Tag Archives: Writing style

“Your Mileage May Vary” Guest Post by Jennifer R. Hubbard

The other day, I made the mistake of reading a blog that tends to speak very authoritatively about what authors need to do to sustain a career. I don’t visit that blog often, because it makes me depressed and anxious. Occasionally, I’ve found useful industry information there, but more often I feel doomed, as if I’m “doing it wrong” and have no future. My writing style is not that author’s style. Our genres and audiences are different; our career goals are different. In fact, one piece of advice from that blog made me miserable when I tried it.

Most blogs about writing and publishing acknowledge that “YMMV” (“your mileage may vary”); I try to do that on my own blog. Whether the issue is how active to be online, how to obtain and use feedback, whether to get an agent, whether to self-publish, whether to use a pen name, or whether to outline, most questions don’t have one-size-fits-all answers. If I’ve learned anything from knowing other writers, it’s that there are many, many paths through this business. If there were only one path, one formula that worked for everyone, we’d all be using it and we’d all be rich.

But it’s so easy to get sucked in by authoritative advice, especially when the source is successful in his or her own right.

Of course, the solution to my own problem here is something I said earlier: “Our career goals are different.” Someone may press a map into my hand and urge me to follow the route marked on it. But if the destination is not where I want to go, why on earth would I follow that map? Even when the destination is also mine, I strongly suspect there are alternate routes.

So I really need to stay away from that particular blog. It doesn’t help me. I imagine it helps many other people, and that’s great. One reason I’m not naming the blog is that I don’t think other people necessarily need to stay away from it. Just me.

And in the spirit of this blog post, please feel free to disregard anything I’ve said that is not helpful to you. YMMV.

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Bio:

Jennifer R. Hubbard (www.jenniferhubbard.com) is the author of Try Not to Breathe (Viking, 2012), the story of a boy’s recovery from a suicide attempt, and The Secret Year (Viking, 2010), about the consequences of a secret relationship.

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