Friday, February 17, 2012

Ten myths about being an author

I have noticed a trend towards expelling myths online lately and figured it was a bandwagon that I could have a little fun with...

So, another list. I know. Some of you are squealing in delight. Two lists in one week? Yes, I do love you that much.

Myths about being an author...

10. It must be awesome to be an author. I mean, you sit at home all day and what, write a few hours now and again? It is the perfect slacker job!

Yeah. Sure it is. I mean, if your intent is to make no money, you can sit on your tooshie and watch daytime tv.

If your goal is to be a published author (publishing=business), then it is going to take a wee bit more effort.

Most of the authors I know have other jobs. Something about one month making $7 and the next making $7k and then having a year where you only see $4...makes one want to have some sort of alternate job. Some authors make enough (dispersed in a logical enough fashion) to just write for a living. Most of them-nope. They go to work at their evil dayjob, come home and clickity clack until their eyes burn. They are driven to do it.

Personally, I wake up as early as I can get my eyes to open. Often, they feel gritty even after sleep from my long hours staring at a computer screen. I get online, check emails and then get to work. I stop, sometimes, for a meal or to discuss the kids school work or take phone calls. (I charter school two of my kids from home.) By 2pm on weekdays, I head off to school for a few hours. If not a weekday, I just keep going. After school (or dinner on a non-school day), I get back on my computer and usually work until somewhere between 11pm-2am.

When my brain is absolutely a pile of mush or I am getting shitty, I play Words With Friends for a few minutes to try to get my groove back. And then I hit it again.

I do this every day, without a day off, all year long. Sometimes my best friend drags me off to camping... but even then, I am usually using my phone to shoot off emails and read manuscripts/books.

Basically, the point of all that? If you are an unmotivated slacker, this is not the job for you. If you are a sick workaholic, probably you would love it as much as I do.

9. Authors often suffer from writers block. I can give you some great ideas for a story...

Yup, I am calling that a myth. Most of the authors I know personally do not suffer from writers block. They do not lack for ideas for stories... We suffer from time management and how to get all of the ideas down and still promote the books we have out know, once in awhile leave our desk.

We suffer from social media block. Social media block is the need to be here rather than working on our manuscript because we are supposed to be available to the public.

We suffer from life block- That evil dayjob or our spouses wanting five minutes of our time with us actually paying attention to them without a glazed look in our eye (a sure sign that we are plotting...) or our kids wanting to play a board game... or crisis that arise while we are under deadline. Not to mention laundry, cooking... you know, the same stuff you do.

We suffer from too many pots coming to a boil at one time...

But ideas? Shit. Since everything around us is an inspiration (see elevator time machine plot idea) we are generally over flowing with those...

8. I have a story idea for you... and you should write it!

I mentioned the overflow of ideas? So even if your idea is awesomesauce with a spectacular cherry on top, we are probably thinking this when you say that:

Fantastic. If you have an idea, you should write it.

Not being a bitch. Just bein honest.

7. Authors travel to exotic places all the time! Where have you gone?

Authors write. So authors see a lot of computers. And keyboards. And coffee. You mention palm trees to me and I am just going to sigh... and hate you a little.

6. Authors all hang out together.

A lot of us do network. I have a great support group I have built up over the years and I have no clue what I would do without my girls *waves at author friends!*

But I don't know Stephen King. I do know he has an awesome house and I have front gate envy for it. I don't know J. K. Rowling. I haven't met Laurell K. Hamilton.

If any of the above would like to meet me, the coffee is hot. Come on over.

5. Ebooks aren't real books. So when are you going to write a real book?

This one makes my head spin in an impressive Exorcist impersonation. Ebooks are real books. Ebook authors are subjected to the same editorial process as print ones (even most self pubs go through edits. They just pay for editors out of pocket.)

4. Writing books is easy. I could do it.

So do it. And then we can talk about that.

3. I have a friend who wrote a book. They would have gotten it published and it was way better than your book but they just haven't yet.

That is possible. But for me, writing is a job. So I do publish my work. I have no clue why people feel the need to tell me stuff like this unless it is some sort of variation of #4 (writing is easy) and in that case... well, spectacular that you think that. Give it a shot. When you hit the bestsellers list, then you can tell me about how easy it was to get there.

2. All authors are rich. Let's go tool around in your yacht.

If that was true, everyone would be a writer. The publishing industry is hard and set up to weed out those who don't want it bad enough. There are a few stories of people who come out of the box and make millions. There are stories like this about sports stars and actresses, too. The reason people know these stories is that they are rare and special.

I don't have a yacht. I have eyestrain. But I am doing what I love. If you think that becoming an author is the way to become the next gazillionare...

Lemme tell you, your chances are probably equally great at being a lottery winner. And it is faster and more cost effective to just buy the lottery ticket.

1. I wrote a book but it is perfect and doesn't need an editor.

All authors need editors.


Some writers don't. In this case, the difference is that authors are in business while writers write for their own pleasure.

Decide which you are. If it is an author... then yes, really, you need an editor.

Publishing is a business. The goal of any business is to make money. To make money, you have to work. Pretty much that sums up this whole list in three sentences.

Happy writing!


  1. *Waving back*
    "Authors write. So authors see a lot of computers. And keyboards. And coffee. You mention palm trees to me and I am just going to sigh... and hate you a little."

    Oh, soooooo true!!

  2. Thank you for this lovely post. I agree whole heartedly with pretty much everything you wrote! *waving back at you* Have a great Friday!

  3. I am not a lady. Well, and I'm also not really an author, more of a writer with author ambitions... but I digress. Love this post. Good stuff.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. I'm giggling here...thanks you for writing such a great list! "Waving back."

  5. great post but i do have to disagree with your statement that writers don't get writers' block. it's not that i don't have a lot of book ideas, but sometimes i write myself into a corner and it takes me a few days to figure how to get free. that's my idea of writers' block and it sucks. but definitely can relate (sigh) to the rest of your post.

  6. Thanks, Nora. And I've done that! Guess that is sort of a block but more story ideas...never fix that one. LOL!!

    I once was stuck for a week because I had written a creature with yellow eyes that stunk...And didn't know what flavor of shifter he was.

    And then a friend said, "How about a skunk?"

    Brilliant, that. Unblocked me and was able to finish the book.

    To this day, I have no idea why I never thought of it myself...