“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write
it.” —Toni Morrison
Two years ago, I started a post with this very same quote. It was about reading what you want to write (something that I still think is important), but I want to talk about the actual quote itself. Or, specifically, the advice behind the quote.
Being that I’ve been involved in the online writing community for several years now, I’ve heard a whole lot of writing advice over the years. And my favorite, next to finish the book, comes from that quote above—write what you want to read.
It almost seems obvious. I mean, of course we’d write what we want to read, otherwise what’s the point? But when you’ve got a finger on the publishing pulse, sometimes writing what you want to read can be a little scary—especially when you hear what you really want to write isn’t really selling right now (or worse—it’s selling like crazy now, which means by the time you finish your book and are ready to query it, it very likely won’t be).
And I mean, it is scary. Terrifying, even. Because what if you put in all that time and effort into a novel that doesn’t sell?
As someone who has done that many many times over, let me tell you what will happen:
- You’ll be disappointed.
- You’ll be really disappointed.
- You’ll put that manuscript aside, work on something else and completely fall in love with it.
- You’ll learn from your experience and be a stronger writer because of it.
Also, here’s what won’t happen:
- You won’t die.
- Your hopes and dreams will not spontaneously combust into a raging ball of fire.
- You won’t lose your ability to write.
- You won’t love your shelved manuscript any less (probably).
- Your previous manuscript won’t disappear into a black hole, never to be found again (I mean, unless you want it to, in which case you won’t mind).
So if you think about it, your worst-case scenario really isn’t that bad. You’ll have written something that you loved, that will always have a special place in your heart, and it’ll always be there waiting for the day when you’re better prepared to share it with the world. And also, you’ll be a better writer.
Writing something you don’t want to read, in contrast (as in, writing something you think could sell, but you aren’t necessarily uber-psyched about) is almost guaranteed to lead to this:
- A slow, agonizing writing process that your heart isn’t really into.
- An even slower, more agonizing editing process that your heart definitely isn’t into.
And maybe you’ll finish it. Maybe you’ll edit it and query it. But chances are, anyone who reads that manuscript will be able to see that you weren’t really into it. And even if it does on the off chance sell, do you really want your debut to be something you don’t even like all that much?
Personally, I can’t imagine working on something for as long as hard as it takes to get a book to publishable quality if I didn’t love it. It sounds like it’d be a pretty effective punishment for something, to be honest.
Writing is meant to be enjoyable (most of the time). It’s meant to be a way to turn the stories and characters and worlds in your head into something tangible, something you can share with others.
But if you want other people to love your work, you need to love it first.
So sure, pay attention to what the market is like in the publishing world, because it’s absolutely important to be informed and aware. But when it comes to writing books? Write what you want to read and forget about the rest.
Do you agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
With modifications becoming more commonplace every year, it’s not surprising to see that many people know next to nothing about modifications, but still choose to get them with only the information that everyone knows. So here are some things that you probably didn’t know about modifications. (Like tattoos, piercings, and stretched lobes.)
You cannot get a tattoo when you’re drunk. This is because alcohol causes the blood to thin. When a tattoo gun touches your skin, it creates little cuts. Getting a tattoo while drunk can cause you to lose a lot of blood. Not to mention the fact that it might mess with the quality of the tattoo.
Some inks will react differently to your skin. For example, many people are allergic to red ink. This can cause a rash, which also might mess up the quality of your tattoo. Additionally, yellow ink fades really easily.
Acrylic is a big no no in all piercings. This includes stretched lobes. Acrylic is a bad material to use because it is porous. This means that it’s more likely to carry bacteria, which can really mess up your piercing and make you sick. Additionally, do NOT buy plugs that are made out of polymer clay. This is also extremely porous and can royally jack up your ears. Some good materials are Surgical Steel, Stone, and Glass.
TAPERS ARE NOT JEWELRY. Tapers are a stretching instrument that looks a bit like a cone. While these can be used up to a 2g, some piercers suggest avoiding them completely. Tapers should never be worn for more than a few minutes. This is because they weigh unevenly on your lobes, which can cause a bad stretch, tearing, and blowouts. Alternatively, bondage tape (which you can get at any Spencers) can be used to properly stretch your lobes.
Piercing guns are bad news! They’re completely unsterile, and they can cause serious tissue trauma. A piercing gun basically forces a blunt piece of jewelry through the skin. This causes the skin to rip open to make room for the jewelry. Then it places the jewelry snugly against the skin, giving no room for the piercing to breathe. An actual needle piercing, done by a professional, is much safer and MUCH less painful.
Tattoos are much more sensitive than you think, and they take a lot longer to heal than what people may tell you. First of all, while the pain can go away after a week or two, the tattoo will not be fully healed for at least two months. While healing, you have to keep the tattoo as safe and clean as possible. That means no baths, no tanning, no swimming, etc. You also must lotion it often (don’t over-saturate it) and wash it three times a day. Think of it as any other open wound. You wouldn’t let it get dirty, would you?
