Don’t Be So Confident

On 2020-09-01 by Karen M. Dillon

A very long time ago I was a member of this writing site called Authonomy, which was pretty good for being able to get some feedback from other writers on your stories and was good for conversation with other writers.


Obviously, it closed down ages ago, but every now and then I think of this conversation that I had with another writer (who I shall not name out of sheer politeness), and she stated, after I told her that I write mostly for YA audiences, that writing YA is easy. She writes thrillers and she said that it takes a lot of brain power and thought and skill to write in that genre.


She then claimed that if she wanted to she could bang out a YA book, a romance book, a sci-fi novel and pretty much anything other than thrillers, crime novels or literary fiction in the space of a week and it would be a best seller because (and I quote) “there’s nothing to writing books like that. None of them really have much story and the plotlines are so simple it takes no thought or effort to write those books.”


I won’t lie, after that it took a lot of my will power to not get bitchy. I decided to take a breath and the high ground, not getting petty I calmly said, “Nothing is simple to write. Everything takes time and effort and immense amounts of thought, if you put little effort into writing a book it will show. Writing anything is hard work.”


To which she replied, “If you find writing YA to be hard, or that you have to think about it too much you probably shouldn’t write it.”


After that I ended the conversation. I wasn’t going to stand there and be called an idiot and I wasn’t going to listen to her insult books I both enjoy reading and writing.


If she’s reading this right now (and for those of you who would agree with her) I say, “By that logic, if writing is so easy to do and if you have to think about it you shouldn’t do it, should you really be writing your books if you have to think and work so hard on them?”


The answer of course is YES. You should be writing them. Because of the fact that you need to and are willing to put so much work into it.


Firstly, becoming a bestseller is both a combination of the effort that a writer puts into crafting the book and the effort that a publicist puts into advertising that book. And in the end it’s a combination of both effort, good timing and good luck.


You can’t bang out a bestseller in a week without even giving thought to what you’re writing.


You shouldn’t look down on other genres or age classifications because you think they’re simple stories.


And you know what?


Writing is easy… but writing something well is hard.

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