Original Image Credit: Engin_Akyurt/Pixabay
Recently, a friend mentioned that she was thinking about writing—as in pursuing it as a career.
“I mean, how hard can it be, right? I like reading books and I’ve always wanted to write one. I believe I can do it.”
Should I tell her? Should I prick that golden bubble of innocence with a cold, hard dose of truth?
I knew by the stars in her eyes she envisioned something far different from the nitty-gritty, day in, day out, nuts and bolts thing we know as writing.
“And I know it’ll take work, but I don’t mind work.”
The more she talked about the written word, the more animated she grew.
As it so often goes with conversations like this, my friend went on for several minutes, espousing her lifelong wish to pen the novels of her heart.
“Sounds like the writing bug’s bit you, for sure.” I remembered those feelings.
And then I remembered others. The bittersweet ones that are tough to swallow, but necessary in the learning curve.
I tempered my thoughts with some polite niceties, but then my friend pressed.
“Okay, Cindy. Tell me. What are you not saying? What’s something I should know about the writing life?”
“It’s a unique calling…”
“No buts. That has a negative connotation. Let’s say and. And writing’s something that will always matter.”
Here are 10 more things I eventually told my friend about the writing life.
1. Writing will consume you. You’ll learn to juggle your passion through trial and error. There’s no shortcut around experience.
2. Writing will test your mettle. Emotionally. Physically. Spiritually. Professionally. Rise above pettiness. Seek wise counsel. Stay the course.
3. Writing will challenge your comfort zones. Expect it. Accept it. You’ll write best beyond those zones.
4. You won’t always love writing. Some days you may hate it. Don’t worry. That will pass. If it doesn’t, rethink writing.
5. Writing with publication as your goal demands time. Sometimes lots of it. Months. Years.
6. Writing is lonely sometimes. Align your troops—those go-to souls who get your art.
7. Realize writing is a different medium. One size doesn’t fit all. In fact, the writing life rarely makes sense to those who don’t live it.
8. Writing is an honorable calling. When naysayers tell you otherwise (and they will), remember who you’re writing for.
9. Writing will shred your self-confidence. God will restore it.
10. The writing life will change you. You won’t live with what if. You’ll write it.
Melissa Tagg once said this and I asked permission to quote her.
“It’s so true that writing is a lot of work. It takes research and dedication and so much stubbornness it’s not even funny. But man…it is also soooo fun and so filled with magical moments. And there’s a divine mystery to it. Because for all the craft books and classes and conferences that help us grow as writers, we can’t force those perfect nights when the story starts telling itself…the characters start breathing…and the plot comes alive. That’s when I know there’s something more than my own brain at work. That’s when I know I’m not doing this storytelling thing alone.”
*This post first appeared on my blog.
What have you discovered about the writing life?
Does your current career path align with your heart’s desire?
If not, what steps are you taking to correct that?
Cynthia writes Heartfelt, Homespun Fiction from the beautiful Ozark Mountains. A hopeless romantic at heart, she enjoys penning stories about ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances.
“Cindy” has a degree in psychology and a background in social work. She is a member of ACFW, ACFW MozArks, and RWA.
Cindy loves to connect with friends at: http://www.authorcynthiaherron.com/
She also hangs out here:
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21 Replies to “10 Things You Should Know About the Writing Life”
Terrific post. Writing is the most challenging and satisfying hard work I have ever known. I admire people who have balance in their writing life. If I can get in 1K words and prayer time, I call it a good day.
BALANCE. That word – yes! And isn’t it the truth?! You do a fantastic job, Tina. In fact, I’m amazed at what you achieve in a day. (…Because you are far too modest.)
I have found all those points to be true as I pursue publication of a novel. Great post!
Thank you! I think it always helps to approach the elephant in the room. When we recognize hardships and challenges met along the path, I think it encourages others, too.
Great post, Cynthia! And wonderful encouragement. 🙂
Jan, thanks so much! Encouragement is what sustains us on this road.
Yep, I’ve experienced most of this. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and advice, Cynthia. Wonderful post!
Laura, so wonderful to “see” you here! As an RWA Golden Heart finalist and an ACFW Genesis winner, you’ve definitely nailed the perseverance part. Well done, my friend!
Excellent post, Cynthia! This is so true about the writing life. Thank you for your wisdom!
So hard, and yet…it IS a calling, isn’t it, my friend? (I think I have #9 down.)
Fantastic post! You have nailed what writing is about. As to your friend, I love how encouraging you were with your points. I also think there are some of those hard lessons you have to learn on your own, things you might not believe if someone else just told you. This journey called writing is a tough one and demands all we have, but as to rewards (non-monetary of course), it’s hard to beat. Such wisdom in your words. I think I’ll save Melissa’s quote too. Thanks for sharing with us!
Delighted to share, Cindy. Writers navigate the same path, albeit at a different pace, perhaps. A little encouragement goes a long way! Yes, Melissa’s quotes is one of my absolute FAVES.
Great post, Cynthia. It will certainly test your mettle. Great list. I love the part about God restoring our self-confidence.
That’s my favorite because it’s so true. Thanks, for stopping by, Jackie!
Such wise words, Cynthia! Numbers 6, 8, and 9 are the ones I battle the most. But remembering Who we write for if the important piece and it took me too many years to learn it. Finding our fellow “tribe” or sojourners is so important too. Thanks for these reminders!
OH, Laurie – Yes, so important to connect with our “tribe.” As writers, we all hope for those cheerleaders who will encourage and nudge us onward. Thanks for dropping by!
Excellent points, Cynthia! Numbers seven and eight speak to me. Having fellowship with others who understand the writing life….and know why we write…priceless treasures. Thank you for your post!
I like that word “fellowship,” Sherida. Fellow writers and supporters of our art are the best encouragers. I’ve had many along the way. Thanks so much for chiming in!
Cynthia, fantastic post! I especially love #6….align those troops! I do a lot of talking to myself too 🙂
So glad you stopped by, Sharee! And in regard to talking to yourself– whatever works, my friend! Positive reinforcement goes a long way.
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