Is it possible to do everything right when creating a novel to be published? There are thousands of blog posts (not to mention all the books, youtube videos, college classes, and E-courses dedicated to writing) about what to do to create the perfect novel, the perfect query, get published, and sell millions of copies.
I for one gobble up all the information I can on things I’m passionate about. I’ve minored in creative writing (twice), taken outside classes on publishing, read over a hundred books on the topic, and have been reading blog posts and writing them since 2015. So when it comes to writing, I can do it quickly, and to a decent quality. In publishing, I’ve gotten custom responses to my query and a few manuscript reads. I have three ebooks scheduled for release this year. But have I done everything right? No.
How could you? So much of today’s advice contradicts itself. But more than that here’s why you shouldn’t.
In day to day life, you don’t even see people doing everything right. Do you stand up straight with your chin lifted, your feet square and at shoulder with, your abs engaged? Do you breathe through your nose with your tongue resting at the roof of your mouth and swallow using your tongue not your throat? These are some basic examples of how humans are ‘naturally’ supposed to be. If you do all this then you are doing everything (in this regard) right. But how many people do you know who actually do this? How many people who live to a hundred do this? How many attractive people do this?
The point is you don’t have to do everything perfectly. So many resources I’ve come across make it seem like you have to do everything: All forms of social media, blogging, building a following before the book is released, interviews, blog tours, writers conferences. And all of this puts unnecessary pressure on writers. And it takes away from writing time.
We became writers not because it pays well, not because it is some kind of higher form of art. It’s more like a spiritual release or even just fun. We didn’t start writing because we love marketing or because we want to reach people. We may want our writing to help others or move them in some way but the people who write just to gain respect, money, or power tend to stop writing pretty quickly.
So I’m here to tell you to STOP DOING EVERYTHING RIGHT. Your novel doesn’t have to be perfect. The editing doesn’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to have 10,000 followers or an email list or a twitter account to be a real writer or to be a successful author.
Doing everything right makes you feel fake. I found that out forcing myself to write blog posts once a week (sometimes once a day) even though I hated it and saw no results. I made myself film everything I did and posted it on youtube hoping to be one of the ‘found’ vloggers, I wrote about what I was supposed to, went to college for what I was supposed to, queried the way I was supposed to, and saw no results from any of it.
It wasn’t until I stopped forcing myself to do everything right that I saw results.
I don’t post youtube videos I think will do well anymore, I post what I enjoy.
I don’t write blog posts every week, I write when I have something to say.
I don’t fight social media every day so that I can get more people (who probably won’t be interested in my novels) to fallow me.
I write what I enjoy. And I’m not going to worry about making them absolutely, completely perfect before publishing them.
So please don’t worry about doing everything right. Do what makes you happy, what got you into writing in the first place. You can try new things but don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
Books that helped me understand this:
Seven Steps on the Writer’s Path: This book is therapy and gets rid of writer’s block. It got me out of a very bad place.
Paper Hearts, Volume 3: Some Marketing Advice: All three books in this series are lighthearted, easy reads on every stage of writing and publishing. This book really opened my eyes to how much pressure I was putting on myself and helped to take the stress away.
I hope this helped. It seems like everyone could use a little destressing right now.