‘Great’ Lessons to Learn when Writing

Your book has finally been published and you’re searching for book reviews to add credibility and visibility to your new novel. Some reviews are good and some reviews are bad. Rather than feeling defeated by the harsh words of a critic, take comfort in knowing that even famous authors like F. Scott Fitzgerald had their fair share of bad reviews and still became huge literary successes.

Recently, we heard an NPR interview that really struck a chord with us. The interview was about how The Great Gatsby went from a flop to a famous American novel.

There are a couple of lessons that we took away from this interview that we want to share with you.

Lesson #1: Don’t be defeated

When Maureen Corrigan, a book critic, first read The Great Gatsby, she was less than impressed. She thought that the plot was rather bland and she was unable to relate because the book didn’t feature any likeable female characters.

It was the latter issue that led to the lukewarm book sales in 1925. However, although the suffering sales could have crippled the morale of any writer, Fitzgerald forged ahead. It was this tenacity that Corrigan capitalized on when she communicated the message that, “it’s admirable to try to beat your own fate.”

Though failure is inevitable at some point in our lives, it shouldn’t dictate how we live. The point here is to not let the fear of failure affect your future.

Lesson #2: Money shouldn’t be your primary motive

Everyone has their own motive to write a book, whether it’s to leave something behind for their children and grandchildren to read, make their opinions known about a specific event, or to use it as an outlet for creativity. Sometimes at the outset that goal is even to make money. But, in essence, everyone has a reason as to why they want to write.

But, writing a book shouldn’t solely be driven by financial gain. As evidenced by this interview, we discovered that Fitzgerald’s last royalty check was only $13 – for a book as treasured today as The Great Gatsby! Although that is not a large sum of money, the feeling that he had created something original to leave as a legacy was priceless.

Writing a book should be a life-changing experience and should be guided by factors other than money. Write for the satisfaction, write for your family and friends, write for those who never had the opportunity to put their words on paper. Whatever it is that motivates you to write, keep that motivation in focus as you draw closer and closer to your goals.

From this interview, we took away these two lessons which showed another layer of the world of writing. Though book reviews and critics have the power to make or break a writer’s morale, we were also shown that despite success or failure, writing and publishing a book is about much more than money. So if you’ve been thinking about starting to write your book, or are in the midst of writing currently, take a step back and reflect on why you want to start or continue your journey. It might just be the motivation you need to make those dreams a reality.

Copyright Dorrance Publishing, 2014