Author Topic: My biggest mistake...  (Read 63 times)

Jo Bannister

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My biggest mistake...
« on: July 10, 2019, 09:38:04 AM »
... that I'm going to admit to.

What's the biggest mistake you made at the start of your writing career?  What do you most regret?  What, with hindsight, would you change to make the process easier or more enjoyable?  Give us the benefit of your experience, to save us all the pain of repeating it.

To kick off, I think the biggest mistake I made was trying too hard to impress.  Using words most people didn't know; referencing literary works most people hadn't read; writing, in fact, like the kind of know-all brat that nobody likes, least of all me!  I'm not sure when I learned the error of my ways, but I'm glad I did.  Now I know to keep watch for these extravagances, and edit them out.






Gyppo

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Re: My biggest mistake...
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2019, 10:16:56 AM »
Excellent topic, Jo.

Thinking that magazines wanted something different from what was already successfully selling copies by the thousands.

We all know the Christian Herald won't want porn, and Playboy don't want 'God stuff'.  But it took a while, and a few helpful editors taking time to spell it out, to realise what any magazine wanted - in actual fact needed -  was a fresh angle on old and trusted subjects.

Example?  If you know any real advantage to knitting with dry spaghetti instead of wood, plastic, or metal needles, then it may interest a knitting magazine.  But not a food magazine ;-)

If you find yourself despising a magazine, or its readers, and feel a burning evangelistic need to 'show them what they're missing' then it's probably not your market.

As a rough guideline magazines you enjoy reading, ones you'd pay your own hard earned cash for, have the best chance of being a good fit with your own mental processes and beliefs.  Why?  Because you, without realising it at first,  are their target reader.

The step across to becoming one of their writers as well isn't so far when you realise you're writing for enthusiasts like yourself.  That you are effectively having a one way conversation with individual readers on a similar wavelength.

Gyppo
« Last Edit: July 10, 2019, 10:33:11 AM by Gyppo »

Jo Bannister

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Re: My biggest mistake...
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2019, 09:30:46 AM »
OK, three possibilities.

Gyppo and I are the only ones who've ever made mistakes in our writing careers.

Gyppo and I are the only ones who've ever had writing careers.

Nobody else cares enough about the quality of their work to want to improve it.

Take your pick.  I'm off to do something more productive.

DGSquared

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Re: My biggest mistake...
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2019, 02:59:52 AM »
Rushing to complete a story or making three drafts and calling it, good enough.

Every, 'good enough' is cringeworthy at best.

Also, sleep on it. I have started things, usually letters, in a passionate rush that I look back on and think how much better it would have been if I had mulled it over or tossed it in the round file, so to speak. Some things are better left unwritten and certainly not shared.

Finish it. So says me, who has yet to complete three writing projects that have been on the back burner for over a decade. Yikes. I let doubt and fear stifle my creativity.


"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

A child’s life is like a piece of paper on which every passerby leaves a mark. -Chinese proverb

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Spell Chick

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Re: My biggest mistake...
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2019, 12:01:38 PM »
I've made so little money from writing that I would scoff at calling it a career.

But the money I made came from writing for a website that kept moving my cheese. First they paid so much and then they paid less and then they paid less and then they covered all the words with so many ads that even as a writer, I didn't want to visit the damn site.

So, make sure you know WHO or WHAT you are writing for.
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