Listen to your inner voice, even if she quotes Gandhi

Conflicting Messages = Blank Pages

Conflicting Messages = Blank Pages

In the pursuit to be published, writers will hear many conflicting messages —

Side A:

Don’t try to write to the market. If vampires are hot today, by the time you finish your book, the vampire market will be saturated and editors will only be buying ghosts.

So you would be wise just to write the “book of your heart”.

Side B:

Editors will ask for major storyline and character changes.

You must be willing to “kill your baby” or you will never get published.

Side A

The most important thing is to write a great book.

At the end of the day, focus all your energies on producing the best book possible.

 Side B

To be successful, you must build a readership.  Thus, you must write many novels, quickly to keep readers interested in you and the books must be in the same genre.

Side A

You must find your unique writing voice.

Side B

You must follow the writing rules. You’re not Nora Roberts.

These conflicting messages were enough to immobilize this nervous writer who is afraid of change, afraid to make the wrong decision and ruin my writing career before it has even begun.

But ready or not, 2013 has shoved major changes into my life: a new day job in a new work industry, a new writing project and this new blog. So I am shifting my attitude about change.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

What conflicting messages do you deal with and do you have a quote from a wise sage to lift your spirits?


About Jessie Smith

Health Care Worker by Day, Aspiring Author by Night and 24/7 Staff for Riley (Corgie/Tibetan Spaniel Mix)

Posted on October 10, 2013, in Auth: Jessie Smith and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. No wonder writers are always accused of being a little cra cra. We hear voices in our heads. Jessie, enjoyed your post!!!! 🙂


  2. Jessie, I admire how you’ve thrown yourself into this year. My prediction for you for 2014 is you’ll happily add to your playlist — and fall in love 🙂


  3. When the conflicting voices paralyze me, I need to be “inspired” to get off my butt. Ergo, I channel Nike advertising:
    “Just do it.”


  4. My fav quote was given to me by Kerrelyn Sparks, author of HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE VAMPIRE. Be Bold. Be brave. Be yourself. It’s the best advice I’ve ever gotten.


    • Thank you Susan. And I have heard you say this as encouragement but I didn’t know it came from Sparks, I associate those words with you 🙂


  5. Great post Jessie—I too find all this conflicting advice confusing. I’m not a fast writer and can’t force myself to be one, so I’m going to focus on writing the best possible book I can and not worry about the second one yet. I like what Cathryn said about writing what you want to read (It’s what I do) and what Maggie said about choices (I’ve decided to self publish so I can write it my way) and I like the quote Jessa chose—we can write something totally different if we choose to. Write what you love and someone else will love it to. Hopefully lots of someone’s will love it. Good luck.


  6. Jessie,

    There truly are so many conflicting words of advice for writers. I say, listen to your heart when possible. When your heart says ‘I’ve got nothin’,’ find a wise friend you trust, one who’s involved in the part of the writing biz you are wondering about.

    And the words I write by are ‘Write the book YOU want to read.’ That’s why I started writing, and why I continue, because although there are so many wonderful books out there, none are exactly what I want … so I write them.

    Of course I now rely on trusted beta readers to let me know I’m the ONLY one who’d want to read that particular story! ‘Cause I can climb pretty far out on that story limb …



  7. Awesome post! I love how you made the format/shape speak with the content. I wonder how much longer we’ll be able to use expressions like “A and B side” and “flip side?” The newer generations must be wondering why we would ever want to flip our mp3 music. 🙂


    • Thank you Asa. I guess I kind of dated myself with my love of old-fashion records. LOL I also prefer actual books over the kindle. 🙂


  8. Great post! Definitely write the book you want to write and want to read. Agents, editors, and readers will all have different opinions. When you decide to publish, the good news is you have lots of choices. If one company rejects it, another may love it. Or you may decide to go it on your own. Remember, you are the author. You are the one in control. You get to make the decisions on when to bend and when to put up a granite wall of refusal. That is the beauty of today’s publishing environment. The key is listening, evaluating, and only doing what you agree with.

    I can’t wait to see a book of yours. Everyone I talk to tells me you are a great writer and really funny. That is an excellent combination.


  9. My favorite quote is from Monty Python: “And now for something completely different.”

    It’s weird how often it applies.

    Woo, Jessie, for not letting the opposing voices in your head win the day! In fact, they don’t get a say until they are on the page 🙂


  10. My favorite uplifting quote is:
    “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!”
    -Audrey Hepburn


  11. 1. “It’s not about ego.” Everyone involved wants the book to be the best it can be. Yes, write the book you want to write and want to read ~ and then be willing to admit if it’s not the best book it can be and make the changes necessary.

    2. “Everybody’s a critic.” So choose who you trust. Not every piece of advice or editorial suggestion is going to be good. Listen to the ones that resonate with you ~ because you’ve managed to put away your ego, right? ~ and discard the ones that don’t. Remember, if a critic wants a book to go in that direction, they are free to write that book themselves!


  12. YEAH! Well said! I love your phobia-inducing 45s.


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