• Dishwashing & Other Myths

    Posted Posted by Guest Writer in Inspiration     Comments 1 comment

    Most myths hold some type of truth; it’s why they’re so believable, and their touches of unbelievable are what make them so memorable. Unfortunately some myths are more like old wives’ tales and tend to lead to nothing good. Allow me to take the wind out of a few common myths, and hopefully add some wind to  your writing.

    Myth: Maintenance, like doing the dishes, is more important than writing.

    Fact: Writing is as important as doing chores, possibly even more.

    Even though writing doesn’t scream “I need doing,” like a pile of dirty clothes it does. The problem is how to overcome this belief that doing maintenance chores helps you finish your story faster—as long as you continue to eat and wear clothes those chores will never go away. One idea to combat distraction by maintenance, according to Cairene MacDonald of Third Hand Works, is to have a set time you do those chores (like every Tuesday and Friday after dinner), because if your chores aren’t reaching critical mass, you’ll be less likely to let them steal you away from your writing.

    Another idea, from Michelle Goodman, is to only allot 15 minutes to doing simple chores when you’re procrastinating. This will give you the satisfaction of putting a dent in them, but without spending precious writing time on making sure your house is spotless.

    The last suggestion is to write in a place where you won’t be reminded of your chores—either outside your house or by creating a small space (like a blanket fort) inside a larger space.

    Myth: I’m not qualified to be a writer.

    Fact: If you have a story to tell and you want to write it, you’re qualified to be a writer. Compelling stories don’t come from liberal arts degrees, they come from passion (unless you’re an existentialist). While you may not have a complete grip on grammar, I’ve never fallen in love with a punctuation mark. Get your idea out of your head and you can find someone to help with the finer points of writing mechanics.

    Myth: It takes years to get published.

    Fact: This greatly depends on how you’re trying to get published. It may take years to get your beautiful novel published, if you decide to go the traditional route—but that is only one route. You can self-publish electronically or by print-on-demand. You can break your story down into smaller stories or write new short stories and submit to literary magazines. Duotrope has thousands of listings of presses and literary magazines that can be broken down into genre, story length, and a bunch of other categories.

    Myth: Everyone is keeping track of your failures and mishaps.

    Fact: There isn’t a giant network of people conspiring against your literary dreams. Editors aren’t keeping track of you; and if they’ve rejected one of your stories, it wasn’t personal. The only people who know about all your failures are you and whomever you tell. Thomas Edison said, “Many of life’s failures are men who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” A few good examples of failures that turned into successes are Kathryn Stockett’s novel The Help and ABC’s Once Upon A Time.

    Can you think of any other myths needs busting before you start writing?


    Jacqui Bryant’s love for reading, ability to create adventure, and general curiosity for all things unconventional in life may outweigh her ability to write well. But she hopes not. 

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    Justine Tal Goldberg

    Myth: What my writing group says is always true. Fact: No one knows more about your writing than you do. Feedback is incredibly valuable, but it’s not always right. If a piece of criticism contradicts the spirit of the work and you feel strongly about sticking to said spirit, don’t take the criticism. You are the author. You hold the pen. And don’t you forget it. Caveat: If the majority of your writing group has the same comment on a piece of writing, it probably holds some truth. This does not mean, however, that you need to abandon your artistic… Read more »

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