Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Writers: A Different Breed

The other day I had a neighbor call me asking about writing advice. Apparently she's been keeping a series of picture books to herself and wondering how on earth to get them published. I proceeded to explain to her about agents, small presses, self-publishing, and Query letters.

When we hung up, I laughed to myself thinking about what a strange breed we writers are. I'm sure my neighbor's head was spinning. The next day I sent her 20 billion websites to look up in hopes of helping her further. It hit me then how much work this writing thing really is.



It's not like I haven't had this revelation before, but this time it really stuck with me. I wrote a picture book once (ages ago) thinking it would be no big thing. I let one person read it before I realized that it was a big thing.

A lot of you reading this have pushed on even though you know what it takes to get a book published. I spend time every single day doing something writing related. My husband once related it to a high powered corporate position with no pay, and I couldn't help but agree.

Does this mean I'm going to let the dream die? Never! Writing is about so much more than just getting published, it's about improving myself as a person and living my life knowing I tried to make something of it.

There's a power to following your dreams, whether or not you succeed.

23 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You'll emerge on the other side in a far better position because you learned so much up front! Trust me, nothing like learning about social media and promoting a book AFTER signing a book deal.

Julie Luek said...

This post made me nod my head with vigorous agreement. It's hard to tell a non-writer I spend 8-9 hour days writing, have very little published and have earned even less. They don't understand why I write and publish what I can, even if it's for no pay because I'm trying to establish a name for myself and build a recognizable platform. And that, no, I wouldn't do anything else and feel blessed that I CAN pursue this right now in my life. We are a different breed...

Ava Jae said...

Your husband is completely right--until you get published (self publishing or traditional), writing is a lot of work without pay. There's a reason those in it for the money often don't last very long.

Jessie Humphries said...

Here, here. I have been totally existential lately, wondering why I do this writing thing when I could be getting paid if I chose to spend my time on something else. But whatev. I'm in it to win it!

Donna K. Weaver said...

I much prefer Adam Heine's way of equating it to going to college. It was an awesome post

http://weavingataleortwo.blogspot.com/2011/01/this-writing-thing-is-it-waste-of-time.html

Mark Noce said...

Lol, great diagram...eerily true;)

Rena said...

I loved the throwing things. I never used to throw books...and then I started reading books on how to write books. EEEERRRGGHH! Sometime I love them and they're my personal ambrosia, and then other times, I'm like "But I already do that! How can you say that's the wrong way!" ::throws book in disgust::

yeah, never used to throw books.

Gwen Gardner said...

You gotta love what you do, that's for sure. Self-employed author sounds great, but it might not come with the equivalent pay, lol!

L.G. Smith said...

Yeah, well said. Takes a level of commitment to do the writing thing that goes well beyond being compensated by money.

Nicole said...

Love the chart too. Ane, yes, we'll just keep pushing on!

Carrie-Anne said...

I've had a lot more writing time since I seriously cut down on Facebook and other online gaming. Last year I finally belatedly transferred all my stuff from my eMac to this computer, which included Ideal Solitaire, but so far I've been very good and haven't played nearly as many Solitaire games as I used to years ago. Somehow I still managed to get a lot of writing done in my years of wasting countless hours with Solitaire and Tetris.

My ex-"fiancé" doesn't understand that writing needs focus and concentration, and it takes so much momentum away if someone calls you or hits you up for Facebook chat. That's not very constructive or conducive to the writing process.

Anonymous said...

I love this post and the chart! :) Thanks for sharing.

Al Diaz said...

A lot of time devoted in writing. One must have a deeper reason than the money. I agree with the thought that those who do it looking for money will soon abandon it. All this work, all this effort, comes from a different motivation.

Suzanne Furness said...

We can't do it for the money, it's a love thing!

Adriana Dascalu said...

Everybody dreaming at publishing had experienced that at least once. You are right that until you publish something you are not completely satisfied. I've been writing poetry for for over 10 years and only recently started thinking about publishing it. Only the thought that I should publish made me feel better.

I should be above the clouds after the actual publishing!

michelle said...

Money is the furthest thing from my mind... I love writing!

Nick Wilford said...

You could make money doing lots of different things but my aim is to move people and leave a body of work that will (hopefully) live on... can't put a price on that!

Angie said...

I love the red section on the diagram dedicated to throwing things :) Awesome post and a wonderful reminder that writing is an act of love.

ilima said...

Writers are crazy for sure. But poor starving artists usually are...it makes for the best product in the end. :)

JEFritz said...

The pie graph looks about right...

Poor newbie writer. I hope she sticks with it. It really is fun once you wrap your head around how big it is.

Krista McLaughlin said...

I would have to say that pie graph looks very accurate. I spend too much time distracted instead of... I need to fold my laundry. :)

It's true how different writing sounds to people on the outside. We writers are kinda crazy to keep doing this, but publication is the dream we all won't give up. :)

Julie Daines said...

So true. I think that's why I love going to writers conferences, for a few hours, I'm surrounded by people who actually get it.

Lexa Cain said...

It IS exhausting, isn't it? But I don't want to let the dream die either. Although I admit my dream is cooling off a bit as time goes on and I realize I'm not really getting anywhere despite a lot of effort...