Hello dear friends and gentle readers! This is Joyce and today we're going to talk about two lies and one BIG truth about writing. Most people will tell you that you have to write every day to be a successful writer. I have found this to be a lie. These are my perspectives on writing schedules, required reading, and submitting your work. So, here we go!!
Lie 1: “In Order to Be Successful You Have to Write Every Day”
While Stephen King lives by this rule I don’t believe a daily writing practice is necessarily for everyone. I know one very talented writer who writes in spells. She will spend a season writing her fingers down to nubs and then she will take a break and spend her time reading and playing video games. There is nothing wrong with this. The point is that writers write. If you’re calling yourself a writer but you aren’t working on something over the long haul, maybe you should step up your game. Conversely, if you find yourself getting burnt out on a daily writing practice do yourself a favor: Take a break and curl up with a good book. Or, you could always play a video game.
Lie 2: “You Need to Be a Prolific Reader to Be a Good Writer”
This is both true and untrue. No one is going to argue that reading will greatly improve your writing. Where I take issue with this truth is the idea that reading needs to be limited to what we recognize as “literature.” I believe in reading everything. Sometimes we can find great ideas and inspiration where we least expect it. When I was a little girl, I used to read magazines, newspapers, cereal boxes, and parts manuals. These days I never cease to be inspired by the lyrical prowess of songwriters. There are some incredible writers in the music world telling beautiful and stunning stories. Yet, for reasons I will never understand these writers don’t get any respect from the literary community. There are writers telling stories all over media. Every movie and television show has a writer. Don’t think your reading needs to be limited to bound pages. Think outside of the covers. You never know what will inspire a great story.
TRUTH: “Those Who Succeed Aren’t Necessarily the Most Talented; They Are the Most Persistent”
Or, to put it succinctly: “Those who succeed are those who submit their work.”
You could be the next bestselling author but no one will ever know if you don’t put your work out into the world to be read. Don’t be afraid of submitting your work. I know it’s a scary and daunting process, but it’s so worth it. And you know what? The worst thing that will happen is that your work won’t get published which is exactly what will happen if you don’t submit. No one is going to criticize you or your writing. No one is going to make fun of you or make you feel bad. The publisher will send you a very polite letter that says, “Thank you for submitting. This piece was not quite what we were looking for. We hope you submit again!” But maybe you won’t get that letter. If you submit, you just might get published and isn’t that worth the risk?
So, those are my two lies and one truth. What's the takeaway? Don't ever let anyone cram you into a box. Be a writer. Grow at your own pace. Read what you want and never give up! But, this is just my opinion - what do you think? Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading, guys! Now, go Write Like a Rock Star!
Joyce Ann Underwood is a blogger and essayist. Originally from Crescent City, Florida she spent her childhood on the back porch listening to the old-timers tell stories. This ignited a passion for nonfiction storytelling that she honed while studying creative writing at the University of West Florida. Her poetry has been published in the creative journal, Kairos and on the website HIV Here and Now. Her essays have also been featured on Offbeat Home. She blogs at www.firstpersonnarrative.com and joyceannunderwood.blogspot.com.