Creating the Writer's Life, Part 1

Success is not the default, and success does not come easily.

I picked up this little tidbit from Nathan Bransford blog entitled Picking Droplets from a Firehose. It's worth reading the entry because it's exactly what I've been trying to say with this mini-workshop-lecture series that I have going here. I'm starting of with these words because they are honest and direct. These are words that every budding writer should know.

Getting that first word down on the page is hard. It's hard getting to the end of the first sentence, paragraph, page, chapter, etc., etc., etc., (you get the idea).

Very early on in my writing career I realized that I was very good at writing the first three chapters of a book. I loved the excitement of getting those first words on the page and the escalating tension that came with the building relationship between the hero and heroine.

Unfortunately, after chapter three I tended to fall flat on my face.

It wasn't that my stories didn't have merit. It was more that somewhere along the way I began to realize that I had no idea where I was going with my story after those three chapters. Worse, the same could be said for my writing career. It took me several years to realize that it was going to take more than perseverance to get me to publication. I needed to learn the craft, learn the business and somehow find my way to the bestseller list.

I'm still waiting for the best seller list.

But I did learn something very important and that was that unless I treated myself as the professional writer I wanted to be, then why should I expect anyone else to take me seriously? Maybe you've heard the adage... Dress for the job you want. Not the job you have. The same could be said for how you present yourself as a writer. It's hard enough to be a writer when people are continually asking you when you're going to be published or how come it's taking so long? The road to publication is a long one. For me, it took 12 years before I sold and then it was almost to the 14 year mark before I saw my name on the front of a book. That's a long time to wait. But there were very few times through those years that I questioned whether I could do it. After all, why couldn't I? There were plenty of others out there who had just as much experience as I had and they were being published. But during those years, I did see an awful lot of aspiring writers give up and let their dream die.

I was determined not to be one of them. I needed a plan.

Questions for the day:
Do you know where you want to go with your writing?
Do you have a plan to get there?

Be honest. Be brutally honest. Be so honest that it hurts. That is what is going to make this work. But this honesty is only part of it. I have one more question for you to think about before Part 2.

What are you doing about making your plan succeed?

I hope you'll join me for Part 2.


Morgan Mandel said...

Instead of treating writing like a fun thing to do, I know I need to buckle down and finish my work in progress so I can go on to the next one. Because no one is forcing me to do this, sometimes I feel it's okay to goof off.

Morgan Mandel

Teagan Oliver said...

Morgan, I know exactly how you feel. But I'm sure you're like me in that you've seen tons of people who give up after just a short time. I'm convinced that the difference between published and unpublished has a lot to do with intent. But then again, if I felt this way about dieting I'd be a lot thinner. :)

Morgan Mandel said...

You're right. And I need to buckle down and work on my manuscript instead of treating it like a fun project I can do when I'm in the mood.

Morgan Mandel

Teagan Oliver said...

From what I've seen you're really committed to it. My problem is that I take on so much that I get sidetracked and then have to force myself to get everything done. Believe me when I say that I'm doing this mini-workshop as much for me as for anyone else. I need to get back on the right path.

Lori said...

You have inspired me to start up my writing again! It's been years since I've even looked at my manuscript. I started writing when my daughter was 7 years old. She's now 23. And then, about 7 or so years ago, I gave up. I need inspiration. I need motivation and you have given me that just in a few short paragraphs. Thanks! I miss the girls from MERWA and hope to visit someday soon. Thanks for motivation--you are so right!

Lori DiAnni

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