In celebration of the ten year anniversary of www.cynthialeitichsmith.com, I asked some first-time authors the following question:
As a debut author, what are the most important lessons you've learned about your craft, the writing life, and/or publishing, and why?
Here's the latest reply, this one from author Regina Scott:
The most important lesson I've learned is to listen to my inner voice. We start out with stories we're burning to tell, stories that are uniquely ours. I think of them as gifts from God.
And then we learn more about the publishing industry, what's hot, what's not, what's conventional, what's expected. We hear from other writers, agents, editors, and readers who tell us to change our characters, our plots, our writing style, and our vision.
Don't get me wrong — everyone has more to learn and grow. But when you let those other voices into your head, you tend to lose your voice, which is what drew you to write in the first place. Only when you stay true to yourself does the story really satisfy you, your publisher, and your readers.