I believe writers should write, without self-censoring. And then they should edit what they have written. Rigorously. Relentlessly. Repeatedly.
I learned to write by reading well-written books. And badly written books, but later. I absorb what I read on a gut level. It’s not intentional learning all the time, and never in the beginning. So, anyone who wants to write, needs to read. Store up plot, style, character, till it is all second nature.
I learned to edit by reading books on writing. It wasn’t necessary to find a class, a degree, an editor/agent, a writer’s group, someone to read my unpublished work—though all of those can surely help any writer at any time.
Used to be, if a writer didn’t learn the craft—how to edit, plot, create characters and setting, hook a reader—it didn’t see print. Watercolorists say you should paint freely—and throw the first 100 watercolors away. Writers should write that first book—and maybe then the file cabinet or the box under the bed is the next and final step. It was a learning experience. Learn. Publish only when you have something you truly, objectively believe other people will want to read.
Because, it’s the writing that makes a book. Not the format, not a great title, not the most professional cover that “looks like a best-seller”. A good book reads like a book.
Yes, this rant began as a review of a couple of indie-published works. It grew. It needs to be said. Names will not be named.