The hero isn't always the good guy, or girl.

Mistakes, I’ve made a few…

First of all, Sinatra (Frank) is a guilty pleasure of mine. When I made a half-way-across-country move with two children, three cats, and a fish; there was a certain point when the arguing about what to listen to got solved real quick by shoving the “Best of Frank Sinatra” CD into the car player and rolling with it. For FOUR HOURS.

I am absolutely not ashamed to admit I resorted to “violence” … four hours, folks. (or a facsimile there of since the Backstreet Boys vs N*Sync battle was annoying as F***) And there are only so many times even the GREATEST fan can listen to American Idiot before your eyeball starts to twitch.

We learned the words to ALL the songs on that album and by the end of the trip could belt “My Way” with the best of them.

So… let’s talk mistakes. (In the writing career.)

  1. not publishing sooner. I missed out on the Kindle Star wave
  2. Publishing too soon, I didn’t build up the “fan following” and marketing structure before pushing forward. (aka, poor timing in general
  3. typos/grammar and f^%^%^% COMMAS!
  4. whoopsies when using named places/people/things
  5. cover art (grrrrr!)
  6. Pen name
  7. Branding
  8. genre choice — or should I say sub-sub-genre choice?
  9. tense
  10. point of view
  11. series consistency
  12. genre consistency
  13. Not having the RIGHT support network (friends and family, not included here, they’ve been GREAT) in the writing community
  14. Not picking the RIGHT trade org for support (at first)
  15. Biting off too much
  16. Not knowing enough about “Romance” writing before starting
  17. Trying everything all at once and getting burned out
  18. Not doing nearly enough research about writing as a career
  19. Loving my “babies” too much to change them for the masses
  20. Spending money on some of those “marketing” courses. I really could have used the money elsewhere.

But here’s a few things I wouldn’t change:

  1. Helping others — even if they are only using my info/help as a stepping stone to other things.
  2. Writing things I LOVE — I tried writing “to market” and hated myself, hated the words going in, hated the result. Frankly, it never saw the light of day.
  3. Writing about characters with REAL flaws… like that one homeless character I was told to change because, and I QUOTE, “Homeless isn’t sexy.” God, that STILL enrages me today. But yeah, it sold about two copies, so I guess it isn’t and that well-paid author knows their stuff, right? And also? Screw that advice. WRITE THE HOMELESS PERSON. Geesh.
  4. Learning through mistakes — okay, maybe I’d change that so it didn’t hurt so much when someone points out what I’m doing wrong. But without mistakes, this would be “easy.” And worse, I wouldn’t have any empathy for other writers who are making their own mistakes… ones I can point out MORE GENTLY than the way I had them pointed out… and perhaps help someone grow.
  5. Trying new things, genres, techniques
  6. Going DEEPER into my characters’ flaws, fears, and desires — discovering that I am a “method writer”
  7. Reading WIDELY, not only in my genre
  8. Looking outside “traditional genre conventions” for inspiration.
  9. Writing short for anthologies — whether it is for exposure (for new authors) or for charity, I won’t regret those stories at all, even if they weren’t in my “niche.” I got to meet very nice people along the way and help a few causes. And, I’ll continue this as a way to give back whenever possible.
  10. Good people, hardworking writers, folks who give and give and sometimes burn out because they want to help so badly that they forget self care. Those folks.

To sum this up, being an author isn’t always sunshine and roses. But I do not want anyone who has a love of writing to give up on their dream because I’m listing some doom and gloom things. There are GREAT things you’ll encounter in this life. Even if the negative things outweigh the positive things two to one, you’d miss out on the positive things by quitting.