Writers: Get Over Yourself

14 Nov

I’m about to write one of those posts that I fear every person I know is going to end up thinking, Omgosh, she’s talking about me!

Let me start by saying, I’m not talking about any specific person.

I’m a writer (ok, no newsflash there) – I’ve been writing for a few years now with the intent to get published.

Going further back in time, I’m a certified English (Lit and Writing degrees) teacher who didn’t teach very long. But I’ve tutored and covered a writing group and helped friends…and then I came back to writing and started my own journey.

That said, I’ve been pondering something for several months and I want to discuss it.  I don’t know if it’s ego or stubbornness or being blind to other’s abilities or blind to your own work, but I’ve seen something happen a lot. Something that kind of shocks me to be completely honest.

I’m going to start with myself (and one of the few things I did right) and move on:

When I started writing I was begging the world for mentors or leaders or teachers. I took classes, joined groups, went to readings, commented on blogs, went to seminars/workshops/retreats – anything where experienced writers would be and I might get the chance to learn from them. In the meantime, I watched so many friends get taken under the wing of writers I loved and respected and still, not one writer in my genre ever offered that hand.

I sent emails to people I’d met asking follow-up questions. I stayed to the “just social” rule at outings. I listened. I wrote it all down. I learned.

I sought out knowledge, correction and help wherever I could.

I’ll be honest. I never found a writing mentor. No one ever took  a shine to me and wanted to help my writing and career along. I know, it sounds horrible just saying it out loud. As I look at my friends and all the amazing people I know (and many of them DID have authors scoop them up to help along the way) I really am blessed, but as a new writer I wanted something more… Not the answers, just someone willing to help me read the map.

And yes, I’ve offered to do my ‘teaching crits’ for several people. I even had two people email and ask me to do them. (Please don’t everyone do that!)

My point: I’m a huge believer in getting as much knowledge from as many places and testing then utilizing what works for you. (I’ll do another blog post on how this can go wrong if you’re not careful later.)

If you are not doing that, you’re building your own barrier to success. If you believe you know all the answers, that you’re writing is good enough (or worse, it’s great and you don’t have to listen to anyone else) you might as well quit now.

Yes. I just said that: If you’re not willing to search out knowledge, listen to others, and utilize what you learn, QUIT WRITING FOR PUBLICATION.

Ok, I’m picturing all the angry comments now. That’s fine 😉

There are several goals a writer should have:

  • To continue to get better
  • To have a clear voice
  • To learn to judge and utilize input

I know what you’re saying: Bria, “To be published isn’t on there!”

Nope. It isn’t. And here’s why: If you’re not doing those three things, being published isn’t going to happen. Those three things need to start immediately and continue forever.

Working with betas and/or crit partners, then taking agent rejections an agent, then an editor, then writing the next book, then working with betas or crit partners then starting the publication process all over again… those three goals need to stay in the front of your mind. Always get better. Keep your voice clear. Learn & utilize new info.

And so, here’s some advice people don’t say often enough:

If you want to be a writer, GET OVER YOURSELF.

Yes, it’s your story. Yes, you have a vision. Yes, you don’t want that diluted. But, here’s the deal — How often have you heard someone do something amazing (inventions, cures, discoveries, etc) and they basically say they were able to achieve it because they were standing on the shoulders of giants?

If you’re not willing to do that, you’re going to be recreating the wheel. Good luck with that.

kk,
Bria

PS – this totally makes me want to do another SYTYCW contest, which happened about 5 MONTHS before Harlequin stole my hashtag in the last 2 weeks (Yes, I’m still ticked off about that. Come on Harlequin marketing group – don’t steal from other smaller groups – it’s rude and bad business)

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9 Responses to “Writers: Get Over Yourself”

  1. Kate Policani November 14, 2011 at 2:35 pm #

    It’s true! The creation of literature comes from constant striving for better, not from the loving the look of our own words on paper.

  2. briaq November 14, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    “…not from the loving the look of our own words on paper.” –> Love it Kate!

  3. jessiebincr November 17, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

    EXCELLENT post. I’m right there with you…still on the journey, still learning, trying like mad to get over myself. Thanks for this, you’re very insightful!

  4. briaq November 17, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    Thanks Jessie – I think that’s the thing about being a writer. The journey is never over! 🙂

  5. jessiebincr November 23, 2011 at 11:14 am #

    Oh snap, I did comment here before, cool! I just didn’t put 2 and 2 together. I have so many awesome blogs I follow…Yours being one!

  6. Kate Policani November 25, 2011 at 10:43 pm #

    Bria! I have so happy to tell you that I am awarding you the Liebster Blogging Award. Check it out at http://katepolicani.com/2011/11/25/the-liebster-award/
    Congratulations!

  7. Kate Policani November 25, 2011 at 10:49 pm #

    Aaah! Cut and paste mistake! I am so happy!

  8. briaq November 28, 2011 at 2:04 pm #

    Wow Kate! No one has ever given me a blog award before! I’m so going to have to post that on here when I get home – THANKS!!!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Shootin’ the Tag Pipe « Kate Policani - November 14, 2011

    […] https://briaspage.wordpress.com/2011/11/14/writers-get-over-yourself/ because you really should get over yourself. Oh…me too. […]

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