The writing world is filled with land mines—lies that, when you step on them, blow you right off your creative feet.
I’ve stepped on all of these in my writing career, and every author-friend I know has set them off, too. That tells me they’re pretty common.
Lies Writers Struggle With
I want to help arm you against these painful, dangerous explosions, so I present to you seven lies that writers believe—and the truths that can help you get back on your feet.
Fair warning: this will be a very quote-heavy article. Why? Because I don’t want you to just take my word for it. I want you to see that all creative minds have to navigate these mines—including the best authors in the world.
Lie #1: If you haven’t made it/gotten an agent/become famous by now, you never will.
This is a rough one. When we finally get the courage to start writing (and *gasp* tell people that we are), a funny thing happens: for some reason, others forget everything they know about how skill training works, and they insist we should have “arrived” already.
Baloney. Does anything work that way? Even people with genius taste buds need to learn how to cook. Being “discovered overnight” is an enchanting fantasy, but it’s a dangerous myth.
Here’s the truth: just like getting in shape, climbing a mountain, or memorizing a symphony, writing takes time to master.
Sam Sykes said once that no matter who you are as an author, you pay your dues at one end or another. To put it another way: it takes many years to be an overnight success. Maybe you haven’t “made it” yet. That doesn’t mean you never will.
“An overnight success is ten years in the making.”
― Tom Clancy, Dead or Alive
“Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.”
― Biz Stone
“It takes 20 years to make an overnight success.”
“Actually, I’m an overnight success, but it took twenty years.”
If you haven’t made it/gotten an agent/become famous by now, you aren’t out of time yet. Keep writing. Keep reading. Don’t quit.