The Biggest Mistake I Made…

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…when I started writing.

I thought it might be fun to think back over the past six or seven years of my writing career and think about the mistakes I made, especially at the beginning. No one is perfect.

Everyone screws up in one way or another.

I’m no different.

When it comes to writing itself, my biggest mistake, in the beginning, was trying to be a non-autistic author. And by that I mean, I read lots of advice in blogs, books, and online. All of it was geared towards neurotypicals (as is most self-help.)

Much of that advice is great–unless you’re autistic or neurodivergent.

And the mistake I made was trying to make myself fit into that mold. A mold I was never going to be able to fit into. Setting goals and tasks for myself that I was never going to be able to complete.

It led to burn out. Disappointment. And put me into a bad place mentally for a while.

I had to fight my way back to enjoying writing.

The biggest lesson I learned was finding what works for me.

Finding it and accepting that what works for a non-autistic author will likely not work for me. And that’s okay. It’s okay to need a little extra help from my publisher. It’s okay to not be able to do ‘all the must do things to be a successful author.’

It’s okay to just be me.

And to just do what works for me.

Writing Advice Revisited

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In 2016, I wrote a post about writing advice that boiled down to simply sitting in a chair and writing. Still true. But I can think of a few more things I’ve learned in the last five years so I thought I’d revisit the post.

First, Do Not Respond To Reviews. And especially don’t respond to bad reviews. Don’t call the readers out. Stay off Goodreads if it’s bad for your mental health. Nothing good ever comes from responding to a negative review.

So, just don’t. Don’t track the reviewers down either. It’s unhealthy, at the very least.

Second, take all advice on writing with a grain of salt because what works for one author might not work for you.

Third, toxic productivity is a thing. Don’t get sucked into the idea you have to write/publish at a particular pace. It will only lead to burn out.

Fourth, read your contracts carefully.

Fifth, find people who want to support you with no strings attached. It’s brilliant when you have a healthy connection to other authors or people in the writing community. Just be careful about expectations.

Sixth, there are many paths to publishing. Find one that works for you.

Seventh, a good editor is worth their weight in gold.

Eighth, not every story is yours to tell.

Ninth, don’t steal images from photographers. Seriously. Don’t. If plagiarism in books bothers you, stealing from photographers should as well.

Tenth, or maybe 9.5, learn what you can about copyrights. It can help you avoid a lot of scary legal trouble.

Keeping Your Sanity

Ideas

 

Do you ever feel like you’re going to lose your mind while you go through the process of getting published?

It doesn’t matter if you traditional or indie publish, there are times you’re going to question your sanity, at least I have several times in the past year  It’s inevitable when you work in a creative field.  You’re sending your baby out into the world, and a little madness comes with it.  Here’s a few things to remember:

1.  Don’t do for others with an expectation of reciprocation, hope for it, but don’t expect it.

People aren’t always going to scratch your back when you scratch theirs.   They should, but they won’t.  Do because it’s the right thing, and be pleasantly surprised when you receive in return.  You’ll keep your temper and your sanity.

2. Don’t engage in arguments with people who don’t enjoy your work.

You won’t change their mind and you’ll definitely scare off potential readers.  Oh, and it makes one look rather childish and petulant.  Bad reviews are part of life as an author.  There’s no point in actively seeking a debate with someone who dislikes what you’ve written.

3. You will never regret spending money on a good editor.

Never.

4. Never let your mother read your work .

Well, I’ll admit this is more a note for myself than anything else.  =)

5. If someone pisses you off, write them into your next novel and do unspeakable things to the character.

It’s very satisfying.

How do you keep your sanity as an author?