As I was teaching my Writer Mastermind groups this week, I confessed something there that I realized I should confess here at MaryDeMuth.com. I have career regrets.
If I were to visit my younger writer self, I would’ve given myself a good talking to. Here are five things I would say:
- Just because someone tells you to write parenting books doesn’t mean you should. And just because a marketing expert tells you that you HAVE to become a parenting expert, doesn’t mean you have to follow that advice either. Truth be told: does any parent feel like they’re an expert on parenting? I have made so many mistakes as a parent, and I shudder to think someone might consider me an expert. Plus, every single time I talked about parenting, I kept changing the subject to healing from past trauma and Jesus’s faithfulness to do so. (I couldn’t help it. That was the subject God kept me up at night about. Still does.)
- No one has a magic formula for selling books. Gurus exist not because they figured book marketing out, but because many are clever at peddling their surefire formulas. The formulas make them money, but selling books seldom does. I regret rushing to gurus, instead of listening to the still, small voice of my Savior.
- When you write deeply personal things, be sure not to include someone else’s deeply personal thing. That’s their story to tell, not yours. I had to issue a correction in one of my books because of doing just that. I still regret it to this day.
- Trust your gut. I’ve done some behind-the-scenes writing for entities (how’s that for vague) that I now regret. I should have trusted my gut and also should’ve known my strengths. I have a strong voice. I do not do well writing in someone else’s voice. Now, if you ask me to write your story, I will say no. I’m not equipped to do so.
- Be careful who you trust. There have been some folks in publishing who did not have my best interests at heart. But I tend to love relationships and people, so I barge in without seeking God’s guidance. Had I sought Him, I could’ve avoided some very messy situations.
While I am so grateful for the amazing opportunity to write books, of course there were moments of doubt, regret, stumbling, and bewildering circumstances. Persevering through this industry has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
Every time I’ve tried to get a “normal” job, the door shuts soundly. So I kept writing. Day by day. Hour by hour. Word by word. Some of my 40+ books are now out of print, but many remain in print, and each one represents an aspect of healing to me.
I am not a bestselling author, but God has used each project to grow me, heal me, and help some folks too. I’m grateful.
Thanks Mary for your humble, honest heart. That’s what makes you trustworthy as both an author and an advocate for fellow Christian writers. Your vulnerability in both roles has helped me heal personally and grow as an author.
Oh I am so glad to hear that, Ann.
Amen to Ann’s comment!
What I am hearing loud and clear is to listen to God and follow his path – He will guide me!
thanks for your advice Mary!
yes, so true!
I can relate to much of this. I’ve had people tell me what they think I should write “because it’s more sellable.” It was never a parenting book, but it was things my heart wasn’t in and God never let those go anywhere and kept drawing me back to my memoir and to stories of compassion.
And you write both so well. Keep at it, Linda!
Thank you Mary for your heart for authors. Because of your heart, I’ve been blessed over and over again. And thank you for your willingness to be vulnerable. It was this trait that first drew me to your writings three years ago. I’ve learned so much from you and I’m certain I will continue to learn from you. God bless you.
Thanks for the kind words, Robin!