Monday, September 16, 2013

Taboo Breaking

Over the past few years, I've discovered that there are certain taboo topics for writers.

Some of those topics are obvious, like querying and being on submission.

But some of those topics are less obvious, like admitting to certain books or authors you enjoy.

I've always been a Nicholas Sparks fan. During high school, too much "Hamlet" and "Macbeth" drove me away from reading entirely. (Talk about taboo topics...yes, I did just admit that I don't like Shakespeare.)

But in college, I picked up "The Notebook" and haven't been without a book since. Nicholas Sparks re-introduced me to the love of reading. I'd never been ashamed of that fact until I saw multiple writers badmouthing his work on multiple occasions. Taboo, at least if you're a fan.

Another taboo topic? The number of years you've been writing or the number of manuscripts you've written.

Taboo breaker alert: I recently finished writing my sixth manuscript. That's right. Six.

There are some writers who are naturally gifted. Who get it right on the first try. I am not one of those writers. I didn't get it right on the first or second or even third try. It was my fourth manuscript that got a book deal. And there's absolutely zero guarantee that my fifth or sixth manuscripts will follow suit.

There are probably a hundred blog posts out there saying you shouldn't talk about your "failed" manuscripts.

(By the way, have you ever told a non-writer how many manuscripts you've written? It usually goes something like this...
Me: "I'm a writer!"
Non-writer: "Really? How many books have you written?"
Me: "Six!"
Non-writer: "Cool! Can I buy them all at Barnes and Noble?"
Me: "That's not how it... It doesn't just... No.")

But you know what?

I'm proud of that number.

It means I'm not a quitter.

It proves I have the capacity to learn and grow. (That first manuscript was really bad, y'all.)

It shows I'm a writer regardless of whether or not I'm an author.

So, yeah. I have a shelf full of signed Nicholas Sparks books, CliffsNotes for "King Lear," and a stack of trunk novels.

Does anyone want to talk religion or politics?

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