Welcome to Writing Rules 101.
If you want to succeed as a writer, you must be willing to submit to the rules of the writing industry. Period.
It's easy to pour our heart out in our writing and become as attached to it as our firstborn. It becomes our "baby." We think it's wonderful and that everyone should agree with us. Or, we think our newly created manuscript will hit the best seller list. How close to reality are either of these attitudes? I hate to break it to you. Not very.
You see, in the first case, becoming too attached to our writing makes us blind to see our mistakes. Since we spent hours thinking of the story line and even more trying to get the ideas down on the computer, we become deeply invested emotionally with our manuscript. Writing a novel truly is like birthing a child. Months of dreams, excitement, discomfort, frustration, lots of labor and then you produce . . . see where I'm going? No mother wants to be told her baby isn't beautiful. Although truth be told, I have five kids and one of mine just wasn't a cute baby. And I have an absence of photos to prove it! (Yes, they turned out fine but I'll keep you guessing which one it was.)
In the second case, think about this. Is there a novel out there that hasn't had some editing done to it? I'm not talking self-printing. The best sellers out there right now have had someone look over their book and EDIT it. You're not the exception.
I'm not trying to sound mean in any way. My goal is to help you get into the right mindset about writing so you'll have the best chance of succeeding. You must be willing to check your pride at the door and listen to others who know more than you do.
This week, think about these questions. Am I writing because I believe I have something important to say? Am I writing for validation? Can I be humble and learn from constructive criticism? Will I quit at the first sign of difficulty or rejection?
Only you know if you're really ready for the journey of writing. And it is a journey. If you love the process, enjoy the prose and have a purpose, then you will succeed.
But no one else can define success for you. Maybe you'll write a newsletter your neighbors will love. Maybe a church bulletin that makes people laugh. Maybe you'll write articles that touch lives. And yes, maybe you will write the next great American novel.
Spend some time thinking about the "why" question. Why am I doing this?
Next time we'll cover some of the basic rules you need to know about the industry.
Until then, write something and conquer the blank page!