Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Tips from an Overrated, Talentless Author by Bethany Turner

I am my least favorite writer. I really am. I’m completely overrated. (Note: I’m not even all that highly rated, but that’s not the point. If anyone likes me, they really shouldn’t.) I don’t understand what my publisher was thinking when they offered me a contract. And do you want to know what else? I’m working on a romantic comedy manuscript right now that is about as romantic and comedic as my son’s Algebra 2 homework. (Note: I stopped being able to help my children with their math somewhere around the time we took the training wheels off their bikes.)

Now, Wooing Cadie McCaffrey? The one that comes out on May 21st? Well…that one is a different story entirely. That book was a stroke of genius. I’m not sure what happened when I was writing that one, but every single word is gold.

But yeah…this new book I’m working on? Don’t get your hopes up, people. I stink. Seriously. I’m the worst. And I’ve been sure to tell that to as many people as possible recently. I’m not exactly sure why. Maybe I just want to prepare them and make sure expectations are kept in check. Everyone has been saying nice things, of course. “I’m sure it’s better than you think,” and stuff like that. But I’m quick to assure them that it is not, in fact, better than I think. It is exactly as awful as I think it is.

The thing is, I’m surrounded by people who are on the journey with me. Legitimately on the journey. They’ve been there with me through the ups and downs of writing and publishing, not to mention…life. And these people usually laugh at me when I say things like, “Whatever minuscule amount of talent I’ve ever had has been lost!” (Note: I say that every bit as dramatically as those words should be said.) Yeah. They laugh at me. (Note: I do mean at me. In such moments, I am never laughing.)

They laugh because they’ve heard it all before. Of course, I never remember that I said it before, because I’m living in the afterglow. I’m convinced that I always loved Wooing Cadie McCaffrey, and that from the very beginning I knew it was the best thing I’d ever written. I’m not thinking about my editor’s text message that said, “I’ll be honest…we have a lot of work to do.” I’m not thinking about how much I cried when the first round of edits required me to scrap a quarter of the manuscript. And I’m certainly not thinking about all the times I said, “The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck was a fluke, and the only decent novel I’ll ever write.”

So, writers…hang in there. Stick with it. Trust the process. Thank the Lord for editors. And surround yourself with people who will laugh at you. (Note: Somewhere between brilliance and stinkiness, you may even be able to laugh along.)

...surround yourself with people who will laugh at you. via @SeeBethanyWrite #SeriouslyWrite #writingtips


Bethany Turner is the award-winning author of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck, which was a finalist for The Christy Award. When she’s not writing (and even when she is), she serves as the director of administration for Rock Springs Church in Southwest Colorado. She lives with her husband and their two sons in Colorado, where she writes for a new generation of readers who crave fiction that tackles the thorny issues of life with humor and insight.

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