When I started writing, I had several misconceptions.
(1) I thought all I wanted to do was write and sell one book. Just one book, and I would be happy.
Ha! The first book led to a second, and then a third, and… I just sold #29, and I’m hoping to sell one more. Just one more. Right?
(2) I thought if I didn’t have something right in the manuscript I submitted, the editor would catch it and correct it. (After all, I thought editors knew everything.)
I quickly learned that editors don’t know everything. In fact, there have been a few times when I’ve had to correct their misconceptions. (Yes, moose do sometimes attack sled dog teams, and no you can’t simply unload a horse from a horse trailer sidelined on Michigan’s I-94 and ride cross country for help.) And there were times I’ve had to provide evidence that the information I’d included in a story was correct.
(3) I thought my publisher would handle all of the publicity for my books, that all I had to do was write, and once in a while attend book signings and PR events the publisher set up.
Well, even back in the ‘80s, when publishers did do more promotion, it was generally to promote their company or big name authors, not the majority of us. But I will admit there was more support from the publishers then than there is now. Nowadays publishers do very little. It’s up to the writer to not only write but also promote.
(4) I thought once I signed that contract my money worries were over.
It didn’t take me long to learn that writers, like actors, singers, artists, etc. all have the “big names” who make a lot of money and get a lot of publicity while the majority range from making a decent income to poverty level. Even today, with far more opportunities due to e-publishing, 80% of self-published writers and 54% of traditionally published authors make less than $1,000 a year. (http://publishingperspectives.com/2014/01/how-much-do-writers-earn-less-than-you-think/ and http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/sara-sheridan/writers-earnings-cultural-myth_b_3136859.html )
(5) I thought once I sold a book I wouldn’t have any more rejections.
Not so. Although the number has decreased, I still receive rejections. Not all of my story ideas are great, some need refining, some need to go to a different publisher/editor, and some need to go in a drawer (or the waste basket).
(6) I thought once I was published I’d feel confident about my writing. No more self doubts.
The only thing I can say is even some of the writers I admire most, ones who are award winning best sellers and considered excellent by peers, editors, agents, and critiques have admitted self doubt. I guess those self-doubts never go away.