Three Writing Myths That Drag Us Down

Author Laurie Halse Anderson spoke at the 2011 LA SCBWI Conference about how to stay creative and make time for your writing. She shared the following three myths that she felt held people back when it came to their writing careers.


Myth #1: If you get published you will be free from financial pressure and you can write full-time.

  • Not True! Laurie Halse Anderson says she works harder now than she did before she was published!
  • Her day job is being an author – and that means promoting herself as an author (not writing). Writing is her “other” job.
  • She sat down and did the math one year to find out how much she makes per-hour and it turns out she made a whopping $10 per hour as an author/writer. But the trade-off is she’s happy!

Myth #2: Being published will solve all of the painful parts of your life, and it will open you up to be more creative.

  • Not True!
  • Those painful parts will always be there. Accept that there will be money and personal pressures in your life. CHOOSE not to fuss about it. Use that energy for other things.
  • Learn to accept and manage your distractions!

Myth #3: Full time writers belong to a secret club.

  • There is no secret to finding time and creativity.
  • Being published will not solve all your problems and indoctrinate you into this club – it doesn’t exist!

A Little Bit About Laurie Halse Anderson’s Personal Writing Journey:

  • In 1992 she had her “writing moment” when her kids were off at school and she decided she wanted to be a writer.
  • She decided she would give herself 5 years to get published and if it didn’t work out then she’d give up. In truth, she says she should have given herself 10 years, because she was very lucky when she got her first picture book published in 1996 (after 4 years). Everyone’s millage is going to vary.
  • Talking at schools pays a lot better than writing does!
  • She doesn’t take many vacations.
  • She had a day job when she was trying to get published.

More Insights Will Be Coming from Laurie Halse Anderson! Look For Next:

Laurie Halse Anderson is the New York Times-bestselling author who writes for kids of all ages. Known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity, her work has earned numerous ALA and state awards. Two of her books, Speak and Chains, were National Book Award Finalists. Mother of four and wife of one, Laurie lives in Northern New York, where she likes to watch the snowfall as she writes.

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