By now, having subscribed to a few online newsletters or by downloading what looked like useful stuff, I was getting inundated with email after email that promised to help me achieve my dream.
If I’d let it happen, just reading them all could have taken up pretty much every spare moment and given me no time to actually write.
But I began to realise that most of them couldn’t really help me at all. They were relying on my lack of confidence, self esteem, knowledge and friends (who knew what I was doing) to suggest that all I needed to do was get in bed with them and my problems would all be over. But if that were remotely true, then all any writer would need to do is join forces with them and they’d get a publishing deal and I knew that wasn’t happening.
I also wondered about the integrity of some of them. For example, if they knew that I or anyone else for that matter was simply never going to be a writer in a million years, would they say that or still take our money?
I began to think that with some offers of help, actual writing ability never entered the equation. Some of the more questionable sources of help and guidance, in my experience, were….
Some websites offer free downloadable guides but beware, as once they have your contact details, they might not leave you alone. One self-publishing company literally called me every other day for a month and even when I told them I was publishing with someone else they wouldn’t let go asking about my next book. I told them to come back in about two years! Recommend? Depends. The white papers can be great; the follow up a little too aggressive and persistent for my liking
It was these kind of thing that I was most weary of. I subscribed to a few on the basis they were free and it seemed like a no-brainer but when you started the registration process, more often than not the ‘free’ offer came with a whole number of caveats and other offers than tried to get you to part with money. I began to see a pattern. If hundreds of people parted company with anything from £10-£50, they were not much worse off and the people running the webinar (this was the same with ‘free’ papers) were quids in. But how many people attending the webinars were better off in terms of their writing or any closer to their objectives? Recommend? I came to the conclusion I was better off writing and keeping my money for better use
Writing Guide Books
I’d made the decision that if I was doing this, I’d seek advice from any viable source and guide books on writing are not in short supply. Some I read in the library, others I checked first in Waterstones and the best of them I purchased. I devoured the information where applicable and by and large they helped. What these books do very well is try to put you off by telling you how hard it is, but also give you hope by saying it can be done if (and it’s a big ‘if’) you can combine hard work, luck and by following a set formula. Recommend? Mostly. Take what you can but beware that you’ll get some mixed messages by reading just a few different ones.
The conclusion I reached was that, writing is a very solitary task and therefore one where a helping hand is always tempting to grab hold of.
But you have to know if the hand is genuinely looking after your interests – and if it is, grab it – or trying to pick your pocket.
It’s your dream, remember, and it makes sense to get whatever help and support you can to try to achieve it, as you would in any other walk of life. But be vigilant because where there are dreams there is money to be made.
And we know what money can be the root of.
Next time Week Ten: You’d Better Stop (or When To Give Up) – Part 1