14 Truths About Being a Writer I Wish I’d Known Sooner

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Choosing to stand up and be
identified as a writer can be a scary thing. 

The road is rarely a straight path
to publication. 

These are some things that I hope will help you stay the course
as you continue on your own writing journey

1. It’s an
eternal struggle between you and the blank page.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t get a whole lot
easier. The doubts still crowd your mind, and fear still whispers in your ear
no matter how long you’re in this business.
2. Talent
without persistence is worthless.
So
much of what we need to know to be successful, no matter what our goals, can be
learned.
3. You’re
stronger than you think.
If I had
known when I started, the hard work and emotional toll getting to this point
would take. I would have quite because I would never have dreamed I could do
it.
4. You can’t
plot a course always expecting to be the exception to the rule.
Things generally happen in a certain way, over
a certain time-frame. As believers we know that God can step in at any time and
turn things upside down. But expecting that to always happen just isn’t
reasonable. We need to do the work and celebrate when the exceptions do occur.
5. Quitting
is the only path to failure. 
I’ve
found writing success, but a lot of it has come simply because I refused to
give up.
6. God is
the One who directs my path—and yours.
I
can (and will continue) to make plans—but I stay flexible. I would never have
even dreamed of the opportunities God has given me.
7. There’s a
big difference between goals and dreams.

They both have their place in the writer’s life, but a goal is something who’s
outcome I can influence. A dream is something I wish would happen. It’s the
difference between having the goal of getting a book published or having a best
seller. I can achieve the first by hard work, but the second is ultimately up
to God.
8. Detours aren’t the same thing as roadblocks. My path to publication has zigged and
zagged so many times it looks like the path Mother Goose’s Crooked Old Man left
behind. But more frequently than not, those detours ended up getting me further
ahead, faster.
9. Change is
the industry standard in publishing.

It’s not possible to base your path on what has gone before. Technology is
moving too fast. We either embrace the challenge or we fall by the wayside.
10. Generosity will always get you
farther than selfishness.
I have
never once regretted putting someone else before me. I’d even go so far as to
say that I’ve build my career (or at least my platform) by promoting others.
11. Your
reputation is worth solid gold
,
but it’s not something I can buy. I can only achieve it and keep it by guarding
it. I always try to communicate honestly and above all, keep my word.
12. The joy
is in the journey.
The people
I’ve met, the things I’ve gotten to experience have been the high points, not
the achievements.
13.
Publication isn’t the sole definition of writing success.
Touching someone’s life through the words I
pen, whether it’s on a blog or a book or an article, is way more important than
a book contract.
14. There are parts of the job you’ll hate. Writing is work. And like any work we do, it’s
made up of tasks. There are some tasks you’ll love and some you’ll hate. But
they’re all important and part of being a writer, so we learn to do them well.

These are just a few
of the things I wish I’d known when I started. I think my expectations would
have been more realistic and the heartbreak a little less frequent. Although it
could be that someone did, and I just wasn’t paying attention. 

Edie Melson—author, blogger, speaker—has written numerous books, including While My Soldier Serves, Prayers for Those with Loved Ones in the Military. She’s also the military family blogger at Guideposts.org. Her popular blog for writers, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month, and she’s the Director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers ConferenceConnections: Social Media & Networking Techniques for Writers is a print expansion of her bestselling ebook on social media. She’s the Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy, the Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine, and the Senior Editor for NovelRocket.com. Connect on Twitter and Facebook.