Monday, April 13, 2009

So, you want to be a writer, eh?

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people say they want to be a writer. You know, in that wistful, far-off look that says they wish they could, but you know they never will. Why? Because, they don’t really want it. It’s just a thought to them, not a real dream. If they really want it, they would be out there doing what we’re doing right now, working for it.

Becoming a writer is not an easy job. It takes a lot of hard work. We write and write and write, and then, we still have to go back and redo it. It’s never good on the first try, at least not for me and most writers I know. We revise it multiple times before we’re even ready to send it out to a publisher. If we’re lucky enough to get an acceptance, there are even more revisions after the sale.

Most of the time, we’re doing this after working our day jobs, or in some cases, night jobs. :D We’re tired, yet driven to finish this book or those edits. We get up an hour early just to get in writing time. Or, we stay up an hour or two later, getting by on less sleep, because we have to if we want to keep writing. Sometimes, family time gets missed because we need to get another thousand words before bedtime. Does this sound familiar?

It all depends on how bad you want it. What are you willing to give up in order to reach your dream. Sleep? Family time? Cleaning house? (One of my favorites to forgo) But, one of these days, that will pay off. If you’re really willing to work at it, you can make a living writing.

It’s not easy, and you will probably never make it rich, but it is possible. It goes for any dream. If you want it bad enough, you can achieve it. This is my motto in life. I teach that to my daughter. I tell my mother all the time, she’s a lot more pessimistic than I am. But, I believe it to be true. There isn’t anything in life you can’t accomplish if you set your mind to it.

What do you think? Do you agree with me, or do you think I’m full of crap? Don’t worry, it won’t upset me if you disagree. ;-) Leave a comment and let me know how you feel about it. I’d love to hear your ideas.


Margay said...

Sierra, I totally agree. I think for some people, they are enamored of the idea of writing a book in the same way that others are of falling in love and getting married. As long as they just dream about it, they don't realize the effort you have to put into it. I also think some people would like to believe that writers live a glamorous life with multiple cars, a huge mansion, and servants at their beck and call. Would be nice, but for most of us, so untrue. I live in a two bedroom apartment with two daughters, two cats, three fish and one car that's almost as old as my youngest. I do all of the housework, my older daughter has a part time job, and we often struggle to make ends meet. I am not a glamorous writer, just a determined one. I write because I am driven to, because it is my passion, not because I believe it will make me rich one day. But if it does, I will gladly eat these words.

But for all of those would-be writers who are reading this, don't let my words deter you if you are truly passionate about the idea of writing. If it's something you have to do and not some sepia-toned, ambiguous dream, then go for it, carve out that time, let the dishes wait until morning, and write until your demonic muse tells you it's okay to take a break. And then write some more. Good luck! It's a heck of a journey, but a rewarding one. Kind of like motherhood.

Margay Leah Justice

Carrie said...

Hey Sierra,

I have to agree with you. There are some people who say they want to be a writer because they have some glorified idea of what it is to be a writer (ala the first episode of the ABC TV series Castle in which he has a lot of fanfair with the release of his book).

I also think that some people have that wistful air about them because they wish they had something worth writing about such as the great American novel or are just plain bored with the life they currently have and need a change.

That aside, I do believe that anything is possible if you want it bad enough. However, setting your mind to it isn't always enough, but your heart has to be in it to really succeed. Sure, if your mind's set on it, you'll keep trying and never give up, however, if the heart isn't there, success may never happen (e.g. getting published).

That's my opinion anyway. Nice blog Sierra!

Sierra Wolfe said...

Thanks for the comments! You're so right, Carrie. You're heart does have to be in it. I guess I just figured if you were that willing, it would be, LOL. But, I never considered that fact that maybe it wouldn't be. We're all different people, so I'm sure there are people out there that are determined for reasons other than passion. You've really made me think about it, thanks!

Carrie said...

I guess it came from experience. I wanted to be an engineer at one point in time, or at least I thought I did. It took me awhile to realize that I had the brains, just not the heart.

Mark Alders said...

Right on!!!!



Tierney O'Malley said...

