5 (More) Writing Truths

Photo credit: fractured-fairytales on Flickr
So back in December 2011(!!), I wrote a two part post on ten writing truths that I’d learned along the way. For those who are interested, the posts are here and here.

Now, over two years later, I thought it’d be a good time to add some more truths that I’ve picked up over the past two years. So without further ado, here are five more writing truths:

  1. No matter how many times you edit, you will still find typos.  Now, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t bother editing, it just means if you send out a query and realize you wrote “ths” instead of “this” on page three of your sample even though you looked at it a hundred times and you were sure there weren’t any typos, you don’t need to panic. Typos happen, and as long as your work isn’t riddled with them, they’re not a death sentence. 

  2. Your query letter should be just as polished as your manuscript. I wrote a whole post explaining why this is important, but the short version is this: if you spend months perfecting your manuscript and only five minutes on your query, chances are publishing professionals aren’t going to get past your slap-dash query to see the hard work of your writing. Your query is your first impression—spend extra time on it to make sure it’s a good one. 

  3. You shouldn’t write to a trend, but you don’t want to ignore them, either. The problem with writing to a trend is the trends you see in stores now were in editors hands something like two years ago. So even if you dash off an amazing manuscript quickly, editors are going to be tired of seeing whatever trend is on the shelves today—they’re looking for something different to put out in the next couple years.

    That being said, it’s important to be aware of what’s selling and what trends are overcrowded. As a writer, your field is publishing, and it’s important to know what’s going on in your field. 

  4. Some days everyone’s good news will make you feel terrible. Chances are the day will come when you’ve received yet another rejection and you’re feeling pretty discouraged, then someone posts about how they just got an agent or book deal and you want to be happy for them, but instead you just feel like a failure. And you know what? Those days are normal, and you aren’t a terrible person for feeling disappointed.

    The good news is those days don’t last forever, because other days will come around when someone shares their good news and you’ll be in the right frame of mind to genuinely celebrate with them. And that’s pretty great. 

  5. Writing is hard, but waiting is harder. This is why my frequent advice to those in the query trenches is to write something else. Few things are more maddening than sitting around waiting for a response to that query, or that submission, with absolutely nothing else to distract you. Distractions are good. Distractions are wonderful, in fact, and the best kind are the ones that will leave you with a shiny new manuscript at the end of it. 

So those are my writing truths—now I want to hear from you. What writing truths would you add to the list? 

Twitter-sized bites:
Writer @Ava_Jae shares five truths all writers must face. What would you add to the list? (Click to tweet)  
Have you faced these five writing truths? Join the discussion at @Ava_Jae's blog. (Click to tweet)


Cait Spivey said...

All good truths! Another truth I would add is not to go it alone, or think that you have to. Whether you have betas, CPs, editors, or just writer friends who know what you're going through, it's important to make those connections!


M Kinnel said...

These are great! #4 is something that I've dealt with and feel so guilty when one of my writer friends moved ahead in the process and I wasn't as excited as I should have been. But I know everyone's writing journey is going to be different.

Ava Jae said...

That's a great one, Cait, and I couldn't agree more. The journey is hard enough as it is, but going it alone just makes it even more emotionally exhausting.

Ava Jae said...

Yes, the typo thing has caused me many a facedesk. *sigh*

Ava Jae said...

#4 tends to be one of those that we like to pretend doesn't happen, but I think it's important to talk about it so people understand it's normal. We have our ups and downs, and it's ok to feel a little disappointed as long as we remain professional.

Michelle Irwin said...

What a great list. I'm currently playing the waiting game and agree wholeheartedly with #5. Nothing better than a distraction to, well, distract from the waiting time. It's definitely not perfect though, I still check my inbox way more than necessary when I've got a query out there.

#2 is brilliant too, although I've heard of it slipping dangerously the other way too, where the query is polished to perfection at the expense of the manuscript being barely edited.

Ava Jae said...

Thanks, Michelle! You're definitely right that it's equally important to make sure that your manuscript is polished to a gleam. A beautiful query isn't going to help you if your manuscript still needs several rounds of editing.

As for #5, I'm not sure there's a cure of constant e-mail checking. Heh.

Charlotte Brentwood said...

I can identify with all of these as I'm currently in that waiting space. I'm so grateful you mentioned #4. It happened to me this past week after a particularly hard rejection, and I felt so guilty for not feeling completely happy about the other author's success. Glad to know I'm not the only one.

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