3/5/2018 8 Comments
1. First Drafts Are Always Awful
I used to think that published authors spent years hammering out perfectly-crafted first drafts, and then spent the rest of editing making light tweaks to the wondrous work they’d created. Nothing could be more wrong. Authors push to finish terrible, laughable, ghastly first drafts, so that they can then get down to the real work of crafting a book—revision. The goal of a first draft is to finish the damn draft. That’s it!
2. The People Who Get Published Are Not Magical, They Are Hard Workers
Published authors are not magical unicorns touched by angels, thus able to create spell-binding works with little to no effort. Published authors work hard, scrapping for everything they get, and usually endure years of rejection before making it in the business. Anyone can write a book, but it takes grit and determination to bang against doors until your skill level is honed and your story breaks through. Publishing is more about endurance and guts than raw talent.
3. Your Success Is Not Defined By The Success Of Others
The lives of authors on social media are not real lives--that’s a collection of people’s best days hitting you all at once. Some mornings are a parade of announcements, victories, and milestones by others, which can unintendedly bring an author down if they don’t have anything to tout. But that way lies madness. Being an author already is a success, and there will be more stories to come. You should be proud in your achievements without worrying about others. There’s always a bigger fish until you hit J.K. Rowling.
4. EVERYONE Has Imposter Syndrome
Everyone. No matter how many books they’ve published. And when that’s gone, it’s replaced by a feeling that your best works are behind you. These anxieties are false, and also completely natural. Know that they’re devils on your shoulder, and not reality. Take a walk or a nap and you’ll feel better.
5. Writers Do NOT Need to Write Every Day
That’s just silly. You’d go nuts. You have to fill the well, so that the stories have somewhere to come from. That doesn’t mean shirking your work is a good idea, but living a real life is vital for storytellers. It’s okay to go see Black Panther by yourself on a Thursday afternoon. Do it.
6. Writer’s Block Is Usually A Sign Something’s Wrong In Your Story
I’ve found that when I’m most blocked, it’s usually my subconscious identifying a story problem I haven’t consciously acknowledged yet. Backtracking to the last place things felt good and assess the choices I made there almost always helps. Did I go in the wrong direction? And if all else fails, I blow something up. Conflict!
7. Second Books Are Hard
Cut yourself some slack. People often craft a first book for five years or more, then have to produce a second novel in six months. Everyone understands how hard this change can be. Do your best to find a writing pace that works. And you won’t get locked out of publishing because you put out a clunker. Play the long game.
8. Third Books Are Even Harder, Especially In A Series
It’s extremely hard to wrap up a three-book story. So many loose ends. Just take your time and do the work. Plan. Execute. You’ve got this.
9. Be Nice To Everyone
This should go without saying, but being pleasant in all interactions during your professional life is more than just good citizenship, it’s smart business. Yesterday’s entry-level publicist could be tomorrow’s editor. Everyone involved with your books works hard. Make sure to take the time to show your appreciation. Snacks are a great way.
10. Books Can Change The World For The Better. Really.
It’s a great time to be in children’s publishing because so much amazing content is now seeing the light of day that previously had no chance. Champion underrepresented voices. Support diverse books. Read outside your comfort zone. Be mindful in your own work. Do the research. Believe. Good luck!
About The Author
Link to my Review to Genesis By Brandon Reichs