Sunday, January 6, 2013

Writer: It's a State of Mind

Writing a novel is hard work.  I never thought writing was easy, except for academic papers.  Those?  They're easy because it's straight-forward.  You have your plot, premise, thesis, points -- all of these things are laid out in a specific format that you have to follow.  Your instructor tells you which format to use -- Turabian, APA, Chicago, MLA, etc.

These formats are rigid and well-defined.  You simply put your topic (chosen generally by your professor) into the format.  Your biggest job?  To research and ensure that the details you enter into the said aforementioned topic are in line with the class, the instructor's preferred style and of course, make sure you do not plagarize others.

Writing a novel?  Much harder.  No one gives you the idea.  No one has a specific format for you to use (unless you're doing genre work which has very specific rules about how to do things including pacing), and there's no one there to give you guidance as to how it's coming along as you write. (Unless you're part of a robust writing group.)

Writing a novel is hard work.  You have to ensure that you keep yourself on target.  Make your own goals and KEEP to them!  Create your own tracking method for assessing your progress.  Toot your own horn when you meet goals.

You have to find others who have forged the path ahead of you and take heart and guidance from their leads.  One of my favorite quotes is this...

"Authors don't just write with no endpoint, they finish books, submit them, get rejected or accepted, and write some more." - Samantha Hunter, 2008 RITA finalist

I read this quote every day.  It motivates me to be a writer.   To me, being a writer is not just saying I've finished one complete book of over 70K words and have three others in the works.  Being a writer is realizing that these works-in-progress were the fledgling steps taken to get onto the path of being a writer.  Those works were not my work.  They were the baby steps taken to get me to the stage of walking and then on to running.

It is foolishness to think that just because you put words to a page that you are a writer.  It is foolishness to say that just because you have published that you are a writer.  You are a WRITER when you decide you are a WRITER.  It is your personal perspective that matters most.

Therefore, you are a writer even if you have not put words on the page as yet.  If you are still in the planning stages.  If you have notebooks with scribblings in them.  If you decide you are a writer then you ARE.

This is why writing is such hard work.  It takes place even before you put pen to page, fingers to keyboard.  Being a writer is a state of mind.

I love writing.  It's what I think I was born to do.  I'm middle-aged, have not had a book traditionally published but I feel it in my bones.  I am a writerI exist because I write.  I write to exist.

Okay. Done ranting now.


  1. Yes to all of this! The first few times I told people I was a writer, I stumbled on the words. I hadn't fully owned the role yet. Now I say it and like you said above, I feel it down to my bones.

  2. I feel an AMEN coming on! I love this writing role. It is so liberating. Happy New Year Robyn! Thanks for the comment!!