This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
by Anna Bell
I was pretty naïve when I started writing. I had no idea how to write a book. No idea how to go about getting it published. No idea what would happen if I did. I can only think this lack of knowledge was a good thing; if I’d realised how hard and odd the publishing journey was (and still is) I might have been more deterred. I’m glad I didn’t know back then that …
When I finished the first draft of my first novel, I thought that was the hard bit over – especially after I had proofread and subbed it (cringe). I think I’d be amazed now at how many times and different ways I can work on a novel before it’s sent to my editor and then I start all over again on their various edits – the notes, line edit, copy edit and proof read. It’s laborious, tedious and enough to send you round the bend most days.
2. When you’re published, your book is no longer your own
I love that I have a team to work with at my publishers and that my books are a collaborative effort to make them the best it can be, but at the same time, it’s hard that I don’t have that freedom and control I once did as an aspiring author.Back in the early days I went with my gut and wrote the books that I wanted to. Now when I want to write a new book, I have to pitch an idea to my editor, and it’s their decision whether I can write it based on iwhether think it would sell. Then if the book does go ahead, there is a strong editorial hand in the way the edits should go (and probably quite rightly).
3. You don’t get any more confident about your writing
If anything I get less confident with each book I publish. When I get a good response from reviewers and readers of my books I’m hit with an immense sense of relief, yet the nerves soon start about the next book. What if it’s not as good? What if people hate it? When people like your novel, there’s more expectation and pressure on the next offering.
I know that some authors get really lucky and they become household names and hit the dizzy heights of bestseller lists, but for many entry and mid-level authors like me, the most they can hope for is some good bookshops stocking their books. It can be soul-destroying when friends or relatives bemoan the fact that they can’t find my book in their favourite bookshop, or that my books only hang around for a few weeks on the shelves as they tend to be stocked in the supermarket, which have a quick turnaround.
5. Writing full-time sends you a little crazy
I spend huge amounts of my time staring vacantly into space, trying desperately to fix a plot hole. I go through extreme highs when I love what I’m writing, thinking it’s the best I’ve ever written, and then the next minute I’m on a huge low, doubting every single word I type. It’s exhausting, all-consuming and enough to make you crackers.
As much as it’s frustrating at times, it’s also the most rewarding career I could have asked for and I’m glad I wasn’t put off before I’d even started.
Is there anything you’re glad you didn’t know before you started writing?