A Few Author Myths Debunked (I Hope)

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.

 

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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45 Responses to A Few Author Myths Debunked (I Hope)

  1. I agree with you. I need to have the right setting and can’t just rip off a couple thousand words. My MS has been languishing for a month now, and it’s going to take time to get back to speed. Everything you’ve said makes sense.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I totally agree on these myths. We make it look so easy when it’s damn hard.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. L. Marie says:

    I also relate to these myths. I often have people who call in the middle of the day, because they assume I’m not doing anything, even when I mention I’m working on a book. Though it’s hard to settle into writing mode sometimes, especially when you know you have only a short amount of time to get anything done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The midday texts and chats. Forgot about those. Only one person on my friends list can truly get away with that because she’s an author too. So, there’s an understanding if my response is delayed. A few others have figured it out though.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Good post! This probably felt good to rite. 😊 I agree. Someone close to me was hearing my exasperation with different programs and the problems I was having with content organization for my interactive book. He said, “It doesn’t make sense. Writing is supposed to be easy. All you need is a simple blank page, right? You shouldn’t even need nivel software.” This person doesn’t read let alone write. I almost put him in a strangle hold and made him take everything back.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. V.M.Sang says:

    I agree with every wore, Charles. Especially the bit about people thinking you’re not doing anything when writing! and those who think writing is easy! Why do they think it takes so long to write a novel? If it’s so easy, we should be able to toss one out every month. (NaNoWriMo proves how difficult it is to get even 50,000 words done in 1 month, let alone a full novel!)
    And as for those people who won’t pay full price but only ‘buy’ books when they are free or heavily discounted…Well, enough said!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Funny that you mention the price thing. My post today kind of touches on that. It gets really strange when you’re talking about a $2.99 eBook. If we were household names then people would buy regardless of price, which is a shame. A ‘Game of Thrones’ ebook is $15.99, which could cover 5 of my books for around the same price. I understand why that is, but you’d think someone could take a chance on a new face for 1/5 of the price.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. V.M.Sang says:

    My proof reading has gone down the drain. *Every word*

    Like

  7. Ah, and the ever popular, “I have a great idea and you should write it!”

    Like

  8. Reblogged this on Nicholas C. Rossis and commented:
    Charles’ rant… which covers me completely! Why do people think that writing is easy?!

    Like

  9. Jan Sikes says:

    A great post, Charles! You hit on so many misconceptions about authors!!

    Like

  10. Prior... says:

    Enjoyed your explanations about the myths – agree with them – and learned first hand about the help authors need – at different times – and how those with more moola and resources have a different experience with their projects.
    Also / just recently learned more about target audience and genre and so your point about not doing the ” trend first” was good advice
    Although – not sure I agree that all of the “previous work would go to waste”
    Because the writer was honing skills and gaining momentum – but it would have drawbacks – but maybe not all would be a waste.

    Anyhow – hope you get the time you need for flow and to find your groove and as annoying as it is to have others make plans for you – how blessed you are to even have the to grapple with – it is such a good thing to have family and a social life –

    Like

    • I learned the moola and resource lesson the hard way. Never had much of the first, but I used to have a good supporting system that helped when putting out a book. Then, a lot of people quit blogging, quit writing, or went off into their own corners. That’s what showed me how much I was depending on others.

      It’s hard to say if the previous stuff would go to waste or not. While you do hone your skills, you could also do that while publishing a series in your preferred genre. There are also subtle differences between genres, so you will have to adjust a little when you jump. That momentum can also die rather quickly once you make the jump. I was doing a traditional fantasy adventure for 5 years and thought I had good momentum. I began my fantasy vampire story (same world and writing style) to find that most readers didn’t follow me.

      Time is pretty broken with work and life. I’ve had to fend off a lot of people for free time lately. As far as being blessed, I would like to point out that most of the people in those circles don’t take me seriously as an author and repeatedly tell me to stop in order to join in the spontaneous plans. Don’t really feel blessed in that situation.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Prior... says:

        Yes – I can see the annoyance but do try to not let it rob your joy….
        and side note – was just reading a snippet about Victor Hugo in the “atomic habits” book by James Clear
        So I guess victor hugo was getting sidetracked all the time (people were taking him very serious as an author and he was getting delayed on his book contract again) and victor Hugo hunkered down and you might know the story – but I guess Hugo locked his jackets in a trunk and only had a shawl which forced him to stay inside more – he then finished the hunchback of Notre Dame in months…

        So much point is even when folks do take your serious there might be “pulls” on you –

        Like

      • Let me put it this way. About 2 years ago, I could finish one of my books in 3 months since I spent 10 years planning about 30+ series. Now, I’m working a fulltime job, which I love. I can’t work at night and don’t get many weekends, which means it now takes me 6 months to finish a small book. Once I stopped being a full-time author, people saw blood in the water and decided to wipe out what little writing time I had left. I usually have to scream and yell for time, but that leaves me too angry to do anything. Victor Hugo had it easy. I tried to say I couldn’t find my jacket and I was lent one. Even an exhausting week doesn’t get me any time unless it ends in me being too sick to leave the house. In that scenario, I’m too sick to get any writing done either. Welcome to my life.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Prior... says:

        Oh thanks for the replies and nice to get a glimpse into your life….
        😊📚📚📚

        Like

      • You’re welcome. Sadly, the glimpses aren’t too pretty. Sorry about that.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Prior... says:

        Oh no worries and glad you are keeping it real… also – the debunking of the myths was helpful –

        Like

  11. missimontana says:

    “What are you doing today?”
    “I’m writing all day.”
    “Oh, so you’re doing nothing, right?”
    That’s how people see it.

    Like

  12. floatinggold says:

    About the last myth. I definitely think that what I write is about me. It does not matter if it’s popular or not. However, publishers DO care about it. They say: “There is no demand for this right now.” A bit heartbreaking.

    Like

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