Honestly, I did. (Or at least make a living as a writer.)
Looking back from the vantage point of nearly 50 years, I probably needed to believe it. I was back from Vietnam and desperately needed something to hold on to. Still, it was a mistake, because I never took steady employment seriously. I lived from hand to mouth well into middle age until I realized that I was not going to be a rich and famous writer, that I wasn’t even going to make a living as a writer. Unfortunately, by this time I had a history of only staying at a job for a few years and all the jobs I did work were dead-end jobs.
So, don’t make that mistake.
Another mistake writers make is when they submit their work. A lot of aspiring writers don’t read, or if they do read they don’t follow, the submission guidelines. I often made this mistake when I was a young aspiring writer. I would be so full of creative optimism that I just had to get that story in the mail (snail mail) as soon as possible and guidelines be damned.
Now that I’m a crusty old editor, if I sense a writer has not followed the guidelines I don’t even read the submission before boomer ranging it back.
So don’t make that mistake.
One mistake that I did not make was to believe that since I could write a letter, there was no Internet, I could write a publishable short story. I read so many stories (and novels), so many back issues of magazines that had stories in them of my favorite authors, I read so many books on how to write short stories, I went back to school when I was middle-age and got my BA in fiction writing and my MFA in fiction writing…
Well, you get the point. I studied my craft.
During my ten or so years as an online editor, I’ve read submissions that were so poorly written they baffled me. The person knew nothing about craft, story or writing.
So don’t make that mistake.
And I would like to address another mistake writers make. They don’t keep writing. No matter how many set backs you suffer you should never stop writing. Now you just can’t write blindly. You have to study your craft. You have to be pro-active in finding outlets for your work. You have to have a relatively secure income to survive on. You have to live your life the best you can. You have to live it up in order to write it down.
But don’t stop writing.
If you do all these positive things, the odds are in your favor that you will achieve some level of success. But you have to keep writing.
“I would have been a great writer, but the chairs in the library were too hard.”–Anonymous.
Hello hello hello, my brother and sister readers and writers of erotic flash fiction from all over the world! This is the Old Soldier reporting for duty. It’s an ovecast day in Pittsburgh. This morning the high was in the 50s but the temperature will fall all day long until it’s in the 30s tonight. And we might get rain some time today.
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This is the Old Soldier reporting for the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette, a blog of art, culture, creative writing, local interests and sex.