4 Common Misconceptions About Writing

If I had a nickel for every time someone said, “I want to write, but I heard [common misconception about writing],” then I’d be a rich man. It’s a shame that there are so many people out there who won’t take that step toward becoming a writer because they believe something they heard from a friend of a friend that turned out to be untrue. At the same time, there are people who believe certain misconceptions that make writing sound so simple that they could easily master it. They eventually give up when they realize the shocking truth.

That’s why I’m here to clear up any confusion by breaking down the four most common misconceptions about writing, and sharing the truth behind them.

1. Misconception: Writing Is Very Difficult

Truth: There are people out there who are afraid to start writing because it’s too difficult. While it’s not exactly easy to write quality material on a consistent basis, it shouldn’t be viewed as some impossible feat. I always say this, but writing is like working out: the more you do it, the better you become at it. If you write a little bit each day, even if it’s just a paragraph or two, you’re improving your craft, and it will become much less difficult as time goes on.

2. Misconception: Everything Good Has Been Written Already

Truth: We live in a glorious time for entertainment. There are countless books, movies, television shows, etc. that cover unique material. This may be excellent for viewers, but some emerging writers may find it frustrating since they believe all the good stories have been taken. The truth is that there are countless ways to spin a story. Take a look at one of the most successful movies of all time: Avatar. Did you know that it’s plot is extremely similar to a previous film called Dances with Wolves? You should always strive to write something original, but if you find out that you’re idea is similar to something that’s already been created, don’t toss it in the garbage. Find a way to weave it into your own version.

3. Misconception: Writing Will Make You Rich

Truth: I’ve talked about this topic before, but I want to continue to stress the point: it’s tough becoming a rich and prosperous author right out the gate. If you decide one day that you’re going to write a best-selling novel and quit your full-time job to pursue that endeavor, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. It takes a lot of hard work, plenty of time, and some good luck to turn your writing into a full-time gig that will pay the bills.

4. Misconception: You Need To Use Big, Fancy Words

Truth: Out of all the misconceptions I frequently hear, this one irritates me the most. When I was in college, I had to peer-edit a lot of essays where the writer tried to use as many long words as they could because they wanted to hit that page limit or they thought it would impress the professor.

If you want to use longer words, then write to your heart’s content. But don’t think that in order to be a good writer, you need to have a thesaurus propped open next to your laptop and that you can’t use words with less than five letters. In most cases, brevity is key.

FAQ: Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing

When I first considered publishing, I didn’t have much guidance. I was basically told, “Hey, just Google it.” Well, Google is indeed a wonderful tool, but sometimes, you need something a little more direct to give you the answers you want and need. From my experience interacting with various writer groups as well as indie author communities, I’ve learned that one of the most common sources of confusion is in regards to self-publishing vs. traditional publishing.

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Contacting Literary Agents: How to Write a Query Letter

I speak a lot about self-publishing because that’s the route I decided to take for my own writing. However, while I found to be self-publishing to be much easier and better suited for my tastes, I don’t think you should count out traditional publishing for your own work. After all, traditional publishing is the big leagues. 99% of the books you find on bookstore shelves are from established publishing houses. Why not take that leap and see if you can make it? Do you think you have what it takes to get published?

But before you can get published, you need to find a literary agent. And how do you go about getting an agent? You need a query letter.

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Book Marketing 101

I’m going to be honest with you: no matter how great your book is, it won’t mean jack if you don’t know how to market it. You could literally write the next Great American Novel on par with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer or The Catcher in the Rye, and it could end up gathering dust on the library shelves for years to come. In the world of authorship, writing is only half the battle. The real work is getting your book into the hands of readers. But how do you master the art of book marketing?

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How a Negative Book Review Can Be a Good Thing

“…poorly written, reads like a first draft of Mary Sue fanfiction where the author inserted himself into the main character to get back at all the bullies in his life…”

What you’ve just read was an actual review for my book, “Dodger’s Doorway”. Seems harsh, right? How can someone be so brash and blunt when reviewing an independent author’s first piece of work? I mean, give us a break, right? We’re out here putting our sweat and blood into our writing; the least you could do is cut us some slack when reviewing our books.

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Self-Publishing vs. “Traditional” Publishing

For most writers, the ultimate goal is to get published. One of the greatest feelings in the world is holding that first hard copy of your work in your hands. You think to yourself, “Wow, this is the result of my hard work. I’ve accomplished something!” If you’ve had your work published, congratulations! You deserve every bit of success that comes your way! If you’ve self-published, congratulations! You deserve every bit of success that comes your way!

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