Recently the blog Writer Unboxed published an article by Keith Cronin titled Ten Myths About Writing. I thought it was very good and it made me think about how I fit into each of those myths so I decided to give my response.
- Writers are introverts, more comfortable in their own little world.This depends on the individual but for me it is partly true. At my age (over 60) I've spent a lot of time in the world and have always been a very social person so it has surprised me to discover that these days I'm happier alone with my books and my writing. Maybe I need to write until I'm all written out before going back out into the world.
- The biggest-earning writers succeeded because “they knew somebody.”That's an excuse a lot of people use to not write. The biggest-earning writers “knew somebody” in the sense that they knew their target market and were able to give it what they wanted. The most precious thing any writer has is their readers. Knowing your readers, interacting with them, and giving them what they want is key.
- Writers are merely channels for a creative force that is greater than themselves.To a certain extent I agree with this. I know when I am in the writing flow I seem to be channeling something beyond myself but I am still responsible for editing, polishing, refining, structuring and, most of all, keeping at it. I tend to believe what my grandmother always said, “Faith can move mountains but bring a shovel.”
- Writing a best-seller is easy, if you just follow the formula and are willing to “sell out” artistically.Within particular genres there is a formula you need to follow but that isn't as easy as it sounds. You still have to create compelling characters and present them well. But in general, heaven only knows what will attract people. Of all the stuff I have written, The Crazy Old Lady in the Attic remains my #1 best-seller and it follows no formula or even genre.
- Method X of writing is better than Method Y.Totally untrue. You do what works for you. I've never written an outline and, when I am writing, I often keep writing because I'm dying to see what happens. How crazy is that?
- Writers are excellent spellers, great typists, and/or have perfect penmanship.Hahaha! I mean hahahahaha. LOL. Thank heaven for editors and proofreaders is all I can say!!!
- Paper books are dead.No they're not. They still are the largest part of the market. In 10 years that may be true, I don't know but every month I still sell enough paper books to make me want to keep publishing that way.
- Amazon ruined publishing.I don't think so. What Amazon did was expand the horizons of what could be published. One of the best things Amazon offers is reader discussion forums where readers can gather to share the books they are discovering and, because Amazon forbids authors to promote their works in these forums, readers can rely on the input of people whose taste in reading material they share.
- Self-publishing is the easy way out.I guess I wonder what they mean by “easy way out.” Yes, it is very easy to self-publish but to produce high quality work and get it to sell is a big challenge and very hard work. I have seen this so many times. Someone writes a book as quickly as possible thinking they will cash in on the ebook gold rush, they upload and then wait for the sales to roll in. But they don't. After you sell books to your mom, your three best friends, and a couple people in your support group, sales die. Now you either get to work marketing—which is very challenging—or you end your career right there.
- Writers are far more attractive and sexually gifted than everybody else.Well, actually, yes this is true. ;)
Thanks for reading.