Mincemeat: on writing
  "You should never be ashamed to admit you have been wrong. It only proves you are wiser today than yesterday."
Jonathan Swift

What I Wish I'd Known

At a recent writing conference, I was asked to be on a panel titled, ďWhat I Wish Iíd Known.Ē I didnít have time to say all Iíd thought, so Iíll jot down here some of the things I had to figure out the hard way, things I wish someone had told me before I became a professional writer. Fortunately, most of these didnít take me too long to get a clue about.
  1. You, the author, are less important than any bookstore clerk.
  2. You are less important than any librarian.
  3. You are less important than any reader.
  4. Basically, youíre much less important that youíd thought or hoped youíd be. And it turns out, thatís a good thing.
  5. For your first book, no one will come to your signings. And possibly for your second book, and third.
  6. You know those crazy stories of success, where someoneís first novel sells at auction for a huge amount and becomes a best seller overnight? You can stop worrying about it right now, because itís not going to happen to you. And it turns out, thatís also a good thing.
  7. The more books you read and love, and the happier you are for other authorsí successes, the happier youíll be, too. Apparently, itís not a competition! All writers are on the same side Ė the side of the books, of reading, of literacy, of art, of every reader who wants to fall into a story. And if youíre really lucky, some of those writers will become your friends.
  8. You really shouldnít wear magenta. Ever again.
  9. Being a novice novelist should be like being a kid at Christmas. Donít stress about the ham being cold or the rolls not rising or a present not yet wrapped. Just have a ball.


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