Lessons Learned.

Hello friends! I trust you’ve all survived the hectic Christmas Season with its family drama, over-eating and traveling. I hope Santa treated you all right. I had a quiet holiday here with my kiddos, and that was just fine by me. 2011 just kissed me on its way out the door and 2012 is wiping its shoes on the welcome mat, so I thought I might reflect on what a crazy year it has been (Though my first short was published in October of 2010, this is my first full year in publishing), and share some important lessons I’ve learned in hopes of helping any new writers out there who are choosing to throw their hats into the ring this coming year:

The publishing business is hard. It’s mean and unforgiving. If you make it to any level in this industry, there will be ugly and sometimes unfair reviews. There will be those that like you just because they think it will help them. There will be those that hate you because you are doing better than they are. You need a thick skin and a certain level of shrewdness to determine who is really your friend, and you will still be suckered by a few.

It’s still worth it. I have met some real assholes over the last year. Some were straightforward with their assholery, while some were weasels, pretending to be friends. It’s still worth it. I have met a handful of honest, genuine friends in this industry, and their friendship makes it all worthwhile. Thanks guys~you all know who you are.

Aim for the stars. Set your standards and goals too high. Tell yourself that you are going to do all of these things and win all of the awards. Tell yourself you can achieve what you have only dreamed of, then go after it. Failure is not an option.

Forgive yourself when you fail. You won’t reach all of those goals, but you tried. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Look at all of the goals you did reach because you pushed so hard. You are a ROCKSTAR! Next time, you will make it. The failure helped you learn. You are improved. I repeat~you are a damned ROCKSTAR!!!!

Not everyone will like you. It doesn’t matter how hard you try, not everyone will like you. Sometimes it’s personal. Sometimes it’s not. I have a sarcastic personality and a strange sense of humor. Some of you get it and enjoy my posts for what they are. You realize that they are only 5% actual annoyance, and 95% humor and snarky fun. Some of you don’t, and I offend the hell out of you. I’m not good with sensitive people. All I can tell you is that I don’t mean to offend. There is very little real malice within me. I won’t apologize for being myself.

Letting someone else edit your work sucks! It hurts. It never stops hurting. Some editors are better than others and don’t hurt you as badly, while others don’t care. Some editors want to improve your work, and some just want to change it. Once you get over the initial shock, you will recognize which one you are dealing with and learn how to react to the edits.

Letting someone else edit your work makes you better. Besides improving the work itself, a good editor helps improve you. There are lessons to be learned by a good edit from a good editor. Pay attention. Despite the pain of having your story overhauled, they are your new best friend. Everyone needs an editor. EVERYONE. Maybe even 2 or 3…

Act like a pro if you want to be a pro. There are poopyheads everywhere. Some will try to get under your skin. Some will succeed. Always conduct yourself with a professional attitude. Don’t defend a bad review, but if you are personally attacked on a blog or forum and want to respond, do so with class and grace. The other person may be a dickhead to you in response, but the other readers will remember that you were a pro about it.

Don’t let it go to your head. People like other people who are approachable. Readers love authors who interact with them. You aren’t Stephen King. He’s one of the few who can get away with not having an easy way for readers to contact him such as facebook, twitter, email and so on. Be there for your fans and they will be there for you.

Spare us the drama. Writers are people like everyone else. We have bad days and good ones. We get pissed at life and depressed at times. But, if you take my advice and have avenues in which your fans can interact with you, don’t use them as outlets for your personal drama. If your personal facebook is also where you interact with readers, don’t piss and moan about your mundane problems and what a bitch your mother-in-law is. We all hate that when our actual friends do it on facebook, what makes you think we want it from a stranger whose books we happen to enjoy? This all goes toward the professional point. Sure, be personable with your fans, but stop short of telling them about the fight with your husband or whining about how no one really loves you. Everyone has problems and sometimes it feels good to vent. Just not on facebook okay?!!

 I could go on with this list forever, but I will stop here. 2012 can be a great year if we let it, and I for one intend to do so. Thank you to everyone in my life who has, in some way, helped to encourage me on this journey. I love you all from the bottom of my sarcastic, dark little heart~C. W. LaSart


6 Responses to “Lessons Learned.”

  • Max:

    Nice post, Caren. Very happy to watch your career progress as great as it is. And as for the editing thing … it takes a lot out of a person just to change someone else’s work. Sooner of later I will turn into an alcoholic just to get through the day, living on the corner of streets begging for change and ink for my red pen. Oh, how cruel we are. How cruel.

  • Thanks for posting, C.W. You gave some great advice here. I particularly liked what you said about failure not being an option. What got me going in my very late 30’s was the mountain of regret that I was going to feel in my golden years if I didn’t give this writing thing one last try. Not only did I finish the book after 20 years, but I saw it published less than 2 years later. Everything else after that is gravy!


  • Great post. Hope I can count myself among “those who know who we are.”

    If I haven’t said it before, I’m a big fan of the editorial process, at the same time as I hate it. But a writing professor of mine once said, “Sometimes you gotta kill your babies.”

    I like telling that to my high school students when we talk about editing their essays. They always remember it.

    Or a nicer version, “Sometimes you just gotta admit when your baby is ugly.”

    Either way, point taken. And a good point indeed, as well as most of the rest of it. Going to Tweet it (I really should be doing something there, right? 🙂

    Happy soon-to-be New Year.

    Paul D. Dail
    http://www.pauldail.com- A horror writer’s not necessarily horrific blog

    • C.W. LaSart:

      Of course you are, Paul! Thanks for reading the post, and I’m glad you enjoyed it. I hope I am able to help even just one fledgeling writer enjoy a better journey in 2012. Happy New Year!

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