Challenging Our Assumptions

I’ve noticed that when entering the writing and publishing journey, people have a lot of assumptions that aren’t necessarily true. Here’s a little true/false quiz to pinpoint some assumptions you may have. Do they need to be challenged?


True or False:

  1. The best time of day to write is the morning.
  2. In order to write anything good, I need large chunks of time.
  3. I should probably start telling people about my book, to keep me accountable.
  4. I probably shouldn’t talk about my book because someone might steal my idea.
  5. I shouldn’t read other books in my genre because I don’t want to imitate them.
  6. The fact that my personal story is so tragic will make it interesting to others.
  7. Book marketing is all about self-promotion.
  8. Every writer needs a website.
  9. Writer’s block doesn’t exist or is just an excuse.
  10. If I’m a real writer, it should be easy.
  11. I can only write on the days I feel inspired.
  12. I should probably quit my day job as soon as possible to be a successful writer.

My thoughts:

  1. False. While morning works best for most writers, the best time of day to write is the time you’ll actually do it. We are subject to family schedules and work schedules, so we don’t always get to write at the ideal time.
  2. False. Large chunks of time are helpful and typically lead to productivity, but you can write an entire book in less than four months writing only 500 words a day.
  3. False. While it’s a personal decision whether to talk about the book you’re writing, there’s a funny psychological trick we play on ourselves, in which “talking about something” makes us feel like we’ve already done it — making us less likely to truly get it done. So beware talking about it.
  4. False. It’s not entirely unknown for someone to steal a book idea. But the chances are so slim that it’s not typically worth worrying over. In any case, two people can write a book on the same idea and come up with entirely different books.
  5. False. You might not want to read other books in your genre while you’re deep in the trenches of writing your book. But before that, you should have spent years reading other books in your genre.
  6. False. Sadly, there are many tragic stories, so that fact alone won’t necessarily make it interesting. It will need to be beautifully written and have a strong sales hook.
  7. False. If you’re thinking book marketing is “self promotion,” then you’re doing it wrong. It’s really about sharing something valuable with the world.
  8. True! A website is the beginning and the foundation of your online presence.
  9. False. Some people claim writer’s block isn’t a thing; those suffering from it beg to disagree.
  10. False. Writing is hard. Full stop.
  11. False. Writing, like any discipline, can be done with or without “inspiration.”
  12. False. It’s a good idea to keep your writing completely separate from stresses over paying the bills, for as long as possible.

How’d you do?

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


  1. Mac MacCullough on September 29, 2019 at 7:55 PM

    All agreed, except #2.
    Time spent on writing and RE-writing the nth draft exact lots of time.
    Some really fine chapters/segments have flowed from my pen in short sessions, but to string them into engaging novels has taken months.

  2. Frank Carver on September 25, 2019 at 1:15 AM

    Arguably 8 is not really true either. Writers, like a lot of other businesses, can and do exist with only a social media presence: Facebook, Twitter, pages at Amazon and Goodreads, etc,, but no actual website. A website is certainly a good thing, and can help you engage with readers who prefer a stand-alone web presence to something owned by a faceless internet giant, but it’s not an absolute requirement.