Nadia Lee | NYT and USA Today Bestselling Author of Contemporary Romance » Blog Archive » Being Good Enough
Being Good Enough

I’ve heard many people say they just want to write something “good enough” to be published. After all, it’s not like they’re writing a Shakespearean play, right?


How can you be a good writer if you plan to do just enough to get by? How can you call yourself an artist?

Some people actually say, “But it’s just romance (or insert any other genre)! With the limitations of the genre and word count, I can’t do the story any justice! What’s the point of writing something deep and meaningful for just a genre novel?”

If you can’t do the story justice in the genre for whatever reason, shouldn’t you change your genre and/or write a literary novel? Why show such contempt for the readers and the genre when you yourself can’t write the story that they want and expect from you? What are you really afraid of?

We, romance writers, bemoan lack of respect, promotional dollars, ridicule, etc. But isn’t that because many of us look down upon the genre ourselves? When you’re going for a job interview, do you tell the prospective employer, “I’m the best candidate for the position” or “I’m good enough for the position”?

If we hope to become published, improve the genre’s image, and perhaps join the NYT bestsellerdom, we must promise ourselves to do the following:

  1. Regardless of the genre — romance, mystery, SFF, etc. — we’ll respect it.
  2. We’ll master the craft so when our Muse comes calling, we’ll be able to answer the call with confidence and the right tools.
  3. We’ll write consistently and regularly — the only exceptions: family emergencies and/or serious illness.
  4. We’ll always strive to write the best book we can even if it feels like slicing our veins open with a dull spoon at times. There are times you absolutely just love writing, but there will be times when you hate it (because you’re revising or whatever). Suck it up because it’s all going to pass. (And if it never does….well…then you should probably reconsider your decision to be a writer.)

When we do all of the above, we’ll be one step closer to our writing goals. And please don’t say you tried. “Tried” isn’t good enough.

6 comments to “Being Good Enough”

  1. Kate Karyus Quinn
    · July 16th, 2008 at 2:11 am · Link

    Great post! It makes me think about how for years I was embarrassed to be seen reading romances in public. Now though I am out of the romance reading closet, and in writing my own romance novel, I’ve also gained a lot more respect for what a difficult genre it is.

  2. Jennifer Shirk
    · July 16th, 2008 at 2:14 am · Link

    So true. :)

    (PS. I love your new site!)

  3. Chelle
    · July 16th, 2008 at 3:10 am · Link

    Love the new site! Looks great. I love the looks that come across people’s faces when I tell them I write romance. The ones I thought would be disgusted have actually surprised me and shown more interest.

  4. Debora Dennis
    · July 16th, 2008 at 5:27 am · Link

    I couldn’t agree more. We have to respect ourselves, our talents and our genre – before anyone else will.

    And I love the new site too! :)

  5. Nadia
    · July 16th, 2008 at 10:35 am · Link

    Kate — I was the same way for a while, but romance is very difficult to write. I think every genre has its own challenges to be honest. :)

    Jennifer — thanks re: site.

    Chelle — LOL. Oh I agree. Brother thought it was totally cool when I told him Harlequin wanted to see my full once. He said he didn’t care who published my stories as long as I was happy.

    DD — Thank you. :) I think respect is important, and I think self-respect is more important than some external validation.

  6. Zoe Winters
    · June 22nd, 2010 at 1:59 pm · Link

    Agreed. You don’t Try. You DO.

Comments are closed.