10 Writing Truths (Part 2)


Photo credit: Twylo on Flickr

Continuing from last week’s 10 Writing Truths post, here are the final five of my ten writing truths:

The last five writing truths: 


6. Not everyone will understand your passion. This especially applies to those of us who aren’t published or have self-published. Family and friends won’t always understand why you spend your waking hours locked up with a computer, typing away at something that gives you little income in return. Strangers will smile and nod and pat you on the back when they realize that by writer you don’t mean published in a bookstore. There will be looks. There will be judging. There will be comments about getting a real job or spending your time on something fruitful.

They won’t always understand and that’s ok. That’s when you reach out to your writing community. Because we writers? We get it. We understand. And we know exactly what you’re going through.

7. Writing requires sacrifice. Maybe it’s sleep or a social life or television or video games or a plethora of a hundred other things you could be doing, but writing takes time. Time that you could be doing something else. Maybe it’s time in the morning that you could be resting instead of waking up early to get some words down before the day begins. Maybe it’s time in the afternoon when your favorite television show is on, but you’re holed up working on your WIP instead.

Whatever it is, writing takes time away from other things you could be doing. But if you’re a writer, it’s worth it—because writing? That's just what you do. 

8. You will need to be patient. If this list were in order of importance (it’s not), this would be way up there. Writers play the waiting game all the time—waiting for a manuscript to cool down before we start editing, waiting for a critique partner or beta reader to get back to us, waiting for an answer to that query letter, waiting for a response from an editor, waiting for your book to finally get published, waiting waiting waiting. 

It’s tempting to skip a step. It’s tempting to edit before you’ve developed enough distance from your manuscript or forgetting beta readers or bypassing editors or submitting (even publishing) manuscripts after just a couple of drafts.

It’s tempting, I know. But you need to be patient. This isn’t a race—not with yourself or with anyone else. These things take time and in the case of the writer, time is on your side.

9. You will need to be brave. Writing is a scary profession. There’s the fear of rejection—first privately, by agents or beta readers and critique partners—then publicly, by readers and reviewers. There’s the fear of disappointing your readers or not being able to live up to your expectations of a writer. There’s pressure and deadlines and terrifying fears every step of the way. You’re not going to be able to avoid the fear forever and that’s ok—we’re all afraid sometimes.

But you’ll need to be brave. You’ll need to step past the doubts and the nightmarish scenarios forming in your head and keep working and writing and editing and rewriting because you’re a writer and it’s time for you to be strong.

10. To be a successful writer, you must love to write. Period. Writing is not a profession for the faint of heart. It’s competitive, exhausting and at first, requires a lot of work with little return. Some authors spend years on a manuscript and you need to be prepared for that possibility. When years go by and manuscripts pile up in your drawers, you must continue writing. When you’ve written half a dozen drafts for your WIP and it still needs a complete overhaul, guess what? You need to keep writing.

That kind of perseverance can’t come just from sheer stubbornness. You must love what you’re doing every step of the way or you’ll burn out.

To be a successful writer, you must love to write.

So there you have it—my list of ten writing truths. Did I miss any? What do you think?

18 comments:

J. A. Bennett said...

Great great points once again I especially love what you said about bravery, it's so hard to put yourself out there!

Ava Jae said...

It definitely is! It's important that we don't allow fear to hold us back, though, which is why I included bravery on the list.

Daniel Swensen said...

#6 in particular speaks to me, because it's the one I run afoul of most often. I tend to be a people-pleaser, and when people ask me to social functions and hangout time and otherwise inadvertently try to pull me away from my writing time, it's really hard to say no. I don't like disappointing people, and having to hermit up to get work done is necessary, but sometimes so damn hard.

Tina Moss said...

Great Writing Truths! I've loved all ten. The hardest for me has been "lack of a social life". I've always been an active person, so giving up my free time, and not spending as much time with friends, has been hard on them and me. I understand the reasons why, but I have to explain it to them many times. :(

Rhiannon Paille said...

I don't think you missed anything, although, loving to write and loving your story are two different things. You can love writing, but hate what you're writing, so make sure it's a marriage of the 2 and not just writing without having a great story to write. 

Ava Jae said...

Sacrificing the social life is certainly not an easy thing. Sometimes it has to be done in order to have some progress made, but a balance between writing and having a social life is important, as well. Nevertheless, some sacrifices can't be avoided.

Ava Jae said...

The balance between writing and spending time with your loved ones is certainly not an easy one. For me personally, I've found that sacrificing a little sleep and writing in the morning has helped leave time for social things, but everyone is different. 

Ava Jae said...

That's very true! If you don't love the story you're writing, you'll most certainly have a hard time seeing it through. 

angela ackerman said...

I love these and think that these last 5 are the most important. There really are so many hurdles we need to move past to get published, and it is almost neve an easy road. I think this is why I admire writers so much--they persevere in an industry built on the concept of 'sorry, this isn't for me, but keep trying'. That's a tall order to do day in and day out, and writers have some of the strongest levels of perseverance that I know because of it. :)

Have an absolutely wonderful Christmas vacation, Ava! Thanks for all you do both here in the blog, and on twitter, etc. Thanks for organizing Twibber too and thinking of me for that. :) Happy reading, writing & merry-ness this holiday!

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Ava Jae said...

Thanks so much, Angela! I'm glad you enjoyed the two posts and I hope your Christmas break is absolutely wonderful!

Angie Richmond said...

Well, it's number 8 that speaks to me. My whole life seems to be a lesson in patience. It's my biggest struggle, but I'm proud to say I'm getting better. With my writing, I need to remember that it isn't a race and it's all about enjoying the journey. Thank you for these two posts, I loved them!

Ava Jae said...

It took me a long while to really understand how to be patient with myself. It's a hard thing to learn, especially when you're not published and you write and get little in return and you start to get tired, but the sooner you learn to let the process take the time it needs and just go along for the ride and enjoy the steps along the way, the sooner you'll find you really start to enjoy this whole writing thing. At least, that's what I found. :) 

So glad you liked the posts! Thanks so much for the feedback! 

Tasha Seegmiller said...

This is so well done.  Love it!  New follower :)

Ava Jae said...

Thanks so much, Tasha! ^_^ Welcome!

JFeijten said...

Another collection of writing truths. Well done, Ava! I'm afraid that I tend to forgot number 7 and 8 from time to time :-)
Silly me! I should really sacrifice those empty hours online!  

Ava Jae said...

I think 7 and 8 are ones all of us forget from time to time (or at least, I know I have on more than one occasion). Silly us!

Beverly Diehl said...

Being brave also ties into to accepting critique.  It's like hearing somebody criticize our beautiful baby - but if it's cross-eyed, it's cross-eyed.  Might want to fix that.  :-)

Ava Jae said...

I agree! Accepting critique can be a scary thing, but it is so important to have a neutral party look at your work. You learn a lot from critiques. 

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