This is coming late because I missed this day on the scheduling. I think. Anyway, I had a post I was going to do Sunday that I’ll do now. It’s kind of a rant, but I’m sure people can relate in some fashion.
One of the most FRUSTRATING things in my life is that people seem to assume they know how I function as an author. Others believe they know everything about writing even though they don’t do it themselves. A lot of assumptions are made and this leads to invasions of what little free time I have to do writing. For example, I get events sprung on me when I get a weekend that my son is with his mother. People see this time as me being ‘free’ to hang out the whole time, but I see it as potential writing time. I can try to do both, but everyone pouncing on me destroys the whole thing. I’ve come to realize that this is because of some myths that they believe about authors. I’m going to argue against those right now:
Myth: You Can Just Sit and Write Whenever Time Appears
Some authors can do this, but it isn’t as common as one thinks. Even those who claim to have this power show that they need to be in the right mindset. You can’t just stumble onto a free hour and dive right in, especially if it’s been a long time since you touched your project. I’ve found that many who do this end up rewriting or junking what they’ve made during this moment because they rushed. Better quality is made when an author is able to get in the right mindset and not be thinking that they will be interrupted at any moment.
Myth: An Author Works Alone
This one hurts the most because of who used it a lot. There is this odd belief that authors don’t need connections beyond those with readers. Editors, promoters, fellow authors, and publishers are acknowledged as existing, but they aren’t seen as part of the overall process. The truth is that we need people to help us. It’s rare when you find an author who can wear all the hats and those tend to have more money or time to do so.
Myth: Promoting is Easy
I don’t even know where to start with this one. First of all, what works for one author will not always work for another. You have to factor in comfort zones, personal ability, and market saturation. If everyone is jumping on one promo site then you won’t be able to stand out, but you won’t reach many on a small site where you’re the only face. It takes a lot of research, trial and error, and creativity. When you’re run down emotionally, this area will suffer too. It isn’t like we toss out a promo and the money rolls in.
Myth: Writing Is Not Art
Not even sure how to respond to this one. It takes time, energy, imagination, and results in the creation of something that will hopefully bring joy. It’s hard to get attention for writing since it requires more focus and effort to test out than other arts. One can look at a movie or show with a few seconds to know if it’s good. Same goes for music and less time for a painting. We talk about the first line having to hook the reader, which we try our best at, but that isn’t always successful. I believe that you really need a solid opening chapter to really grab a reader and that requires an artistry of words.
Myth: You Can Always Write When You Retire
First of all, this follows the assumption that one will have the ability to retire or even live to see that day. Not to mention you can retire then be in such a physical or mental state that it simply isn’t going to happen. Why do we think artists, especially authors, can simply wait until they shoot for their dreams? I don’t hear people telling doctors or lawyers to wait until they’re in their 70’s since those professions take a lot of time, energy, and money to achieve as well. Yes, society doesn’t really take books seriously unless they have a movie or TV show attached. Yet, they had to be books first . . . I assume. Hard to tell these days with all the reboots.
Myth: Write What Is Popular and Then Jump to What You Love
Been told this from the beginning and I still think this is a dangerous path. Trends last only for so long and many of the recent ones revolve around franchises instead of general ideas. You can’t make a ‘Star Wars’ clone and get the same success as you would have had doing a vampire book during the vampire boom. You also run into a problem if you’re favored genre isn’t the same as the trend. If you build yourself up as a romance author when you really want to do Western action then you need to pray that the audience jumps with you. In reality, they’re romance readers and might be more loyal to the genre than the author. So, you can end up falling back to square one and all of that previous work went to waste.
Those are the big ones that I can think of. I’m sure some people will disagree on some of my arguments. Do you have any author myths to mention and debunk? I’ll even add them below with a link to your blog.