8 Myths Embraced by Writers

Some myths will function in the life of a writer, even past 18 years of age. For instance, Santa Claus with his sleigh and Shakespeare being a regular guy with a regular education are two that, embraced or not, won’t change writing careers. Writers may hold onto those or discard them, with little discernable effect.

But writers who believe in other myths are going to have to invest heavily in Tylenol and Kleenex tissues. Once these myths are uprooted, writers may hope to achieve contentment and reason:

1. Getting an agent is a perfect reason to buy champagne. (Sure, Moet et Chandon would like you to think so.)

2. An agent will get your work published. (Apparently, you do not know many other serious writers.)

3. Getting a well-known established agent will get your work published by a bonafide mainstream publisher. (See #2, please.)

4. There is a magic number of queries that, if you can just hold out until you reach it, will guarantee that the agent or editor meant for you by your fairy godmothers will say yes. (I have the numbers locked in my office safe. They correspond with your birth date and genre. Send me a $39.00 Paypal transfer along with your birth date and the genre you write in, and I will get that right to you. Maybe.)

5. If you know someone important, that person will help you get published. (Considering that children helped Tolkien and J.K. Rowling, I would cultivate those immature ties. Friendship with children is the road to a healthy mind and creativity!)

6. Placing first in a literary contest will help you get noticed by agents and editors, leading to a lucrative book deal. (Perhaps. Perhaps not. Take it as praise and don’t pin all your hopes on this.)

7. If you do not get a contract with a well-known publisher, then you should quit writing. (Ah . . . . maybe for a week? If you are meant to be writing, you will come back to it. Despite the Tylenol and Kleenex, there is hardly anything more health-giving than the catharsis of writing!)

8. If you self-publish a really good book, readers will find it and write reviews. (Readers will not find it unless you learn to market. As people are generally distracted and thinking of themselves, most will not leave reviews. You will have to figure out a way to get reviews!)