Why Writers Should Educate Themselves
When I started this blog almost three years ago, I had turned over a new leaf. I had gone from being an egomaniac to realising I knew nothing. Zip. Zilch. Don’t pretend you haven’t been there, that because you can read, because you’ve been writing since you were six, because you can text your mate, or got a great response to that post on Facebook, you believed that writing a fantastic story would be easy. It was all about talent, you didn’t need to build on your skills, you knew what worked.
Yep, I was a dumbass, you probably weren’t as bad a me, but pretty close. Then I sent my stories out into the world and I got slapped by rejection after rejection, some rejections even threw a cocktail in my face and that hurt! Then one rejection came with some advice, and a little part of me said, “Well, try it out, it’s better than sitting here getting a red face. Better to waste your money on something useful rather than cups of tea (or coffee for you caffeine addicts).” I hired an editor, I took writing courses at my local writers’ centre, actually searched out feedback (Rather than letters with various versions of ‘no thanks’) from writers and I learnt that my writing sucked. Big time. I was so embarrassed at what I had sent out I could have powered a small city for a month on my shame alone. I worked hard to improve and hone my craft, and that work paid off when I landed a mentorship with one of Australia’s biggest fantasy writers.
In the video below I was interviewed by a local internet entrepreneur, Bernie, on the e-book revolution, why it’s important to educate yourself, and why you need to pay for good quality information if you actually want to get ahead.
In this video we discuss:
- How I’d realised that talent wasn’t enough to write a good story.
- Why I sought out experts rather than ‘free’ advice on the internet. While free information was great, it wasn’t particularly detailed or step-by-step, no one was helping me step back from my own manuscript and point out what I couldn’t see in my own work. I needed people who had more experience than me, and those people, the people that would really make a difference to my writing, wanted to be paid for their time. Experts hold back the valuable part of their knowledge (Usually the ‘how do you do it’ or ‘how do you apply it to you’ part) because they know its valuable, I could search as much as I wanted on the net but I would only get an idea of what I needed, not how to do it.
- How I really resisted paying for help at the start; I didn’t have the money for goodness sake! Then I compared how far I had gotten in six months doing my own ‘research’ in comparison to eight weeks taking a social media marketing course and realised paying for information got me better quality, and I got to where I wanted to be faster. No one else was going to invest in me and my books if I didn’t invest in myself.
Do I still invest in courses even though I am now asked to give my own? Of course, I don’t know everything. New crazes and ideas and strategies come out every day, and I try to share as much of what I absorb as I can here on the blog in the hopes that you will find it interesting enough to learn more, from me or someone else. I now know that I will always need an editor to look over my books, that there will always be someone I can learn from who knows more than me.
I can say without a doubt that the only reason I have come so far in my writing career is because I’ve constantly educated myself these past three years. Every year I have a budget to spend on learning new things. Frankly, it was the best investment in myself I ever made.