Everyone has a different pain tolerance. Asking your friend how much their tattoo or piercing hurt won’t be accurate to you, since you might have a higher or lower pain threshold.
Stretching your lobes is absolutely NOT supposed to be painful. At most, you’re supposed to feel a little pressure, but that’s it. When done right, it is painless. For some reason, people seem to keep saying that stretching is like getting a piercing over and over again, but that is completely untrue. Stretching is literally just that, the stretching of the skin. Additionally, you MUST wait between stretches. You need to give your skin time to relax into the stretch and regain elasticity.
I think this about wraps it up. I hope this was informative. I welcome (correct) additions to this post.
The only thing that I have to call out here is the pain related to stretching. Stretching your skin can be painful depending on who you are and the elasticity of your skin. I waited the correct amount of time between stretches and put lotions specifically made for stretching on my lobes, after taking hot baths. I did my research and I did it correctly, and it did still hurt (some stretches more than others). If your skin isn’t super elastic, whether it has healed completely or not, it may tear a little. And there isn’t anything wrong with that as long as you’re careful and keep it clean.
Some people love to shut down people who talk about trans and intersex issues by saying that they’re “only 1% of the population” and thus can be ignored since they “aren’t statistically significant enough.”
By that logic, we can now systematically ignore:
- The entire state of Rhode Island
- Anyone who makes over $500,000 a year
- Pacific Islanders
Anonymous asked: The feedback I've been getting from my Query, runs something like this: Really interesting. No thank-you. I'm not sure if that is polite-speak for it sucks, or, simply not their thing. So, how to get a foot in the publishing door: A) Pound harder; B) Open a window (i.e. write a different genre/category book entirely); C) Quit: it's too hard.
This is most likely a form rejection.
This could mean:
A. Your query does suck (sorry, it happens, they’re hard!)
B. Your concept is overdone (ie the genre is dead)
C. You’re not querying the right people (hey I get a lot of queries from screenwriters so this happens)
What you should do:
1. Have some critique partners/beta readers/friends who write (etc) read your query. Get some feedback. Figure out if it’s your query or if it’s your book.
I’m going to say that if you’ve gotten 0 requests it’s your query. If you had a good query, a few agents (especially new agents or agents who really love a genre) will request.
2. If it’s your query, revise accordingly. You want your query to make people sit up and say “Oooh and then what happens?”
3. After you’ve resent your queries, start working on something else that’s completely different.
4. Never quit. :)
I was like:
I may have actually completely freaked out at someone in middle school who did this with a tray. I’d previously barely spoken to anyone, so the reactions were pretty hilarious.
Books! Glorious books! I currently have 130 novels in my TBR shelf on Goodreads, and even though I try to make sure I’m always in the middle of reading something, the list is ever-growing. I doubt it’ll ever stop (and I don’t want it to).
Which got me thinking! My method of finding books to read has changed pretty drastically over the years (which I’m pretty happy about, because it’s easier than ever to find good books to read). Nowadays, my book-discovery sources are pretty easy to pinpoint:
- Twitter. This is easily the biggest one, in part because I follow loads of writers who coincidentally love reading (surprise!) and love recommending books they read (I know, shocking!) and also because I follow writers who get books deals and a few years later, voila! Book in my hands.
But this is pretty easy proof of how important word of mouth is. I’d wager a guess that most of the books I buy nowadays were recommended to me by either a blog post or someone on Twitter.
- Goodreads. I like browsing on Goodreads, particularly a down-the-rabbit-hole-like search where I somehow end up looking for one thing and finding a whole host of new books to add to my list. Considering I keep my list of TBR books on Goodreads, I guess it’s not really a surprise that I also find books to read there. So there’s that.
- Bookstores. I do still go into bookstores! I actually love doing this, and I’m happy to report that I do still discover books while in an actual bookstore. This, to me, is the most exciting way to find books (and also most tempting because it’s in my hand and I want to read it and the register is just over there…).
- Giveaways. I mean, this isn’t a usual thing for me, but I came home from RT14 with a stack of books I got for free. And while many of them I was already interested in reading, some of them I didn’t really know much about—but now I’ll read them, and if I like them, I’ll buy the sequels. Yay!
So those are my primary book-discovery sources—now I want to hear from you.Where do you find books to add to your TBR list?
Friday was an important day for Harry and Ron. They finally managed to find their way down to the Great Hall for breakfast without getting lost once.
J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Ch. 8, p. 100
#Can we just pause for a moment and appreciate how sweet this is? #I mean, it’s something that probably many of us can relate to. #And in the context of the story, with all the great things Harry and Ron are going to do, it’s just so cute that getting down to breakfast was a big accomplishment way back when.
Readers, like voicemail leavers and card writers, are now a dying breed, their numbers decreasing with every GIF list and online tabloid.
Sure, you’ll get a supportive community if you do, but there is no hard rule that if you are going to spend thirty days speed-writing a novel, it has to be in November. It could be any time of the year, so long as you’re ready. You could start in the middle of the month.
You could start now.