystical Greenwood when I was a teenager.
There were many things I didn’t know, specifically regarding how much time would have to be invested in editing, rewriting, finding a publisher, and the publication process itself.
On the other hand, I’m glad I didn’t know. If I had, I might’ve been scared out of writing, and I would never have acquired the passion and dedication that kept me going and learning.”
“If I knew how good it felt to reach ‘the end’ of my first novel, I’d have written faster.”
“Let’s see, publishing, when there is still a lot of editing to do is one. Being too pushy about requesting reviews is another.
I have found that it is better to develop relationships with blogger reviewers, and hopefully, something good will come of it down the road.
I like to use the rule of three in all things, but I cannot come up with a third thing right now.”
“Ok, these are the things that I wish I had known before writing:
1) I don’t have to write like I read. The end can be written before the beginning and is often more helpful.
2) Just write, don’t stop to correct grammar or spelling. Get that first draft written then change it.
3) Be creative in use of describing words and fine use clichés.”
“Things I wish I knew before writing a book: · Not everyone is going to like your book. Of course, I knew this already, but nothing prepares you for the day you read a one-star review on a novel you poured your heart and soul into.
At the end of the day, you can’t please everyone. · Your writing will never be perfect. There’s no such thing as perfect. If you continue to write you’ll continue to improve, so give yourself a break when it comes to writing the perfect novel.
That you’re allowed to brag about your books. I used to be, and sometimes still am, very self-conscious of my books. I tried to lay-low about being an author because it felt awkward to say the least. I found out later that it’s all about how you hold yourself. If you’re proud of your work, other people will be too.”
“The second I finished my first novel, I published. I didn’t know jack about publishing. I was just so damned excited to publish, I clicked the button without thinking it through. Truthfully, though, I wouldn’t have known what there was to think through.
I wish I had someone to scream these at me:
- Do not publish just because the book is finished. Do you have a platform? Twitter? Instagram? Facebook? Build connections and a platform before clicking that button!
- Find readers to read and review your book before you publish. Yes, you will need to give the book away for free to them. Do NOT send a romance or erotica book to someone who only reviews nonfiction/sci-fi/etc. Find readers who read in your genre.
- Be willing to read/write reviews for others. Karma’s a bitch, you know.
- If you are writing a series, have the beginning of the next book in the series started so you can include it in the current release’s back matter.
- Thicken your skin! You’re going to get a low-ball rating (1 or 2 stars) without a review to explain why—or maybe with a review that makes you feel like you’re getting punched in the throat or bullied on the playground. Entertainment is subjective, and people can be mean, especially when hiding behind their computers. I hated the Oscar-winning movie Titanic. If I had to review it, it wouldn’t be pretty.”
“Writing a book takes a LONG time, especially with your first one or two. If you slam out a book in a few weeks and walk away dusting off your hands and congratulating yourself on a job well done, you’re doing it wrong. Writing an entire book takes time. Not necessarily a year or anything, but a decent amount of time to make sure what you’ve written is the best it can be.
– We always hear that editing is just as important as the initial writing, and that’s true. Never short-change that step of the process! And it’s okay to completely rewrite giant chunks of the story. Sometimes that’s necessary, and your story will be all the better for it.
– At one stage in the writing process, you WILL be certain you’ve written the Worst Thing In The World and will be temped to print it out in its entirety, solely to rip it to shreds and try to flush it down the toilet or set it on fire. Don’t. Just walk away for a while. Soon enough you’ll get an idea for a great scene or a killer ending or a great fix to the troublesome spot. If you go back and power through the hating phase, you’ll realize what you’ve got is pretty damn good.
– You will rely on some vice or other to get you through the writing process. Whether it’s coffee, wine, chocolate, or primal scream therapy, it’s okay to indulge in what you need when you need it. You can reverse any damage done after you’ve finished writing.
The famous A.A. Milne quote “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think” applies to authors. It takes bravery to write an entire book, strength to see it through to the end (not to mention to stand tall in the face of bad reviews…and we all get them), and brain power to create an entire world and weave an original story. Hardly anyone can say they wrote a book, let alone several, so whether or not they get published, we should be proud of what we’ve created!”
I want to say a big thanks to all these writers who shared their wisdom and allowed me to make this blog post 🙂
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As for me, I wish I had known to be more organised with my writing notes, scenes and manuscripts right at the beginning so that I would have everything neat and easy to find.
Now I have to go back through thousands of documents in order to organise and categorise them so that I can actually work out how many plot ideas I have.
Please make sure you check out the websites and blogs of my fellow writers who shared their wisdom. These are all awesome writers and some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met. Go show them some love!