Writers as Learners

I’ve had a post lingering in the back of my mind lately. The need to write it developed from some conversations with authors. These haven’t been the good kind of conversations. They’ve mostly been the too-stupid-to-live kind of conversations. Most people publishing books take their craft seriously. The availability of self-publishing platforms (meaning anyone who can type can upload a book to Amazon.com and try to sell it) hasn’t changed this. I repeat: most people publishing books take their craft very seriously. But there are those few, as there are in any profession, who believe that they have nothing to learn. Their books are their brainchildren, and the only reason they aren’t selling well and are getting poor reviews is that people don’t “get” them. Or someone else is out to get them. Whatever.

Before I got around to writing my blog post, someone else did it for me. Did it better, even.

So forget my post. If you’re a writer, you need to read this. Really, really need to read this, instead of making excuses.


Have fun.

6 Responses to “Writers as Learners”

  1. 1 Catana January 25, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    I’d turn the “few” and “most” around. I read reviews, and a heck of a lot of samples, trying to find books worth reading, and I’d say that *most* writers think they already know it all. Very few show that they know the high school basics of good English *and* the ability to tell a story. It’s easier to make excuses and assign the blame for your failure to others, than it is to learn.

    I’ve seen mentions of professional writers whose books have improved over the years, but once bitten, twice shy. There are at least two authors I swore off of and have never been willing to try again, even though their books are popular and get good reviews. That first impression counts.

    • 2 vickietaylor January 30, 2012 at 4:19 pm

      I hear you, Catana! Sorting the the chaff to find the wheat can be frustrating.

      The good news is, there are some great books out there! In fact, there are more than ever since writers are able to publish novels that wouldn’t have made it in New York–failing not because they’re bad books, but because they don’t fit some editor or agent’s idea of the market (and often the editor and agent are right, because they’re looking at hitting the sweet spot, the center of the market where they can sell tens, if not hundreds of thousands of books whereas the independent author is perfectly happy writing for a niche).

  2. 3 A. C. Cockerill January 25, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Hi Vickie, I’m a firm believer–practically obsessive–in continuous learning. Great post and link. Cheers, Ashley

    • 4 vickietaylor January 30, 2012 at 4:20 pm

      I would definitely say you are a continuous learner, Ashley! 🙂 Just don’t forget to squeeze some writing in there somewhere…

  3. 5 Kim January 28, 2012 at 2:58 am

    Anything worth doing, is worth over doing. Never stop learning.

    Great post!

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