This week I read a brilliant article in the Huffington Post by Michelle Combs, titled “What Not to Wear After Age 50: The Final Say”. The article basically dismissed all those idiots who think they have a right to tell us how to look and what to wear once we’ve reached that age. Combs’ response was to say that the only things we shouldn’t wear are shame and regret, rose-colored glasses, too many hats, etc. I loved the piece and recommend it to every woman!
As someone who’s been writing and publishing fiction for 35 years, I have my own take on what not to wear from a writer’s perspective. First, I totally agree with Combs when she says take off the rose-colored glasses. Holy cow, I can’t tell you how many writers I’ve come across who are deeply disappointed or downright angry that their books aren’t making any money. I’ve actually seen writers on Twitter literally beg readers to buy their book. Come on, people. Writing is not a get-rich-quick-scheme. The chances of making it big are remote at best, which brings me to my second point.
Combs’ statement about wearing too many hats also applies to writers. If you have a family, a day job, volunteer somewhere, and are working on six different writing projects, ask yourself if quality or quantity is better. Authors are placing so much pressure on themselves to publish frequently that quality is suffering. Step back and take stock.
Third, stop comparing yourself with others. Every writer’s journey is different. We bring our unique experience and perspective to the table, then use whatever time, energy, skill, talent, and tenacity we have. Keeping up with the Jones’s has always been a no-win situation.
Fourth, don’t be afraid to try something new. This doesn’t just mean writing in a new genre, but perhaps taking a course, attending a conference, joining a critique group, or simply taking good advice from a writer who’s been there. It doesn’t hurt writers to step out of their comfort zones now and then. The writing experience is deeply connected to personal growth.
Having said that, I want to say finally, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You can gather all of the thoughtful, informative info in the world on marketing, publishing, and writing, and I’m betting that your efforts still won’t be perfect. Mistakes happen. Deal with it. Just to your best to avoid the ones you could have avoided with a little more research and effort.
There are many more tips I’ve learned over the years, but these will get you started. And if you have any to share, please do so!