August 5th, 2010

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Writing Misconceptions

The Writer Beware article on The Myth of the Evil Editor made me think about other misconceptions about writing. (Annoying misconceptions.)

One of the big ones, which I've talked about on here before, seems to be that if you write fiction at all, any kind of fiction, you must be aiming for professional publication. If you don't want to be a published author, you should stop writing. You can't just write for a hobby, for fun. Stop having fun in an unauthorized manner, stop it right now! It's also a decision you have to make immediately -- you can't just write for fun for a few years and see where it takes you. No, the moment you put three words together, you have to have your potential career as a bestseller all planned out. This attitude is stupid and annoying, and probably damaging, and I can't think of a another hobby where this happens.

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These are also the reasons why the "pro writers are greedy hacks who are selling out by obeying the whim of evil editors" myth is so offensive. If someone sells a novel, the chances are good that they have spent years working on their craft, piling up rejections, failing and trying again, and all while making zero to crap money at it.

Writing, including pro writing, is kind of a crazy thing to do, unless you're doing it for love of writing itself. And if you pursue a full-time career in pro writing, you have to love it a lot, and you have to want it a lot. If the points above don't sound like impediments to you, but like barriers to hurdle, then you probably have the inclination to pursue it, or at least try to. But if you don't, then you don't, and that's really okay.