Once someone enters into the writing career every illusion is shattered into tiny pieces. Here are few:
- Writing is Easy. It’s anything but easy. Anybody who believes that, has definitely not struggled with troublesome characters, tricky knots in plots, hard character growths and truant muses. They have not stared at blank pages and screens for long periods of time, nor have they struggled with several edits and laboured over rewrites.
- Getting a book Published is not Difficult. People who think like that do not belong to the publishing world. Getting a book published is more difficult than actually writing it. Manuscripts sit in the slush pile, agents are more elusive than a rainbow and editors are highly choosy about the manuscripts they accept. Even after a manuscript is accepted there are the harsh edits to wade through.
- Writing can be a career option by itself. This is the worst illusion. People who think like that have not set their eyes upon a writer’s royalty or advance cheques. Bills cannot be paid through the income one makes from one’s book/s unless the book wins a big prize or sells a million copies or is made into a movie. Most writers have a day job and writing is relegated to the free hours or restricted to the late night hours.
- Once a book is out, the next one is accepted faster. This is another illusion that needs to be broken. Unless the second book is a part of a series, its not easy to get it published if the first one was a stand alone book. With every book a writer must prove herself and the story must catch the editor’s and agent’s eye.
- Writers live a glamorous life. We wish. Most people think we writers live a glamorous life, where agents and editors are standing outside our doors waiting for our completed manuscripts, where people are hanging onto our words. If only. Writing is absolutely unglamorous. If people could see us typing furiously or scribbling hard, the mess constantly surrounding us, the irritated expression on our faces at the thousand and one distractions we have to battle, and the hundred things vying for our attention, they would surely think differently. Most people have not witnessed the tormented expressions on our faces when we deal with tantrum throwing characters and unruly muses.
I know I have been guilty of shattering the illusions a newbie writer has of a writer's life, perhaps I have even marred him or her for life, but, I am sure being forewarned is nothing short of a blessing. I am just bringing them face to face with reality. Have you seen any of your writing illusions being shattered? Did you have any illusion when you started this journey? Please share them with us.