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icerose
12-11-2009, 09:30 PM
Some things in life, especially writing, are learned the hard way. There's a few things I learned the hard way and I kick myself to this day for doing it in all ignorance.

Lesson Number One: All publishers are not created equal and simply because they say one thing doesn't make it true.

This lesson was learned from Punish Publish America. I was young, very naive, and I didn't have a clue as to how publishing really worked and didn't even know what questions to ask. Lesson learned and every time I think about trying for a smaller unproven press, that sting of that lesson makes me pull back really fast.

Lesson Number Two: In the script business, a % of nothing is still nothing.

I signed up for this thing where I wrote off someone elses concept and the person who brought us together would sell it. I'd get a whole whopping 35%. Well fast forward 3 years later and it has been nothing but an agony regret filled journey and guess what, still not sold. Now the person "selling" the script is trying to back out of the deal and still retain their percentage. Screw that.

I learned not to work for free. Ever. Even if it's a small up front, it's better than a promised percentage of nothing. It was my first and last. Deferment? It'd better be payable upon completion of this script.

Lesson Number Three: There's no such thing as a guarantee.

What writing lessons have you had to learn the hard way?

ishtar'sgate
12-13-2009, 08:51 AM
Getting a New York agent doesn't guarantee a book sale.

theantisplice
12-13-2009, 08:57 AM
Even if you love your story, that doesn't necessarily make it good.

Matera the Mad
12-13-2009, 10:18 AM
Editing is forever.

Kalyke
12-13-2009, 10:29 AM
Art is the biggest scam in the world, yet it is. The first artists (Greek) were slaves. The amount of time spent creating is simply not acceptable to those who hold the money strings.

icerose
12-13-2009, 06:26 PM
Thanks for contributing. There are so many lessons out there, I hope I learn most of them the easy way and that there aren't many more hard lessons out there for me.

scarletpeaches
12-13-2009, 06:29 PM
Check your ego at the editing-room door.

(It's incredibly liberating to do so).

Madison
12-14-2009, 04:55 AM
Check your ego at the editing-room door.

(It's incredibly liberating to do so).

Yes, this...

STKlingaman
12-14-2009, 06:37 AM
The harder the lesson learned
the more likely you're going
to remember it. Not saying
you're not going to make it again,
just saying you're more likely to
remember it.

Amarie
12-14-2009, 06:18 PM
A very hard lesson I learned:


Beta readers and critiquers can take you only so far. You have to learn to self-edit and be ruthless with your own words.

Namatu
12-14-2009, 11:53 PM
Beta readers and critiquers can take you only so far. You have to learn to self-edit and be ruthless with your own words.QFT.

the addster
12-15-2009, 12:16 AM
That editors and publishers don't always agree and a writer can be caught in the middle, without much chance of maintaining grace.

(I'm actually learning that today.)

DeleyanLee
12-15-2009, 12:19 AM
The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the less I know.

Always trust my gut.

The real focus of the "how to write" books is to sell "how to write" books.

icerose
12-15-2009, 01:29 AM
That a paranoid lunatic does not stop being so simply because you want them to go away.

Hedgetrimmer
12-15-2009, 01:47 AM
Publishing a book has as much to do with timing as it does the quality of the work.

Gary Clarke
12-15-2009, 02:18 AM
My addiction to adverbs will haunt me to the grave.

The Lonely One
12-15-2009, 06:31 PM
The more you learn about your own writing, the more you hate it.

icerose
12-15-2009, 06:48 PM
The more you learn about your own writing, the more you hate it.

That hasn't been the case for me. When I learn new techniques then I see my writing take that next leap and that's like tingly exciting.

Jess Haines
12-16-2009, 12:44 AM
The more you worry, the less work you get done!

Jamesaritchie
12-16-2009, 01:28 AM
That writing is a business, and must be treated as such on both sides of the desk.

scarletpeaches
12-16-2009, 01:29 AM
The more you learn about your own writing, the more you hate it.
That hasn't been the case for me. When I learn new techniques then I see my writing take that next leap and that's like tingly exciting.Aye. I'm with icerose on this. The more I learn, the more scope for improvement I have. I never want to be as good as I want to be. If that makes sense. Probably not.

What I mean is, if my writing's perfect, where do I go from there?
That writing is a business, and must be treated as such on both sides of the desk.I disagree. Writing is an art but publishing is a business.

kaitie
12-16-2009, 12:24 PM
That hasn't been the case for me. When I learn new techniques then I see my writing take that next leap and that's like tingly exciting.

I agree with you. Anyway, I haven't learned any particularly hard lessons yet, but I did learn I use the word "that" way too much! And cutting it out of the text has been hard. ;)

seun
12-16-2009, 05:25 PM
That I've been writing with an eye on publication for over 10 years...and for the first five of those years, I was nowhere near good enough for publication.

Libbie
12-16-2009, 05:37 PM
It won't write itself.

I spent almost ten years learning this hard lesson.

thethinker42
12-16-2009, 05:48 PM
It won't write itself.

I spent almost ten years learning this hard lesson.

QFT.

Jamesaritchie
12-16-2009, 07:39 PM
Aye. I'm with icerose on this. The more I learn, the more scope for improvement I have. I never want to be as good as I want to be. If that makes sense. Probably not.

What I mean is, if my writing's perfect, where do I go from there?I disagree. Writing is an art but publishing is a business.

We'll just have to agree to disagree. I don't believe writing is an art amymore than eating ice cream is an art. "Art" is probably the most abused word there is, and the biggest excuse for failure.

Chasing the Horizon
12-17-2009, 08:06 AM
It won't write itself.

I spent almost ten years learning this hard lesson.
Yeah, I had to learn that the hard way too. Now I'm working on learning that it won't edit and revise itself either, but that lesson hasn't quite sunk in yet, lol.


I disagree. Writing is an art but publishing is a business.
I'm going to have to agree with scarletpeaches on this one. Writing is very much an art (and a craft as well).

thethinker42
12-17-2009, 08:20 AM
I'm going to have to agree with scarletpeaches on this one. Writing is very much an art (and a craft as well).

I'm with SP and CTH.

Look at it this way: Painting is an art, but there's a craft to it as well. And there's a business side. You can paint whatever the hell you want, but if you want others to buy it, it behooves you to learn the craft and the business aspects. Learning and applying those principles don't make the resulting painting any less "art", just more commercially viable...not to mention, in most cases, more pleasing to the eye, more able to communicate whatever it was you were trying to communicate, etc. That's not to say you have to follow every rule to a T. Quite the contrary. If, after learning the rules, you choose to bend them, you're better equipped to know how to bend them effectively than if you were just breaking the rules because you didn't know any better.

I believe writing is the same way.