What My Parents Could Not Teach Me About Writing

Although writing is still writing and storytellers will be with us forever, there are some things that have changed. Things my parents could probably not have imagined.

1.  The World Is Your Oyster

We are so used to chatting to friends on Facebook and Twitter that we don’t even stop to think how wonderfully insane it is to chat to total stranger on the other side of the world. Someone you have never met, and most probably, never will. Someone you cannot call a friend. Yet you know their tastes, hopes, dreams and food preferences better than that of some family members.

So what? Well, some of your new friends read. And some of them might read exactly what you like writing. And if they don’t, they might have friends who do. Or friends of friends. Or … well, you get the idea.

In the past you had to write for a viable audience. You could not write about your passion for toys from the Second World War, because your publisher said that there is just no market for that. Well, actually that was a lie. There were the fifteen guys with you in the World War Two Toys Club (WWTTC, for the inner circle) and they all were desperate for your research. But obviously that would not enough to help you, or your publisher, make a living. So, maybe your publisher wasn’t quite lying.

But now? Now those fifteen guys found in each town all connect in a wonderful little town called The Internet. It might be a Facebook Page. Or a Twitter List. Or a Board on Pinterest. Fact of the matter is … it is at least a few thousand people now … or a few million.

And they are still interested in your research. In that book you are now writing.

2.  Be Published Or Be Your Own Publisher

We have all been to a Book Fair, and attended a talk by a publisher on “How to get published”. Remember? That is usually when you realise exactly how it works in publishing.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /Free Digital Photos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /Free Digital Photos.net

You see, up to that time, you thought that the best books are published. And you worked very hard to become one of those “best books” in whatever genre you love. And still, you received rejection after rejection.

And you felt worthless and terrible.

You even thought of quitting.

Until that day at the Book Fair. The day when you finally realised what this is all about. Because that publisher said, in so many words, that they publish what will sell. And they have limited resources to do so.

You finally understood that publishing is not about craft and beauty and quality. Sure – those things should be part and parcel of any good book. But publishing is actually a corporate business looking to make money. And to do that they do market research. And th

ey use that market research to decide which books to publish.

Don’t get me wrong – I have absolutely nothing against publishers (good ones, that is!). Love them to bits and support them wildly.

But they are there to achieve very specific, pre-structured goals.

And if your book doesn’t fall within those requirements, then you are rejected.

That is the truth.

Or was.

These days you have options. You can actually choose whether you want to publish through a publisher or self-publish. In fact, often excellent self-published books ar

e later on published by ‘traditional’ publishers. Yes … because they sold well as self-published books, of course!

Do keep in mind that ‘traditionally’ published books go through (usually) stringent

quality control processes. If you want to self-publish you have to set those processes in place yourself. And that can cost money. But then … it allows you to write that book for those crazy guys in World War II clubs.

3.  Writing Comes In All Shapes And Sizes

As you grow as a writer, you will know ‘who you are’ in terms of writing. But don’t let that limit you. Writing comes in all kinds of genres and in all kinds of ways.

You could write fiction. Or non-fiction. Or both.

You could epic fantasy series.

Or copy for companies.

There’s so much you can do if you are able to wield words effectively.

Don’t let the known limit you – try out different genres, different media.

Write a screenplay if you want!

Or copy for greeting cards.

Write the great [add country’s name] Novel.

Or an amazing book for toddlers.

Share your sense of humour or show your dark side.

Writing has come into its own and you should ride this wave all the way to the beach!



Categories: Uncategorized, Writing habits

Tags: , , , ,

2 replies

  1. You are a pleasure to read. It’s nice to be back. Thank you so much for the follow, L. (Btw, my B.A. is in Linguistics from Univ of PA.) =)

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