I’ve been writing now for over a decade, since I was in college, well earlier really but college was when I started writing regularly and sending out my writing for others to read and between college magazines, novellas, novels and recently nonfiction books and articles I’ve picked up a few things.
We are all learning and learning is very objective. What works for me may not work for you, a ‘writing myth’ to you may be true for me. There are, however, some lessons that were hard to learn. Things I wish I’d known when I started out. Today I would like to discuss some of the more common myths that when I read them as a teenager I believed but have now learned are not true, at least not for me.
Myth: You’re not a real writer
When I started, I was obsessed with the idea that I wasn’t a ‘real’ writer until I got something published. I wasted so much time being upset that I wasn’t a ‘real’ writer. It actually makes me angry to think of this now, I spent days and days of my time being unhappy that I hadn’t ‘made it’ as a writer when I could have used that time to enjoy writing.
Myth: Everyone is a writer
Not everyone who says “I want to be a writer,” is going to be a writer and that’s o.k. It’s perfectly fine to try something, enjoy it then decide maybe it’s not for you. It can be hard when your writer friends trickle away one by one, but they’re still your friends, still good friends. You can feel that maybe you shouldn’t talk about writing with them anymore; maybe you’ve lost something that you once had in common. But that’s not the case, you can still talk to them about writing and if they’ve gone on to try something new you can learn all about it!
Myth: Your mistakes will be the end of the world
You’ll make mistakes, they won’t stop you writing. They will teach you, if you learn from your mistakes then next time you will get better. I hate to say it, but you will make different mistakes next time, and that’s not a bad thing, it means your always learning. Even the experts make mistakes, and even the experts are still learning.
Myth: Being a writer is enough
Being a writer also means being a website designer, a publicist, a marketer and a whatever-your-day-job-is. You will have to do the majority of your own publicity unless you can afford to hire someone to do it for you.
Myth: Writing is something to be done alone
Writing can be a solitary activity, but it doesn’t have to be. Long gone are the days when you would bend over your typewriter alone and lonesome. Writers groups are common, online or in person. These days’ writers no longer have to fight the loneliness that used to come with the profession, now writing can be quite the social activity.
Myth: Being a good writer is something you are born as
While a lot of people will find that they have a natural talent for it not everyone will. Some people will have a drive that gives them the motivation to pursue courses, practice regularly and learn how to become great writers. All writers who become successful will have worked hard to get there, some may have had a natural talent to help them along the way but not all.
Myth: Editing is for the editor, my spelling can be bad as long as the story is good
Editors are extremely busy and if your story fails to make a good first impression then it is highly unlikely that an editor will work to read it. Even if you have a great story if your spelling/grammar/presentation is poor then very few will take the time to get passed that. Take the time to learn these skills, practice them regularly and then your story will shine through.
Myth: Inspiration always comes naturally
Sorry to say, but I have found this to be untrue at least 60% of the time. If you wait for inspiration to strike before sitting down, then your novel may never see the light of day. Work hard, build a writing habit (regular time each day/every-other-day) and soon you won’t find yourself waiting for inspiration. You will have trained yourself to be inspired when you need to be. Inspiration can be a practised skill, a trained muscle, it can come naturally but it doesn’t have to.
Myth: There is only one way to write
Joyfully this is not true! There are many styles, techniques etc to writing. What works for one may not work for the other. Don’t force yourself to work a certain way just because someone says that’s the way to do it. Express your individual style, find your own way to work and you’ll bring more light and joy to the people around you.
I hope you found these interesting! I’d love to hear what myths you found untrue! Or maybe some of my myths are not myths to you? Let me know in the comments.
Katie Marie wrote a Book. A big one and a couple of little ones. Check them out