Wednesday, July 11, 2012

If You Want To Be a Writer, You Need...

1. To Write. Yes, this seems obvious. But, you’d be surprised how procrastination, self-doubt, and fear can affect this important detail. Not to mention how "time sucks", like day jobs, family, school, friends, the outside world, etc., can get in the way. None of that can stop you. Writers must write. Period.
2. Patience. Invoke your inner Zen master because publishing is not a fast business. Even self-pubbed authors must wait on critique partners, beta readers, cover designers, hired editors and the rest before the book hits the market. If you go the trade route, you’ll be waiting to hear back from agents, then when you get an agent from editors, then when you get an editor...it continues on. Patience is a necessity.
3. Confidence. Rejection - often a lot of rejection - is part of the process. Agents, editors, acquisitions boards, marketing teams, critics, and readers will reject your work. If you self-pub or get to the publishing stage, you will still get negative reviews. It’s inescapable. But, if you do not believe in your work, no one will.
4. Humility. Some days you will be so down in the dumps, you’ll need a real shot of #3 to boost your ego. Other days...you’ll walk on water. Well, at least you’ll think you do. Most writers feel up and down about their work. When you feel up, your dreams are attainable. Maybe it’s the NYT Bestsellers list, maybe it’s getting your work in the hands of readers, maybe it’s finishing your work-in-progress. No matter what, if you’re fortunate enough to achieve those dreams, don’t forget how it felt to be down. Always appreciate everyone who helped you along the way.
5. Nerves-of-Steel. The business of writing is not for the weak. It is not for the quitters. It is not for the faint of heart. You’ll be putting your heart and soul on the page for weeks, months, and sometimes years at a time. Then, you’ll cast off your book into the world and be told not to take the feedback personally. Your book is not your baby, but it IS a part of you. Put on your armor and ignore the negative.
6. Perspective. The very first post on this blog is titled “Writing is NOT All I Know”. It is still my favorite post. I discussed the many hats that I wear in life and realized that writing isn’t all I know. It is not all you know either. You are a person with many talents, likes, dislikes, attributes and facets to your personality. You have friends and family, hobbies and jobs, talents and skills. You ARE a writer, but you are NOT only a writer.
7. Support. You cannot do this alone. I don’t care if your Superman mixed with Buffy, it won’t work without help. If friends and family don’t support your writing career (or even if they do), there are wonderful groups of writers willing, ready, and able to see you through. You can find them in professional organizations, writers’ forums, blogging circles, and even on Twitter chats. Don’t be afraid to reach out. These are people like you.
8. Balance. Read through this list again. Frightened? Don’t be, because the key ingredient in your Writer Recipe is balance. There will be days you do not write. You will lose patience and confidence. You will be arrogant when humility would have served you better. You will lose your nerves-of-steel and doubt. You will lose perspective. You will do all of these things because you’re a writer AND human. The way to work back from any of these trappings is easy, it just requires...balance.
How have you balanced each of these “writer needs” in your life? What can we add to this list?

10 comments :

  1. Love the post! I would also add perseverance and discipline but they are kind of a part of the other points you made above.

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  2. So true, on all counts! Especially when it comes to writing, stop procastinating!

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    1. Procrastination is the death of the writer.

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  3. This was excellent post, Tina. I had to share it!

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  4. #2 is a big one for me right now. It's been 7 weeks since I submitted the first 50 pages to the publisher I pitched to and I have been great with it until this week. I just want to hear something.

    Great post, lady!

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    1. Oh Sabrina, I know that feeling so well. Hang tight and fingers crossed for you!

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  5. Great post! New follower via GFC. I found you on twitter. As for adding anything, I think you've got it pretty well covered. I especially love the pictures. They illustrate your points so well! (And they're cute to boot! :D) See ya round the blogosphere!

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    1. Thanks for following and your comment! :D

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