Wednesday 1 August 2018


A pitfall is a trap. Either in the physical sense of a hole dug in the ground to trap animals, or in the more metaphorical sense of a snare or drawback. In either case, you could be happily walking along, minding your own business and ... splat! you've fallen into one. Avoiding them can be tricky, but climbing out again if you don't is even harder.

Pitfalls are often difficult to spot, which is why they're so dangerous. That also makes them hard to photograph, so here's a waterfall instead - they're something else worth looking out for which you probably don't want to accidentally fall into.

Here's a free to enter poetry writing competition which offers €500 as the prize. Don't fall into the pitfall of not reading all the rules before entry and therefore being disqualified – you do have to write the right kind of poem, and be able to get yourself to Limerick.

As it's the first wednesday of the month, it's time for an Insecure Writer's Support Group post. This

month's (optional) question is –

What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?

I'd say don't expect too much, especially when you get your first success, and don't be discouraged if your hopes aren't realised. 

I remember, after months of trying, having two stories accepted for magazines quite close together and thinking I'd made it! The next batch of rejections hurt more than any I've had before or since.

A similar thing happened after I won a novel writing competition. I had visions of the book being on the shelves of bookstores and libraries countrywide and earning me a decent royalty cheque. Unfortunately the publishing company was new, with very limited resources – they couldn't promote the book, or offer the kind of discounts major retailers demand. I did get to do a book signing in Waterstones, and some libraries stock it, but I earned only a very small royalty before the publisher ceased trading. That was a while ago now, I'm long over the disappointment and have self published that book – and lots more.

Of course some writers do 'make it' quite quickly and earn lots of money. There's no harm in hoping you'll be one of them, just as long as you realise that a slower route to success of more modest proportions is more likely.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Keep expectations low so that if something does do really well, it will be a pleasant surprise.

emaginette said...

I like what Alex suggested and I always try to remember why I write. The love of it. The sense of expression. Those are moments of true happiness for me.

Anna from elements of emaginette

Unknown said...

I second what Anna wrote in her comment. But, yes, getting your hopes up too high in the early stages can set us up for disappointment. Hope your writing is going well, and thank you for the post. :)

Nas said...

Yes, what we expect when we start on this journey and what actually happens at times are vastly different. We should keep expectations low so not get upset when we don't make certain milestones.

Nick Wilford said...

I think it's about your attitude and what you're doing it for - if it's to make money then you're probably in for a nasty shock. It's important to stay passionate about the writing because that'll see us through when times are lean.

Oscar Case said...

Pitfalls have kept me from making tons of money, but I don't regret a minute of it. Maybe one of them will be full of money. Looks like a nice place to take a swim under the waterfall.

Juneta key said...

Keep the expectation low sounds like good advice. Happy belated IWSG.