Friday, August 3, 2012

warning: I may have mucked up here

After a few weeks of writing about writing, I read two blog posts today that made me feel rather chastened. An author and an agent, both of whom I respect very much, believe that writers giving advice on writing and publishing can in effect make other writers feel worse if their journey takes a different route. For example, when I talk about how I write, or how I queried, or how long it took my books to sell, it can make people having a different experience feel crummy.


I had a lot of lows during both rounds of querying. I had three rounds of submissions that didn't end in sales. I wrote complete books my agent wouldn't consider. I auditioned for gigs and wasn't chosen. It has not been all roses and cupcakes and baby wombats in Delilahland.


I ended up where I wanted to be, and I can't really complain. The way I write works for me, and I hope that something I say might make someone out there feel better, not worse. If any of my writing advice has caused you pain, I want to apologize. Every journey is different. Every writer works hard and deserves respect.

When I'm writing a post or answering a question on a panel or on my Facebook page, I always try to add a qualifier. In my opinion. In my experience. I personally feel. I do not know everything, y'all--not by a long shot. And when I don't know enough about a particular topic, I try to communicate that clearly instead of tossing out opinions or negativity. For example, when I'm asked about self-publishing, I try to express that I'm glad that option is out there, but for me, right now, it's not my journey. I don't have the cojones for it. That might change one day, but right now, I'm basically an ignoramus on the topic.


If I hurt your feelings, I'm sorry. If I made it sound like my writing advice was the only way, was guaranteed, or would completely remove pain from the process, I apologize. The truth is that writing can be the most wonderful thing in your life, and it can also put the smackdown on your heart and shrivel up your soul and give you big purple bags under your eyes and make you gain weight and be snappy with the people you love.

But I believe that if you want to write, you'll write. And I hope you find what you're looking for. <3 p="p">



Elisabeth Black said...

I like to read about other writers' process. It makes me inspired, no matter whether it would work for me or not. Anyone can see you've been working on your artistry for a long time. You deserve the success you have, and it could really help someone to read the things you've written about it. Carry on.

Literaticat said...

Oh sweetie, I don't think you need to APOLOGIZE for anything. I love writing advice, I give it, I tweet it, I listen to it - you just have to know that what works for one person is what works for THEM, and it is A-OK if it doesn't work for YOU.

YOU know that already, I am saying. Ugh whatever you know what I mean.


Leigh Ann said...

You definitely are not on the hook for any bad feelings in my book, LOL! Adding qualifiers is exactly how I blog. "For me," "In my experience," "What I've found to be true for myself." If you're doing that, you're one thousand more considerate than many advice-givers I've seen.

It's the "you must write every day if you're going to see success," or the "if you don't have a certain request rate, you haven't worked hard enough on your query" sort of advice that rubs me the wrong way. There are a million factors at play. Speaking about YOUR experience and YOUR path is exactly the right way to do it.

You are a rock star.
And I already admired you very much, but for being as conscious as you were in this post, I admire you a kajillion times more.

Wishing you all the luck and writing-career fruitfulness in the world. And sending you a big hug. <3

Validation said...

I read your blog regularly. I do not think you have not mucked anything up. I would think anyone who reads your writing knows quite well you are sharing your experience and not trying to do anything but help. I find it interesting and enjoyable. Please don't stop.

Lexi H said...

I hope these comments have made you feel better. I enjoy reading them, and hope everyone keeps in mind writing isn't a one way thing. Everyone does their own way.