Fear is probably the #1 factor preventing writers from seeing success in their careers. I’ve had many writers tell me they’re afraid of failing, afraid of rejection, afraid of bad reviews, afraid people will laugh at them, afraid readers will hate their book, afraid people will judge them or tell them they are selfishly wasting their time writing when they could be doing something more productive or meaningful.
There are probably more reasons to be afraid than there are to keep writing.
Let’s face it. Every single writer has and will have negative responses from their writing. There will always be people that dislike, maybe even hate, your work. That’s life. The sooner you can accept and expect it, the easier it will be to knock over your fear.
An excellent list written with a sense of humor. I would say the exception to not using some of these words would be in dialogue if the characters we’re creating use words such as “awesome” and “really.”
Writing is tricky. Trying to express your meaning clearly can be hard enough, but also making it engaging can be quite the balancing act. As a writer, I’m still working on it, but as an editor, ill-considered or lazy writing jumps off the page at me like a facehugger from Aliens. While much of any writer’s voice is a product of their individual choices, there are a few words everyone needs to be wary of.
No creative soul likes receiving negative feedback on their work—no matter what we might tell you, beloved crit partners, beta readers, editors, agents.
Yes, we may admit we need it, and that it helps immeasurably to get objective input on what may not be as effective on the page as it is in your head, but as one author I work with memorably put it, having someone offer positive, constructive critique of your story is like an Orange Theory workout: You dread it going into it, hate every second while it’s going on, but afterward you feel great having done it.
But receiving negative, destructive input—criticism—can do more damage to your writing, and your creative efforts in general, than almost any other pitfall of writing life. I’ve heard too many horror stories—one just this week that inspired this post—about feedback that shut down authors’ creative impulses…
This is an outstanding article on point of view in writing. During writing workshops I’ve been a part of with the Military Writers Society of America (MWSA), this is a topic that new writers usually have questions about. Now I have an excellent resource to refer writers to. And I appreciated the author’s concise and understandable explanations. So thank you, Tiffany Yates Martin.
Re-posting some previous posts that followers have told me they found most helpful. Today’s post was written after I had to re-edit, proofread and generally sort out a manuscript that had been published by a vanity press purporting to be a legitimate small press, who had charged the client in question thousands of pounds. In my subsequent ‘nosing about’, I discovered some authors that had been badly let done by small presses. That said, I do appreciate that there are lots of fabulous small presses out there that work incredibly hard for their authors.
I recently wrote a bit of a rant about the quality control of some small presses whose books I had read.
If you are thinking of signing with a small publisher, then do bear a few things in mind.
Do your homework – start off by Googling the publisher. You might find threads on writing sites…
The topic of self-editing can spark confusion so I’ve invited along a professional editor — one I’ve worked with on multiple books — who will show you how to edit a book yourself. And this is exactly where we run into the first misconception about self-editing because it’s not a replacement for proper editing, but one of the stages of the editorial process.
Growing up as a horse lover in Maryland, I never imagined I would win an award like Maryland’s Touch of Class Award someday. The Touch of Class Award honors Maryland horses, individuals, teams, organizations, or events that demonstrate national or international excellence. The Maryland Horse Industry Board honored me and my second book, Believing In Horses, Too, for our winning entry in the 2019 EQUUS Film and Arts Festival Literary Awards.
The Department of Agriculture’s Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB) Executive Director Ross Peddicord said, “We have so many talented artists in Maryland – writers, artists, filmmakers, photographers, and more – and Valerie is one of them.”
The Board’s official announcement read, “Valerie Ormond’s second novel, Believing In Horses, Too, won a Gold Medal in the Military Writers Society of America Book Awards; 1st Place in The Authors’ Zone Book Awards; Best Y.A. Fiction in the Stroud Arts Book Festival; Best Book in Juvenile Fiction in the Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards, and Best Veterans Fiction in the EQUUS Film and Arts Festival Literary Award. Congratulations!”
Past winners of the Touch of Class award have been world champion Maryland horses, mules, and riders. Disciplines have included dressage, eventing, hunters, jumpers, jousting, steeplechase, polo, mounted shooting, rodeo, driving, pentathlon, polocrosse, endurance, therapy, and racing. Individual winners have been barn owners, facility managers, horse trainers, competitors, breeders, filmmakers, writers, and photographers. Maryland established the prestigious Touch of Class Awards program in September 2011.
The award is personally rewarding to me as I see my Believing In Horses books as a coalescence of my horse, military, research, and writing experiences. The Believing In Horses, Too fictional story is based in Maryland and highlights equine therapies, show competition, rescue horses, veterans, and military families. I appreciate the state of Maryland for supporting me and my work with this remarkable touch of class.
Do you ever sit down to write only to discover hours later that you’ve done nothing but stare off into space with a blank look on your face, occasionally breaking from your stupor to notice that you haven’t written a single word?
I bet there have also been times when you were bursting with creativity — when you couldn’t get the words out of your head and onto the page (or screen) fast enough.
Don’t you wish writing could always be like that?
Creative writing requires skill, focus, and motivation. But is inspiration necessary? Can we write if we’re not inspired?