What are common traps for new authors?

There are a few fallacies that writers fall into, I think, creating stumbling blocks for themselves.

One of them is the fear that others will steal their plot. There are a lot of writers out there these days. I admit that. And some might decide to grab someone else’s idea rather than see what emerges from their own interior realms. But in the end, they will do things differently in their story. There is hubris in thinking a plot in itself has such genius that no one else has tread that ground before. Yes, it’s possible, but it’s not really the point, is it? You capture emotion with your characters that is unique in some way. Your settings add their own flavor to the story. And so on.

Another fallacy is not trusting feedback. I’ve gone through it and think most writers who find the magic and richness of working with other writers from time immemorial, have. We’ve had to work through the initial phase of doubting what others say. It’s blended with fear of sharing our words. This is the opposite of hubris. We can tend to devalue our words—especially in a world so crammed with words now. That’s when it’s imperative to decide that the process is the greatest value of all. I learn so much about my interior world through writing, and especially editing, and dredging for the emotion in scenes.

I think not trusting feedback, and having trouble trusting the journey to get to feedback, is blended with not trusting our own voice at first. “Will I be able to hang onto my voice when I get others’ opinions?” That’s a process in itself that one has to work through. If you don’t want to work entirely alone, in a vacuum—I certainly don’t and i think few of our early favorite authors ever actually did—then you slowly, incrementally cull through to become discerning. For instance, “This is an adjective I want to keep despite another’s criticism.” Rarely do I entirely dismiss someone else’s opinion in getting feedback from other writers. I just know I need to work on that sentence or paragraph to get it to where the reader will love it, too.

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