Many writing myths surround successful authors. The truth is most of them are just that – myths. They’re not stories of epic achievement; they’re misconceptions around the writing process.
But when we’re feeling awed by someone’s triumphs in writing, we seldom stop to think of the hard slog it likely took for them to reach that level of skill or success.
So, if you are thinking about writing a book but unsure you have the talent, time, or direct connection to a writing muse to get the task done, read on. Here are three writing myths you can stop believing right now.
Myth #1: People are born good writers
Of course, some people are naturally better writers than others. That’s true of any skill.
But all writers have to hone their craft. Even the most talented ones. It takes practice, patience, and a lot of hard work to master the proper mechanics of good writing let alone know how to tether your imagination to the page.
And even then, most professional writers would still argue that their best writing is in their re-writing.
So stop fretting, and start writing. It doesn’t matter if the words are clunky or basic. Just get your ideas out.
As the ground-breaking, science fiction author Octavia Butler said:
You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.
Myth #2: You need to feel inspired to write
What is inspiration? A burst of can-do energy? The right sentence bubbling in your brain? The perfect scene to start your story?
Well, to paraphrase Margaret Atwood, if you have to wait for inspiration, you’ll never write a word.
You see, most writers don’t have time to wait around for a thunderbolt of tremendous writing ability to hit them so that they can then rush out the most perfectly crafted tale.
Most writers have a life. One that likely involves household responsibilities, family, friends, a job, social engagements, and other – fill in the blank – duties.
Of course, that’s not to knock feeling inspired. But that feeling often comes after you make the commitment to sit your ass in front of your computer and start writing or researching, or doing whatever it is that signals to you that you’re moving your book forward.
Myth #3: Real writers write every day
This is a writer’s myth that has prevented so many great books from being written!
Many authors do indeed find time to write every single day – and good on them! But that doesn’t make them better or “more real” than those who can’t do that.
Certainly, people who are running their own businesses and want to write a book as part of (or apart from) that, may find it hard to carve out daily writing blocks.
Truthfully, a writer should write regularly. But a successful writing schedule should also be flexible enough to take into account other priorities alongside weekends/time off and holidays.
So, for example, if you know there are two days during your week when you’ll have time to write – great! Schedule them. It doesn’t matter if you can’t write on the other three days of your week, as long you make make working on your book on those two days a regular commitment.
Creating a writing system that works for you is far more important than staying up into the wee hours every night, exhausted, just so you can tick the box that says you’re a ‘real writer.’ Or, even worse, deciding that you can’t write at all because you don’t have two to three free hours to write each day (heck, who does?!)
Beyond perseverance, patience, and a passion for what you’re doing, there is no other fixed formula for writing a book.
So, don’t let other people’s ideas of how it should be done hold you back. Stop believing in myths, and start believing in you.