Someone on my writing group asked for a list of a-ha moments for writers, so I compiled a short list.
Add your own in the comments. 🙂
1) queries area lot easier to write than finished pieces, and they hurt less when they’re rejected. Ergo: query an article before you write it
2) publishers want to make money. They really don’t care about art.
2A) most rejections boil down to “We can’t make a ton of money off this”
3) some writers would be better off if they put their thesaurus on a raft and pushed it out to sea. Big words do not necessarily make for bigger writing or bigger ideas.
4) sooner or later, you’ll wear the editors down
5) if your entire critique groups makes the same observation, it’s probably true.
5A) Don’t waste valuable critique time defending your manuscript. Unless you plan to stand beside each reader explaining what you wrote, listen with your mouth closed and take notes. Don’t explain your manuscript; instead, edit your manuscript so it explains itself.
6) When a professional says “Never do XYZ,” don’t immediately think, “But it works when I do it.” Wait until you’re the mega-professional and then you can lecture young writers on why they should break the rules. Until then, follow them.
7) Edit other people’s work. It will show you all the flaws in your own.
8 ) Your book is not your baby. I’ve had rejections and I’ve had a baby who died. I know the difference. Editing a manuscript makes it stronger. Hitting a manuscript harder in the early stages only makes it better. Don’t cringe when someone critiques, but do learn to tell the difference between well-meaning critique and outright criticism.
9) Write while you’re washing the dishes, vacuuming the carpets, cooking dinner, and folding laundry. Write while you’re driving, while you’re changing a diaper. Write in places where you cannot record these beautiful words you’re creating. Write without consciously thinking of the words because then when you do sit down to record your words, they’ll have percolated like strong coffee and what you set down will be awesome.