I believe that all writers eventually hear this bit of advice: Write what you know.
Unfortunately, it makes many of us believe that we have to become experts on something even before writing a story.
Science fiction authors should be rocket scientists, after all, right?
They have to know the science behind all the stuff happening in their books. They never handwave anything (*snicker*). And maybe they don’t research anything, either, because they are all experts already…
And you shouldn’t write a horse into a story without having earned some ribbons in competitions before, true?
Well, considering the stupendous mistakes some authors make when putting horses into a fantasy story, it’s very obvious people don’t believe that.
Funny, isn’t it, that it takes a scientist to write SF, but people don’t have to be dressage champions or castle architects to write Fantasy. They don’t have to have experienced everything they write into Romance. Research is your friend – and these days, we have Google!
And yet there is still a pervasive belief that experts do better at writing and selling books. So many people get a creative writing degree, or even an MFA because they want to be a writer. And they believe they can’t be successful without a degree. Without being an expert. Without teachers to tell them how to write.
And that’s nothing but a massive, limiting belief.
Yes, writing is an art. And it’s also a craft – which means you can learn a lot about it, but unless you actually do it, you won’t get better.
Makes sense, doesn’t it?
And an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) doesn’t teach you how to promote and market your books, and seriously, that’s a major skill you need these days when you want to make money with your writing. And yes, that’s true for authors with big publishers, as well, since they no longer do a lot of promotion for you.
So honestly, if you want to be a successful author, the best choice you can make is to sit down and spend as much time as possible just writing. Get feedback, get honest beta readers, and when they think it’s time to get the story out into the world, get support in editing and formatting. And put out the best book you can create, and then write the next one.
That will be much cheaper than an MFA. And possibly more successful.
Here’s some tapping to get you out of that “Expert Trap”.
Even though I believe I really should know much about everything I put into my stories and be a real expert, I’m a good writer anyway, and I now choose to accept that research and asking experts about details might actually be okay, as well.
Even though it is so tempting to go for a degree, because then I’ll know everything I need to know about writing, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to allow myself to practice writing and get better even without a degree.
Even though this new world of publishing is so bewildering and I really want to get a degree because then I’ll know everything, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now give myself permission to save that money and time and develop my own writing voice – and learn about publishing through connecting with successful authors.
How do you feel about writing?
Do you believe that an MFA is going to be helpful?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what are you creating right now?
Would love to hear from you!
Image Source: F. Moebius
PS: You’ll find my personal experiences with these beliefs in the comment section. Because I am tapping with these very sentences, I’m inviting you to join me on this journey, and share your experiences.
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