Tag Archives: how not to write

5 Mistakes Emerging Writers Make

Everett reading in San FranciscoDepending on how I tabulate my time trying to get published, I’ve either been at it for 26 years or 4. (Long story.) At long last I found a publisher for my memoir, and a few journal editors who agreed to publish short work of mine. I’m grateful for those opportunities, understanding that all of this work amounts to a series of tiny steps toward making my writing a part of LGBT literature, however miniscule that part may be. When people come up to me and thank me for creating something that resonated with them or with which they could identify, I am beyond pleased. Writing is not about making money, after all, at least not for me. It’s about connecting people and adding what I think is a rare voice in the market. I neither apologize for being transsexual or bringing humor into my delivery, because both of those aspects are sorely missing in literature about people in my community.

I admit there are many ways for an emerging writer to keep her/himself from reaching the market, however. And I speak from experience on several of these points, as I’ve fought against making them or have actually gone full bore into materializing these errors. I’ll also note that this is certainly not an exhaustive list. Feel free to add on in the comments. But as I have lived it, the big missteps are these:

1. Grousing–There is so much stress associated with being an unknown writer, I get it. We worry if our work is any good, if anyone will notice our value, we incur piles of rejection slips, even while we watch vapid celebrity book projects get tons of hype from traditional publishing (hey, ghostwriters need to make a living too). One expert will tell us our book is too long, another says it’s not long enough, and so on. But if you’re working on establishing an audience, remember that readers–seasoned readers in your genre especially–have no tolerance for complaining. Nothing will make you look unprofessional faster and with less effort than negative statements about how crappy the publishing industry is or how blind agents are to your talents. Complain in private, among your most solid friends. Read More…

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