Sunday, May 8, 2011

Am I A Real Writer?: Doing what you love

I've received lots of writing advice over the years a lot of it sought out but even more of it unasked for. Sometimes I wonder if I'm any better. There are a lot of romantic notions tied to the writing life when the truth of it is it's just a lot of hard work.

Doing what you love sometimes comes at a high price. At least if you desire to become successful at it and if you're sitting there reading this asking yourself Am I A Real Writer? Here's the only thing you really need to know in order to answer that question: Are you above all else compelled to write? If you are chances are you're a writer.

No if you're asking me is it easy to become a successful writer, well that's another question and a much more nebulous question at that. What do you mean by successful? Contracted? Published? Best Selling? Agented? If you need any of these things to validate you, well be prepared to bust your ass because none of them are guaranteed. Let's break these things down.

Contracted: The definition of contracted hasn't changed. But what goes in that contract and who contracts you has. The e-reader has changed the game so the Big Six doesn't hold the keys it once did. There are e-publishers out there looking for product--it still has to be high quality but if you want to be established in the contracted world there are places to do it. The home for my two contracted works Another Way To Die and No Ordinary Love is MuseItUp Publishing http://museituppublishing.com/. You can find other e-publishers at http://epic.org/. (Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition)

Published: There are lots of avenues open to the writer with Kindle, Smashwords, ect. self publishing is a perfectly legit option. Just make sure you have quality cover art, formatting, editing, and good writing in place and do so with caution. But don't let anyone tell you it makes you less of a published author--because it doesn't. Of course you can still go traditional and e-house. I'm striking a balance between the two.

Agented: The role of the agent is changing. I'm not an expert in this area. I recommend seeing Bob Mayer and J.A. Konrath for advice.

Best Selling? Total crapshoot. That all falls to what writers dread--self promotion. I'm going to tell you what one writer told me I needed- Email Loops, Twitter, FB, Blog, and a Website at the very least. But more than anything you need to write your ass off.

So what makes you a real writer? You write. You don't bitch you don't moan and you certainly don't give yourself any excuses not to write. And certainly don't do it around me. If you want tea and sympathy go to your friends and family. I am here to tell you becoming a successful writer takes everything you've got and then some and it is not for a second guaranteed. Easy for me to say right? I have contracted work. NOT easy. I write and promote most of my days. I'm single. And social settings aren't my strong suit. Promotion is HARD. Those contracts did not come overnight. It's blood sweat and tears and most of the time there isn't someone you love saying way to go or as excited as you.

So if you're a writer, write. Because in the end if you're a writer it's what defines you and you are driven to do it.

12 comments:

alanarose said...

I completely agree about the writing. Wanne be a real writer, then write. Once you're contracted, keep writing. It never stops. When you do stop, then you're no longer a writer...Rachel Firasek

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Great post, Amy. Straight to the point and good advice.

Jenna Storm said...

Fantastic post! It's so true...you have to love writing because instant gratification as in contracts, financial gain just doesn't happen. The gratification is knowing you're creating a world filled with obstacles, conflicts, happiness and sadness for characters that you envisioned. A world you hope intrigues readers.

Nan D Arnold said...

Good points, all. Personally, what makes me feel like a pro writer is a contract and a royalty check. And, I find taking time off to refresh works for me.

Rebecca said...

Great post! Every time I try to take a small break from writing (just to recharge)...I end up drafting a chapter of a new book--just for fun. :) Writers...write.

Have a great one!

Janet Glaser said...

Crazy idea to stop writing. It nags at you with ideas in the shower, doing dishes, walking around the block, even while sitting in the church pew for heaven's sake...er...writing's sake. Writers can't stop writing or stop conjuring up the next story.

Marie Andreas said...

GREAT blog- and the last line says it all :). It's taken me a while to become comfortable in my "writer" skin, almost as if I'm lying to someone. But I'm not. I write, therefore I am a writer :)- "Read" me roar ;).

lionmother said...

I didn't decide to become a writer, writing decided it for me. I didn't realize I was a writer for a long time. When you can do something and it comes easily to you there is never that feeling that you are different. Instead you figure everyone can write at the drop of a hat or everyone can write a complete story. Yet this is not the case and many people are in awe of a writer. When you are a published author there is even more awe for them. I didn't think it possible, but it is still there. When you realize you can do something other people can't, that's when you realize you are a writer. I knew it when I fit into a group of published authors easily and felt more at home with them than any other group. You know you're a writer when you have just discussed the different kinds of fonts with a group of writers at a bar.:)

Great post, Amy.

Shelley Munro said...

Good post, Amy. Writers write. For me it's that simple. Some times we might wonder why we put ourselves through the stress and knockbacks, but we keep going regardless.

Kay Dee Royal said...

Amy - spot on! I quit working in the corporate world to do what I love - and to succeed at it takes as much or greater time and energy as what I had left...only, I absolutely love what I do. It comes with the same or more sacrifices also - it takes TIME.
BUTT IN SEAT MAKES IT HAPPEN.
Thanks for sharing Amy.

Heather Haven said...

Great post, Amy. Like BarbaraE, I didn't choose writing, it chose me. However, We are part of a wonderful, diverse, and elite group of people. To name but a few, James Joyce, Agatha Christie, Isaac Asimov, Shakespeare, Jane Austin, Earnest Hemingway, Joyce Carol Oates, etc. I mean, come on! Can it get any better than that?

Viviane Brentanos said...

great post and I agree with all the points you make.