10 Writing Myths

I began life as a voracious reader. As a kid, my teachers asked me to “please quit doing book reports.” I did at least three times as many reports as everyone else–and those were only of the books I felt were worthy. In the summers I’d ride my bike to the library and have a hard time getting all the books I checked out home on the bike. I made lists (still do!) of the books I’ve read with a colored check mark to reveal what I thought of them.

I read every “how to write” book I found, every writing magazine, every article on authors I could find. I loved hearing about how they did what they did. And still, I didn’t have a clue about how things worked in this business. Here are 10 myths about being a writer that I discovered once I became published:

GIVEAWAY: Lori is excited to give away a free copy of her book to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: jdmstudios won.)



Guest column by New York Times Bestselling Author Lori Handeland,
who spent years waitressing, teaching and managing a photography
studio before selling her first novel in 1993. Since then she has written
many novels, novellas and short stories in several genres–historical,
contemporary, series, paranormal romance, urban fantasy and historical fantasy.
(a retelling of THE TEMPEST, May 2012, St. Martins). Soon she will return
to her roots, writing western historical romance under the name Lori Austin.
For more information please go to her websites at www.lorihandeland.com
and www.loriaustin.net. You can also join Lori on Facebook at:

Lori Handeland or Lori Austin Books.



1. The books featured on the covers of the review magazines receive that exalted space because they are “the best.” (They’re paid for.)

2. Author quotes are completely unbiased. (They’re usually given by friends, or requested by an author’s editor or agent.)

3. Professional writers make so much money they can quit their day jobs and their night jobs too. (The majority of professional writers do not earn a living wage. They do this “on the side.”)

4. Once an author breaks into the publishing industry, they’re in for good. (Every book is judged for its own merit.)

(How NOT to start your story. Read advice from agents.)

5. Authors are instant celebrities. (There is no instant in publishing.)

6. Oprah will call. (She won’t. Stop waiting.)

7. The books on the displays at the front of the bookstore are “the best.” (This space is also paid for.)

8. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling; that’s what an editor does. (If an editor receives a submission that is poorly written, she stops reading. She barely has the time to read it; she isn’t going to correct it too.)

9. Your checks will arrive on time. (Do checks ever arrive on time?)

10. Once you’re published, rejections are a thing of the past. (I received more rejections AFTER I was published than I ever did before.)


And here are 10 things about being a writer that make every busted myth irrelevant.

1. The call (I will always remember October 5, 1993 at 12:05. Always.)

2. When you see your cover for the first time. (This is actually cool EVERY SINGLE time no matter how many books you write.)

3. Gushing editors (This never gets old.)

4. Your book on a shelf in the bookstore. (I still take pictures.)

5. Reader letters (They make everything better.)

(Can your query be longer than one page?)

6. Writing Friends (I have very few friends who aren’t writer friends anymore. They understand without an explanation, and they never say: “I wish I had your problems.”)

7. Writing Conferences (PARTY!)

8. Making any money at all for something you’d do for free. (Don’t tell!)

9. Being able to say, “I’m a writer,” when asked what you “do.” (The expressions on people’s faces are priceless.)

10. The book, the book, the book. (Every book is different. With each one I learn something new. I can lose myself in the writing always.)



And speaking of myths, how about Shakespeare? Legends and rumors abound. Some say his impressive body of work is too impressive. No single human being could have written all those plays, that multitude of sonnets. Others insist the reality of the history plays, the pain of the tragedies, the joy of the comedies, the authenticity of characters are too much for one man. He’d have to be superhuman to produce such genius.

What if he was . . . ?

GIVEAWAY: Lori is excited to give away a free copy of her book to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: jdmstudios won.)


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for where to start? Look no further.
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73 thoughts on “10 Writing Myths

  1. soulbird

    It’s always fun, and sometimes informative, to read an article on the myths of your profession. My favorite one on the second list was getting to tell people you’re an author and watch their reaction. I’m a fairly new writer and it took me until almost publication date to boldly tell others that I am a writer. It’s also good to hear that the excitement of seeing your cover never goes away with each new book. That was the biggest high I’ve ever gotten out of any personal acomplishment in my life to date. It’s encouraging to know I can experience that over and over again.

  2. writingitout

    I grew up reading like mad, as well. Every story took me on a different adventure, where no one could tell me “You can’t do that.” It still remains one of my biggest interests today, aside from writing. Although I have always written, I just recently started sharing my writing. So, my favourite aspect has to be the amount of compliments I received from it. I’ll never forget the first day after my very first piece that I shared on my site. I had people come up to me and tell me how great and well written it was. I was so flattered, I didn’t know what to say. Of course, I thanked them. I don’t think they realized how much they made my day. From that day forth, I will always remember them, the first few who helped to build my confidence as a writer. I think any writer will know how important that is, as sharing your work can be a scary endeavour.

  3. BorderTown

    Historical Western Romance? YES!! I’m down here on the border in the middle of a chaparral. Im excited for you and I can hardly wait. Working on my first supernatural. Thanks for the inspiration.