Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Best Advice

I suppose you have heard the old saying, "Learn the rules, then and only then, can you break them." I don't know if this is true or not. I think it depends on the writer. Telling people you are writing a book is a bit like telling people you're pregnant. (Sorry guys but the moms will understand.) The moment you tell people you're pregnant the horror stories come out. I was in labor for 10 days! They had to have five men stick their hands up there and yank the baby out. I nearly died. My ankles and face swelled so much I looked like the blueberry girl from Willie Wonky. Or my personal favorite, "Once you get pregnant, you'll never be slender again." (This said while drinking two colas and eating three snack cakes.)
When you tell people you're writing a book, the horror stories start. No one under forty gets published, you might as well wait. You have to know someone or you'll never get published. You need an MFA/PhD to get published. No one will take you without an agent. Agents won't rep you unless you're published. Outline? No, it's too contrived. No outline? You'll have to rewrite the entire book~no one ever writes a good book without an outline. Then people ask what you're writing and when you tell them, they get to tell you how no one is buying that. Or how that will never sell.
Next come the questions that mirror: when are you due? Haven't you had that kid yet? Are you still pregnant? They're: when's your book come out? Have you sold it yet? Are you done writing it yet?
Finally- no matter what you decide to do just like hospital or home birth- you will do it "wrong." Sign a contract with the big six? Wrong. There will be people standing in line to tell you why your choice was bad. Decide to Self publish? Wrong. There will be just as many standing in line to tell you how bad that is. Decide on a small press? OMG! How could you do that?
If you've read this far you either know exactly what I mean, or you suspect you'll understand someday.
My best advice to writers of all stages is this: Relax, be open to learning, be open to changing as much as you comfortably can and understand that everyone's journey is different. Which means that everyone and no one is right when they give you advice. It's your journey. Have fun with it. If it's not fun, it's not worth it. Cheers~


MaryC said...

Hi Nancy,

Yup, heard most of it. I guess the advantage to so much advice is that you learn to find your own place although you may lose your mind - trying to follow all the advice first.
Happy writing!

Linda Kage said...

Bravo! Very well said and oh-so true.

Jessica Nelson said...

I like that advice to relax. :-) And luckily, I haven't met the naysayers yet! Yay!! lol

Juanita Olson said...

Great advice! I loved it and totally agree with you. We all have to find the path that fit us and be open to change if it happens.

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Mary, I agree. Thanks for stopping by. Cheers~
Hi Linda,I know you know- lol.
Hi Jessica, I am so glad you haven't met the naysayers yet.Sounds like you hang around all the right people. :)
Hi Juanita, Thanks! I think everyone having their own path makes it all more interesting.
Cheers, my friends~

Rosalind Adam said...

Love the analogy. The question that annoys me the most is, "Are you still writing?" I really want to respond with, "Yes, and are you working too?" but I don't. I smile politely.

Nancy J. Parra said...

Rosalind, oh, boy- I know that question. (((hugs)))
Thanks for stopping by. Cheers~

Marilyn Brant said...

Wise words, Nancy. And I was laughing and sighing (in recognition) all the way through your post. Yeah... (nodding) Oh, yeah... (nodding some more :)