Ha! I composed my comment this morning and sent it. Well, it must have been the migraine, but my comment is not here. Let's see if I can recall what I wrote.
Two nights in a row now, I've been writing inside our walk-in closet. My table is the ironing board. LOL Yeah, my husband laughed at me too. You see, I like to work late at night when the critters are all abed. But lately, I've been having a scaredyness attack so I didn't want to work in my little work area because its on the other side of the house. Now, why am I sharing this? To answer Sierra's question. How bad do I want to become a writer? Bad enough to cocoon myself inside the closet.
Writing is not all about penning a story. You want it? You have to work hard to make it.
"Oh, but I have family and work," you say. Well, find ways to make it. You know, my first book To Trust a Wicked Man? (now available at Fictionwise *sneaky promo*) I wrote it in paper. Yup, it was before my husband took pity and gave me my laptop. I wrote the story while waiting for my kids from either tennis, golf, violin or dance. I'd wait outside and write using my pencil and a notebook. Now, I am not trying to tell you how great I am because I am not. I just want to show you how bad and determine I am to see my book published.
TO get from here to there, you must make a move.


Ryan Sherwood said...

Failure builds the bridge to success, presistence keeps it erect and luck lets you cross it. It's impossible to disagree with your comments, hard and smart work should get people where they want/need to be. Hopefully.
Time and timing sure helps too. I actually had written you years ago for representation, in my younger days, and, in a way, yours and every other agent's rejection had me pressing much harder to perfect my style and stories. So, in a way, thank you...depending on the day :)
A down side, besides the endless hours, is some (though it seems many) agents seem not to read unsolicited queries and manuscripts. Almost like striving authors need an agent to get an agent to get a house to look at their book. True? Partially true? A good way to cut through the wannabes?
I'm curious...

Ryan Sherwood said...

My apologies, when I stated 'you' I was addressing Lori Perkins. I've got to stop posting right before bed!

Sierra Wolfe said...

LOL Ryan, I was getting ready to ask who the agent was you were talking about. I'm certainly not qualified to answer that question for you. Good luck with your writing!

Thank you everyone for the comments and thoughts on my post today!

Dana Fredsti said...

I'm pretty much in total agreement with your assessment here. The one thing I CAN'T give up in order to write, unfortunately, is house cleaning. I can't write when my surroundings aren't orderly. My mom claims it's our Germanic background...

Alisha Paige said...

Great post, Sierra! I'm like Dana. I have to have my house in some kind of order but I've learned to not flip out at the small things. I have three kids, 12, 4 and 1 so my life is chaotic sometimes but as long as it's clean, I can deal with stuff like toys and such. I want to share something I've discovered about myself and my writing habits and have found out it's true for some of my author friends as well. I usually write in big giant bursts. I wrote five novels in two years and took a big break when my youngest baby was born. I was just overwhelmed and concentrated more on promo than anything. I actually wrote 3 novellas after his birth but no full lengths yet. I'm doing good to get 1000 words five days a week but if I only get that three days, I'm okay because I know these years are precious with my little ones. I used to stay up and write all night but I can't do it as often as I used to. I'm tired! Seriously tired. My 12 year old is very involved in band and Girl Scouts and then my little ones keep me so busy too. I have to remind myself I'm a mommy and a wife first but I can always write when I feel like it. The important thing is, I know I have it in me and can bust out a novel in three months if I have to. I've proved it to myself and became very depressed after the birth of my son when I wasn't producing as much. I discussed this with author friends and many go through the same thing. Bursts of writing and bursts of everyday life. As long as I fit them both in somewhere, I'm a happy camper!

Sierra Wolfe said...

You are not alone, Alisha. I write in bursts, too. Last year, I wrote a novella and a book in a month. After that, I couldn't write anything for several months. I don't know why the muse wants to play with me like that, but seems to be how it is. Definitely enjoy those kids while you can. They grow up way too fast. *Sigh*

I definitely wouldn't let my writing get in the way of all my family time. I have given up watching a movie occasionally or something like that, but family will always come first. Luckily, my daughter is older now, so she doesn't need my time as much as she did when she was younger. We're still very close, though.

LOL, Dana. I HATE cleaning. It's like the bane of my existence. If I ever strike it rich, I'll be hiring a maid. She'll be my best friend in the world. I'll shower her with gifts, just for taking over my most hated job. Ahhh, the dream.

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