Podcast Link: Click right here.
Podcast Transcript: Hi, and welcome to Episode 1 of The Genuine Writer podcast! My name’s Jeannette DiLouie, and I’m the Chief Executive Editor of Innovative Editing, a full-service editorial company that truly wants to make your writing stand out in all the best ways possible, whether you’re working on a novel-in-the-making, a serious nonfiction book-to-be, your college application essays or master’s thesis, or that new website you want to promote your books or business on.
There’s so much to writing and editing, and I love every part of it. Most of the time, anyway. Admittedly, there are times when both can become frustrating. But that’s what Innovative Editing, its brand-new podcast and its much longer-lasting free e-letter are all about – making the process less and less frustrating until you’re actually surprised when a writing or editing problem pops up.
By the way, if you want the full range of free insights that Innovative Editing offers, sign up for The Genuine Writer e-letter at www.InnovativeEditing.com. It goes out once a week, summing up everything that got posted the week before, from writing elements to editorial pointers to publishing insights and marketing advice. Better yet, it gets you started with “Writing Tips 101,” an easy-to-digest, 6-page report that sets your stage to get some serious writing, editing – and eventual publishing – done.
One way or the other, here’s our topic for the day – the very last day of 2018, incidentally. 2018 was whatever it was, whether good, bad or mixed. But let’s acknowledge that it’s just about over and done with, and get our writing-related attitudes in check for 2019.
No, that doesn’t make this podcast episode a fluff piece. And we’re going to be exploring more and more of the writing world in 2019. But it’s hard to explore anything properly without the right preparation, from compiling the right equipment to adopting the right mentality. Don’t leave home without either one.
Acknowledging that you need the right equipment is one of those “no-duh” deals, I know. Yet, believe it or not, it’s just as important to have a mature authorial or author-to-be attitude. Maybe modernist writers of old like Earnest Hemingway and D.H. Lawrence could get away with being utterly full of themselves. You’re not Earnest Hemingway or D.H. Lawrence though. Which, for the record, you should be very happy about. They’re about boring and pretentious as something that’s, well, really, really boring and pretentious. Honestly, in the moment, I can’t think of anything more boring and pretentious than they are.
Since you’re striving for something greater than high school and college-aged students groaning over having to read you, here’s what you need to do: Stop thinking the muses singled you out from everyone else: that there’s no other worthwhile storytellers out there. There are plenty of other talented writers who are well worth the read, both already published and to-be published.
You’re not God’s gift to the writing world. Get that into your head.
Unfortunately, thinking otherwise is something I see often enough, especially in online writing groups and face-to-face writing circles. Oftentimes, it’s not even a matter of people having strong opinions about the passive voice or dialogue tags or whether to write a prologue or not. It’s more a matter of them getting up on moral high horses.
Yup, I’m going there – told you this wasn’t a fluff piece.
I’ve seen too many writers post or comment about critiques they got, then whine about how they’re right and their critic is wrong because #mytruth or #ilovemyself. That’s true even when it’s exceptionally obvious that their critic has a point. One example of this that immediately jumps to mind is a writer who’d been told he was writing smut. Apparently, his fiction manuscript was all about sadistic vampires who would… ummm… have fun with their victims before they killed them. Graphicly detailed fun, too.
But apparently, this graphic detail was all necessary to the completely pointless plotline. Sorry to be harsh there. I almost never say that about any story. But when you write a book for the sole purpose of describing depraved activities for someone else’s entertainment, there’s something wrong with your manuscript. And you.
That isn’t a knock against the horror genre, by the way. It’s amazing the themes you can delve into and the worthwhile questions you can introduce through horror stories – neither of which was this man’s goal. If you saw the post and the exact details he was writing about, I’m 99.99% sure you’d agree with me.
Moving on… he clearly had a problem with taking criticism, constructive or otherwise. He had it in his head that he could write about whatever he wanted – which he could – and everyone would just adore him – which they won’t.
Seriously, it doesn’t matter what you’re writing about. You’re never going to please everyone. Some readers aren’t going to be interested in your genre. Some aren’t going to care for your topic or presentation or style or focus.
So if you want to be a successful writer in 2019, first drop the idea of pleasing everyone. Then drop the idea of being the best thing since Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press. You’re not. And while you can’t please everyone, that doesn’t mean you should only be pleasing yourself.
You’re the writer. Which means you’re ultimately in charge of your final draft. As well you should be. Never get bullied into making an editorial or stylistic change by anyone – not by your family. Not by your friends. Not by your beta readers or editor. Not by your publisher. Or your readers.
This is your writing. So own it.
But own it like someone who’s actually mature enough to own something. Acknowledge that you’re not perfect. Seek out advice. Consider other people’s perspectives.
And see just how far you go because of it.