May 25, 2011

Stages in a Writer’s Life, Part Three: Be Careful Who You Talk To

Posted in Stages tagged , at 4:17 am by Rebecca Hein

Musicians can’t hide what they do, and people generally don’t make fun of you for playing the violin, piano, or guitar. Even when you declare yourself serious by your college major in performance, as I did nearly forty years ago, well-meant advice usually centers on “At least get certified to teach in the public schools so you have something to fall back on.”
But writers seem to attract both bad advice and jeering. People either want to let you down easy by telling you how hard it is to get published, or they make merry over your ambition to write the Great American Novel.

So it makes sense to stay in the creative closet until you find someone you can trust. From there, radiate out to your chosen community one person at a time, until you can safely share your ambition and hope with these few helpful people.



  1. How true that is. Non-writers have little understanding of what we do. Human nature also tends to doubt that any local person can succeed. The best thing is to look for techniques to make your music or writing better. People who understand the creative process are happy to help fellow artists. Ignore the critic who never created anything but grief.

    • Rebecca Hein said,

      Another manifestation of this idea that the creative process is either laughable or simply beyond reach is the person who approaches the successful musician or writer with a wistful look, saying, “I wish I had your talent.” I never could persuade these people that it is ninety percent practice and experience.

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