7 Things I've Learned So Far, by Melanie Gideon

1. Don’t Google yourself. It can only lead to heartbreak. If you simply must know what’s being said about you and your work in the blogosphere, get a friend or spouse or sibling to do periodic Google searches for you. But, and this is very important, insist they curate. Suggest they say things like “Gosh, I don’t see anything but five star reviews. Okay, maybe a few four stars sprinkled in.” Suggest they don’t say things like “Why does @gogirlcrunchy hate you so much?” Tip: don’t be in the same room when said loved one is doing Google searches. And if you are in the same room, do not, I repeat do not look at the expression on their face as they scan the results. GIVEAWAY: Melanie is excited to give away a free copy of her novel 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: Heather won.)
Author:
Publish date:

This is a recurring column I’m calling “7 Things I’ve Learned So Far,”where writers (this installment written by Melanie Gideon, author of WIFE 22) at any stage of their career can talk about writing advice and instruction as well as how they possibly got their book agent -- by sharing seven things they’ve learned along their writing journey that they wish they knew at the beginning.

GIVEAWAY: Melanie is excited to give away a free copy of her novel 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: Heather won.)

Image placeholder title
Image placeholder title

Melanie Gideon is the author of the memoir The Slippery Year:
A Meditation on Happily Ever After, an NPR and
San Francisco
Chronicle Best Book of 2009, and a New York Times bestseller,
as well as three young adult novels. Her latest novel, WIFE 22
(sold in 30 countries and currently in development with Working
Title Films) is forthcoming from Ballantine in June 2012. She has
written for the
New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle,
More, Shape, Marie Claire, the London Times, the Daily Mail
and other publications. She was born and raised in Rhode Island
and now lives in the Bay Area with her husband and son. 

1. Don’t Google yourself. It can only lead to heartbreak. If you simply must know what’s being said about you and your work in the blogosphere, get a friend or spouse or sibling to do periodic Google searches for you. But, and this is very important, insist they curate. Suggest they say things like “Gosh, I don’t see anything but five star reviews. Okay, maybe a few four stars sprinkled in.” Suggest they don’t say things like “Why does @gogirlcrunchy hate you so much?” Tip: don’t be in the same room when said loved one is doing Google searches. And if you are in the same room, do not, I repeat do not look at the expression on their face as they scan the results.

(Can writers query multiple agents at the same agency?)

2. Don’t compare yourself to other writers. Somebody will always be getting more. More promotion, better reviews, better ads (any ads!) in magazines, more cities (any cities!) on their book tour. And somebody will always be getting less than you. Schadenfreude. It’s a difficult word to both spell (I just had to Google it) and pronounce (I usually just refer to it as “that S thing when you feel really good about somebody else’s misfortune”) for a reason. Don’t indulge in it.

3. Celebrate other writer’s successes. A win for one of us is a win for all of us. It means people are reading, loving and buying books. Other writers are not others—they are your kin.

4. Support your local bookstore and buy books from your local bookstore. Booksellers are the most wonderful, passionate, smartest people in the world and you need to be on their side and if you’re lucky maybe someday they’ll be on yours.

5. Don’t expect everybody will love your work. Rule of thumb is 35% will love it. 35% will hate it. And 35% will be indifferent. I know that adds up to 105% but I’m a writer precisely because I’m so bad at math. My point is this: your job is to write for the 35% who love your work. Period. Forget about the rest.

(Which writers' conference is the BEST to attend?)

6. Write something you’re passionate about. Something that you’re willing to work on for the next three years because at a minimum that’s how long you’ll be living inside that story.

7. Writing is a long apprenticeship. I wish I had known this when I started out. I’ve written five books and have been at this for twenty years now. Some people have success right out of the gate. But for most of us it’s a steady uphill climb, filled with reversals, switchbacks and white-outs. But occasionally a supermoon will appear that is so bright and otherworldly it will make you gasp for breath and remember why you began this journey in the first place. Because. You love. To write.

GIVEAWAY: Melanie is excited to give away a free copy of her novel 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: Heather won.)

W8673

WD's Novel Writer's Tool Kit is a great buy
for the fiction writer. It's 6 products bundled together
at 74% off. This kit will help you get your novel finished
and ready. Once your manuscript is done, watch the kit's
webinars on query letter and synopsis writing.
Available while supplies last.

Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:

Image placeholder title

Want to build your visibility and sell more books?
Create Your Writer Platform shows you how to
promote yourself and your books through social
media, public speaking, article writing, branding,
and more.
Order the book from WD at a discount.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 13

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a Lucky and/or Unlucky poem.

What Is a Plotter in Writing?

What Is a Plotter in Writing?

The world of storytelling can be broken into many categories and sub-categories, but one division is between plotter and pantser. Learn what a plotter means in writing and how they differ from pantsers here.

Waist vs. Waste (Grammar Rules)

Waist vs. Waste (Grammar Rules)

Learn the differences of waist vs. waste on with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Bridget Foley: On Writing Psychologically Potent Metaphors

Bridget Foley: On Writing Psychologically Potent Metaphors

Novelist Bridget Foley explains the seed that grew into her latest book Just Get Home and how she stayed hopeful in the face of rejection.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 12

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a six words poem.

What Is a Pantser in Writing?

What Is a Pantser in Writing?

The world of storytelling can be broken into many categories and sub-categories, but one division is between pantser and plotter. Learn what a pantser means in writing and how they differ from plotters here.

Too Seen: The Intimacy of Copy Editing

Too Seen: The Intimacy of Copy Editing

Novelist A.E. Osworth discusses their experience working with a copyeditor for their novel We Are Watching Eliza Bright and how the experience made them feel Witnessed.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: From Our Readers Announcement, Upcoming Webinars, and more!

This week, we’re excited to announce a call for From Our Readers submissions, a webinar on crafting expert query letters, and more!

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 11

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a prime number poem.