13 Myths About the Writing Career That Shouldn't Get in Your Way
There have always been a ton of myths circulating about a writer's life and career. These myths have definitely stopped new writers from getting started in their careers.
Let’s debunk these myths.
Below are 14 of the most common misconceptions related to writing.
- Writers Are Poor
- You Need Lots of Startup Money to Start Your Career
- Writers Should Never Do Unpaid Work
- Once You Have an Idea, the Book Is Already Written
- You Should Be a Grammar Genius
- Writers Are Always Inspired
- Experienced Writers Can Do without Editors
- To Be Successful, You Need to Use Traditional Publishing
- Without Daily Writing, You Will Not Succeed
- My Publisher Will Advertise My Book into Popularity
- Other Authors Steal Plots
- Writing Is Easy
- A Degree Is a Must-Have
1. Writers Are Poor
Writers have a common misconception of struggling financially. While this was the case for some authors that are now famous (e.g., J.K. Rowling), being a writer does not automatically mean you’re poor.
Now, we’re not saying that writing can make you rich overnight. We can’t make such a statement, as it depends on many factors. Instead, we're just saying that choosing the profession of a writer does not mean being mired in poverty.
Besides earning royalties (or until you earn them), you can start a freelance career. You can surely combine writing with freelancing to make a decent living. And most importantly, you'd be doing what you love.
Moreover, you can start to pave the way for your career as an author while working on your novels by writing reviews for books written by other authors. This helps make yourself known in your industry as well.
2. You Need Lots of Startup Money to Start Your Career
The need to invest in the initial stages of writing is often intimidating for beginners.
But know that you don’t need many resources to start writing. You can simply use your laptop. And if you don’t have one, you can visit the nearest library for a small fee, to get access to computers.
You can also start emailing successful authors to ask for their mentorship.
Significant startup capital is unnecessary to start a successful writing career.
3. Writers Should Never Do Unpaid Work
Every work must be paid, but sometimes there are exceptions.
Often, starting as a volunteer can set the stage for a future career. And if you talk to many successful authors, you may find that volunteering allowed them to become who they are.
If you're starting in the literary world, unpaid work can help you shine and showcase your skills to potential clients.
Try to write sample articles that showcase your talent and abilities and submit them to popular blogs or well-known local newspapers. Someone may notice you and offer you a paid job.
It is worth mentioning that volunteering remains relevant even when you have already established yourself as a terrific writer.
This can be an excellent investment to receive exciting paid partnership offers in the future.
4. Once You Have an Idea, the Book is Half Written
Authors often mislead themselves by thinking that a brilliant idea is enough. This misconception leads to not paying sufficient attention to the writing process. But writing is the most crucial part.
Nowadays, ideas are not so new anymore. Every possible love affair has already been written.
But you can bring something new to the table by writing an old idea in a new way.
Each writer has a different writing style, and that’s what makes your book unique.
5. You Should Be a Grammar Genius
You don’t have to be perfect in the language you write in, with all its grammatical rules. Moreover, this is extremely difficult because:
- There are different writing styles, depending on the country. For example, the Chicago Style prefers to include the dot and the comma inside the quotes, “like this,” while the Oxford style places them outside the quotation marks, “like this”.
- The rules can simply change, so it's better to check them while you're writing your book.
This doesn’t mean that writers can write illiterately and make mistakes at every step.
It is sometimes difficult to keep track of all the rules and nuances, which is why writers turn to dictionaries, linguists, and more experienced editors for help.
Keep in mind that the main idea of writing is to keep your readers engaged. Your writing should be helpful and understandable to the audience.
6. Writers Are Always Inspired
They do have their way with words, but they’re not always ready to turn them into a novel.
And where many imagine endless writing inspiration, there is strict discipline, hard work, and maybe even burnout.
Also, they often have to face their biggest enemy—Writer's Block.
In such cases, a coffee break, a walk down the street, or a day off can help you recharge.
After all, writers are people too, not wizards, and writing is a job, not something that comes easily.
7. Experienced Writers Can Do Without Editors
Many believe that if a writer is outstanding and experienced, consulting an editor will be a lack of time and money.
That’s not true, and here’s why.
