|Photo credit: Victoria Nevland on Flickr|
I’ve written about general writing truths and truths I wish I knew before I began writing. Now here are five hard writing truths, that may not be the most enjoyable to consider, but are true nevertheless (and thus, worth knowing, I think).
- Writing isn’t always fun. Recent example: I decided it’d be a good idea to draft two first drafts back to back, during a time that I’ve basically been busier than ever. (Spoiler alert: I was wrong). It usually takes me a month (or less) to get through a draft, and with both drafts combined I’ve been first drafting since…oh…beginning of June? Something like that.
Anyway, I finally finished yesterday (after writing this post), but it felt like forever for me. And I was tired. And there were many many days where the writing dragged, probably because I was a little burnt out, but the book wasn’t going to write itself and so I kept showing up. And sometimes (a lot of times, really) it wasn’t fun. But if your goal is to make a career out of your writing, then you need to learn to show up even when you don’t feel like it, even when you aren’t particularly inspired, even when you’re tired and would rather…not.
And you know what? Sometimes it starts off not fun, but as you get into the zone, it becomes fun. And even if it doesn’t, at least you’re progressing, which is always a pretty big plus.
- Sometimes you won’t do anything wrong and your MS still won’t sell. Whether sell to you means getting an agent, getting a publishing contract or selling reasonably well in the self-publishing market, this still applies.
Sometimes, writers write really awesome books and they revise and revise and revise and the book is totally not the least bit bad but…it ends up trunked anyway. It happens. It happens a lot, unfortunately, whether because it wasn’t the right time, or the market just didn’t like it, or whatever the case may be, but it’s a reality of publishing.
- A second job is (often) necessary. This applies to both self-pubbers and traditionally published authors. Most writers have to wait years after publishing their debut before they get enough steady income to be able to support themselves on just their writing. It often takes several published books and a lot of time to be able to establish yourself and get some consistent sales in. It’s not an easy thing to accept, particularly if your dream is to make a living just writing (which is the case for many many writers), but it’s the truth.
- So. Much. Stigma. If you write YA, you will face book snobbishness stigma. If you write NA, you will face book snobbishness stigma. If you write romance, you will face book snobbishness stigma (especially if you’re a woman). If you self-publish in any genre, or publish with a small press in any genre, you will face publishing snobbishness stigma. If you’re a woman who writes in a traditionally male genre (or a genre viewed as traditionally male) you will face sexist book snobbishness stigma.
It’s irritating. And infuriating. And completely unfair and needs to change. But it is, unfortunately, a very prevalent (and mostly unavoidable) issue.
- It never really gets any easier. A lot of times new writers have a tendency of thinking that once they get published, life will be sugar rainbows and rose petals. You’ll get into the swing of things, make some money, start publishing book after book like a dream come true.
I’m not yet published, but judging from the experience of authors way more experienced than myself (like, say, Sarah Dessen), this is pretty far from the truth. (By the way, that Dessen link? You should read it. It’s a post written by Dessen about recovering after trunking a novel, because even multi-published authors face writing struggles).
The kind of great thing about writing (and also difficult thing) is there’s always more to learn. Writers never really reach a point of mastery where the words come permanently easier and they can confidently proceed into every book with full confidence that it’ll be awesome and published. There’s always self-doubt, there’s always a struggle, there’s always more to learn and while writers do eventually learn what routines and tools and strategies work for them, writing itself doesn’t really ever get any easier.
And you know? I think it’s kind of okay. Because yes, it’s hard, and yes, it’ll continue to be hard, but to me, the struggle makes the end result that much more rewarding.
What hard writing truths would you add to the list?
"Writing isn't always fun" & "it never really gets any easier" are 2/5 writing truths @Ava_Jae shares. Do you agree? (Click to tweet)
Writer @Ava_Jae shares five hard writing truths in today's post. What would you add to the list? (Click to tweet)