Sabotaging Your Writing Career Before It Takes Off
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Yes, we all learn from our mistakes, however, we don’t have to make all the mistakes before we learn. We can equally learn from the mistakes of others.
In the pursuit of our writing careers, there are mistakes that have the potential to truncate it even before it begins. I am not excited to say that I have made a good number of them and still working to dig myself out of my errors.
I am equally ashamed to say that I fall into the category of writers with piles of half-finished stories and essays yet to be polished and sent to potential publishers.
The great thing is that though these mistakes might derail your quest for a while, with the right approach, you can get back on track.
Writing ‘A Pipe Dream.’
I’ve met a lot of would-be writers who are either ‘working on a book,’ or planning ‘to start working’ on one – when they can find the time – and most of them have worked on that elusive book of theirs for years and years that they’ve even forgotten what the story was about in the first place.
Interestingly, they don’t share their attempts with anyone. They also hardly bother to read guides, blogs or articles that could help to improve their writing career. If you are such a closet writer who fails to show your work to anybody and unable to compare it to what’s obtainable out there, you are living in that highly deceptive fantasy land that your work is fabulous.
For some reason, lots of nonfiction writers think that writing a how-to book, a memoir or an autobiography is easier to write than fiction and this is far from the truth.
Writing nonfiction requires careful structuring — especially a memoir. To slap up a haphazard chronology of one’s life never makes for a compelling reading. I started writing a memoir and in the process of writing my memoir, I asked myself severally ‘why would anyone want to read my memoir, what value does it have to offer?’ Needless to say, I am still writing this memoir, but rethinking my approach because the first attempt was as boring as ever.
You may need to burst your own bubble that you’re a self-taught writing genius oozing with all the talent in the world and that you don’t need to learn a thing or two about writing as a profession.
As long as nobody reads your work – no, not your long-suffering spouse, mother, agreeable siblings and friends – I am sorry to let you know that those everlasting works in progress of yours may never see the light of the day to make it to the top of the bottom of the bestseller lists on Amazon, New York, and wherever you fancy, once you wake up and decide to share it.
Your attitude of ignorance might be a good one when you’re taking those first steps of venturing into the writing field when the tendency to self-doubt is at its peak. You create your first draft and learn the rules later because there are times when learning the rules first could be inundating and simply creates more doubt. However, learn the rules and the rope, you must.
If your hope is to publish eventually, spending years in the closet will simply not work in your favour. That sets you up for disappointments and possible scamming – yes, it happens.
There are scammers ready to thrive on your delusions. Do your research before jumping into the marketplace to avoid the harsh realities of the University of writing hard knocks.
Google your interest area to find out how many similar books are out there. Read as many as you possibly can and approach yours from a fresh perspective.
If you do hope to publish your work at some point, you have to pay attention to this field of interest that you’re trying to enter. How do they perform in the market? Who are the target readers in this spectrum?
On a final note, don’t be afraid to get your work out there into the public eye. Criticism can only make it better and you could be delightfully surprised.
Let us know if you have published. What’s your experience been like? Do you plan to publish? You can share insights in the comments and add titles/links of your published work if you have.
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