As a writer, you will almost always have blind spots when it comes to your own writing. You get personal and way too familiar with your book to see the mistakes or the unnecessary parts that need to be edited out.
Here is where an editor can help you. They see your story for the first time, and their fresh and critical eyes will find areas for improvement.
Contrary to common misconceptions, authors rarely work alone. They ask for help from editors, experts in the field they write about, and other fellow writers.
Getting several eyes on a book helps make it more coherent, accurate, and compelling.
8. To Be Successful, You Need to Use Traditional Publishing
Self-publishing books are no longer new to anyone. Still, there is a myth that unless you use traditional publishing, you won’t have any success.
It is an absolute misconception that quality publications are produced only under the guidance of professional publishers. There are benefits to going the traditional way, as you'll have designers and editors to help you.
But today, self-publishing can be a great alternative. When you use the right self-publishing platform, you get everything you need, including help to format your book and the right marketing tools to promote it.
Some authors started their booming careers as self-publishers. Even Margaret Atwood self-published an award-winning book of poems called Double Persephone.
The bottom line: either routes do not affect your book's quality.
9. Without Daily Writing, You Will Not Succeed
Again, this is not true.
You can practice creative writing or keep a journal in which you write every day, but you don't have to work on your novel daily.
There are moments when you don't feel inspired at all. Those are the times when you should do something else and not force yourself to write.
Plus, it's not healthy to force yourself into writing every day, as this could easily lead to burnout.
Remember: you want your final result to be good, so you shouldn't focus on speed. An energized writer who knows when to take time off will be able to write better.
10. My Publisher Will Advertise My Book Into Popularity
To put it shortly, they won’t. Or the efforts they put into your book promotion will not be enough.
If you are a new author, do think about a few creative campaigns for your book promotion.
Even the world's leading writers put in the effort to promote their books.
11. Other Authors Steal Plots
Sharing your plot before officially publishing it is risky, but once you start writing it, it’s yours because:
- The way you’re writing it it’s going to be unique. Even if someone steals your idea, they won’t write the story exactly the same (remember how I told you that not the idea is new, but the way you’re presenting it);
- You can always prove that you thought about it first because, luckily, we live in a digital era, and you’re most probably writing your novel on your laptop. This means you can always show the date when you started writing.
Your vision and writing style will be different from the others. Do not blame yourself for coming up with the idea to update any classic story. Just do it skillfully and tastefully.
12. Writing Is Easy
For some reason, there are people who believe the writer's path is chosen by those who are lazy. In their opinion, writing is easy.
But it only seems that way until they start writing even the easiest of stories.
Writing means constant planning and thinking, ups and downs, inspiration vs. writer’s block, a continuous search for new ideas, and then putting them on paper.
Besides, inspiration doesn't happen every day. One day you could have all the great ideas in the world, and the next, you won't be able to connect two words.
So if you're thinking about becoming a writer because it's easy, you’re starting on the wrong foot.
You should approach the beginning of your career with the right mindset and a clear understanding of what it means to write.
13. A Degree Is a Must-Have
I think you've heard this way too often: you will not become a famous author without a degree.
Of course, it's a myth.
A degree may help you land a job faster, but this doesn't influence your level of success as a writer.
You can become a great writer with a genuine desire and ability to create. You don't have to obtain a college degree to be a successful author.
However, there are things you can do to gain more experience:
- Follow seasoned writers and learn from their mistakes, tactics, writing techniques, and more.
- Attend literary gatherings where you can meet new authors, editors, and publishers, and share your thoughts and ideas with them.
- Start your blog to show your writing skills (this can be useful to include in your writing portfolio).
Want to write a novel? Get to it! A degree shouldn't stand in your way. Everything is in your hands.
We hope we've dispelled the most popular misconceptions about the writing career.
For some talented writers, many of the mentioned myths could become obstacles. And perhaps because of them, they gave up their dream of becoming published authors.
Writing is hard work, so writers do need support. The main thing is not to give up in the fight for what you love. And do not worry if you feel you are progressing slowly. While the progress may seem slow, this is normal. The problem is that people are not patient enough.
Even small but constant steps bring you closer to your goal. So, chin up and look forward to writing your beloved novel.
Do not hesitate; you will write it.