by C. Hope Clark
The writing industry is swamped with experts. Any writer
who's sold a story thinks he is then endowed with enough
experience to train others.
I'm sure some higher ups think that of me. I'm sure that
I'm doing something wrong in someone's eyes . . . even
leading others astray. I have experience. I'm sharing it.
It's up to you to decide whether it's worth following.
But without a doubt, your own experience is worth far
more to you than my experience.
As parents, we struggle to educate our children so they
do not make the same mistakes we do. But how many times
have you heard a teenager demand to be left alone to
find his own way and make his own mistakes? While you
don't want to leave them alone enough to fall into drugs
or sexual promiscuity, sometimes you have to let them
skin their knees. Those lessons are the best remembered.
In writing, however, making a wrong turn is frightening.
A story that took weeks might fall into the wrong hands.
An editor may take advantage of you with a clever contract,
leaving you with pennies for your work. Someone may steal
your work. You might sign up with a publishing company
and never make a dime from a novel that took five years
So we listen and struggle to learn. But there's so much
out there! And some of the advice conflicts with other
advice. We save editorials and blog posts to read for
later, afraid to let any suggestions pass us by in case
they are lifesavers for us. What if we miss something and
fall on our face?
1. Find a handful of writing experts you trust.
2. Reach no more than one or two articles a day.
Too many blog posts, features and columns can muddle your
mind, and face it . . . you remember your own rejection,
acceptance and byline more than someone else's.
Don't be so concerned to get it right, that you don't
leave square one. Write, write hard, play the game hard.
Quit waiting for someone to give you permission.
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