I Do Not Know What I’m Talking About

I know, I know, you’re all finding it absolutely incredible to believe but it’s true. Jackie does not know what she’s talking about. This post is mainly for people searching for writing advice or any clue on how to get ahead in this hell we call the publishing business, or indeed anyone who may be under the terribly mistaken impression that because of the stuff I post on my blog, I must know what I’m doing.

I don’t.

Firstly – and most importantly – I am still unpublished so there’s obviously something I’m not doing right. Secondly, I don’t think I’ll EVER know what I’m doing since the day I admit I do know, will be the day I stop improving and learning. Thirdly, I am still learning so the things I think I know today, may be the things I’ll prove to be wrong about tomorrow.

However there are some things about writing category that I can assume are correct since I got them in rejection letters:

1. Conflict must be simple, clear and deep.
2. Sex must have an emotional connection.
3. The conflict (for MH/Riva) can’t be too dark.
4. The characters must grow and change.
5. Characters must be well rounded people, but keep it simple because real people are far more complicated and messy than you can fit into a category length book.
6. Category romance is all about the fantasy and escapism (and must include actual romance!).
7. No stereotypes please.

All the rest of the stuff I talk about on this blog is just supposition and assumption really, and you shouldn’t take anything I say as gospel. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that I am wrong about a LOT of things. 🙂

But, that being said, here are some things I am not wrong about. Prepare yourselves.

1. If you don’t write, you won’t be published.
2. If you don’t submit, you won’t be published.
3. If you give up you won’t be published.
4. The day you think you know what you’re doing is the day you’ll find out you don’t.
5. Rejection doesn’t kill you.
6. The tiniest success goes a loooong way.
7. Drinking helps ease the pain.
8. Over-thinking will kill your story stone dead.
9. Taking risks sometimes works and sometimes it doesn’t.
10. Loving your writing is the first step.

Anyone got anything else they’re NOT wrong about?

16 thoughts on “I Do Not Know What I’m Talking About”

  1. It is true that the tiniest success can change your outlook. So until some outside person is willing to recognize my general awesomeness, I will just have to find my own way to measure success. For now, I think just sitting down at my desk every day and not giving up is a victory.

  2. Julia – that IS a success! Achieving your word count, getting a pat on the back from a CP, writing what you think is an awesome scene…those are all successes.

  3. Hmmm . . . I guess I’d add that you have to treat your fear with respect. Too much, and it cripples your creativity. Too little, and you think you can blaze new trails in a series that just ain’t gonna buy what you wrote. <*rasies hand>

    And Jackie, your lists are AWESOME!I especially like this one:

    “The day you think you know what you’re doing is the day that you find out you don’t.”

    Hey, change that to hourly and I can relate! Yes, it is a wild ride.

    Now, back to my writing hole!

  4. What do they say Jackie, Life is all about the journey not the destination and I think writing is the same – it’s what you learn, and what you get out of it while you’re doing it that’s the great part.

    One thing I’m not wrong about: you may not be published yet, but you’re an awesome resource. You’re sharing all the pre-published knowledge you have and that’s priceless.

    Ooh *girly squeal* You could do a Mastercard ad. Cost of a Brad $600. Taking a night course in creative writing $450. Reading Jackie Ashenden’s blog: Priceless

    Heh heh heh I just made me laugh 😛

  5. I especially like the one about not knowing it all…*raises hand too*

    And the fear. Yep, Amy, you’re right about the fear too.

    I’ll add confidence to that. Well, confidence is great, but it gets iffy when it becomes ego. Confidence keeps you moving forward, ego keeps your butt firmly planted right where it is, unable to improve because hey, ya know it all!

    so that I know. Confidence=good Big fat ego= not so much.

  6. Amy – *raises two hands*. 🙂 I have been with the crippling fear and it was baaaaad for my writing. Funnily enough though, the sub I had no fear about got to the second round of revisions. But that was because I didn’t even know enough to be either scared or confident!
    Thanks re the lists. Lol, I thought I’d definitely be in with the next sub following the second round of revisions. But nope.:-)

    Elissa – oh, you’re such a sweetie. I’m not sure I’m a resource but it’s lovely of you to say! And I DO like your Mastercard commercial! Maybe I’ll do one and put it on YouTube. 🙂

    Maisey – so true! I like to think I don’t have much of an ego but I am – of course – wrong about that. I have an ego and sometimes it needs to be clubbed into submission. Nothing like an R to cut you down to size. 🙂

  7. For someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about you make an awful lot of sense 😉

    Lacey’s right, it’s a great summary. Good luck for 2011 xx

  8. Lacey – thanks!

    Lorraine – Hey you! Making sense is good and I’ll settle for that. 🙂 Good luck to you too, m’dear.

    Caroline – That is my mantra these days. Why is keeping it simple so hard?? *wails*

    Rach – thanks m’dear! You also rock!

    Jill – Glad they’re useful but make sure to remember I do not know what I’m talking about! 🙂

    Susan – *pulls out the vodka* What’ll it be? Straight up or martini? 🙂

  9. I’d like to suggest: Friends help ease the pain.

    I don’t know what I’d do without my CP and other author friends. The writing community is such a supportive place.

  10. Cat – that’s SO true. I do have the bestest bunch of CPs ever and boy do I use them. 🙂 They are pretty much the reason I’m still here talking about stuff I know nothing about. 🙂

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