Sunday, September 7, 2008

Writing is for everyone

I am often known for being pretty blunt when it comes to writing. I believe that for a person to improve, they need the motivation to write, but more importantly, they need to be told the truth about their writing. Now with that said, I always try to provide some sort of suggestion with that critique, but the point is, the truth must be told.

Unfortunately, the result of that is often a gloom and doom scenario, especially in the area of publishing. I really have to say that a lot of writers walk around with blinders on in the hopes to "ignore" all of that bad news, or to simply try to find a way to manipulate that information into something that makes them feel better.

The truth is publishing is hard. Publishing is tough. Publishing is not a place that everyone will succeed. In fact, the odds are really against many writers of ever seeing their works published.


Writing IS for everyone. There are very few activites out there that I honestly can say everyone can do and everyone can benefit from. We might not all be able to get the to gym or play a sport. Due to physical issues, we might not be able to do certain crafts. In some cases of art, our eye sight may play a role. But with writing, everyone can do it.

Writing is about self-exploration and creativity. It is about sharing the human experience with those we care about. This is our way to tell "our" story. To add to these benefits, writing is one of those few activities out there that have a ton of support networks to help, to guide, to share and to learn from. We get so much more from these groups than simply finding a critique group or taking the next step toward being published. It is that social aspect of things. To connect with someone other than the characters on our computer.

It is important to always keep that in perspective. You do not have to be published to be a writer. You don't have to be on the NY Times Best seller list to be successful. You can simply be a writer. Enjoy it for what it is and stick to that.


  1. Hey Scott, it's a thankless job but someone has to do it, yes? Well, as the man said, "if you have to choose between being respected and being liked, you to choose being respected. Being respected may or may not lead to being liked, but I can tell you that settling only for "like," will leave you in the position of snow in the spring. In a twinkling it's gone baby, gone.
    So, you are presently the one voice we CAN count on to tell some truths. Please don't stop-the stakes are too high.
    And for some light humor, go to the Jennifer Jackson agent site, on the Donald Maass agency site, and dial in the two funny"what I don't need to know in a query" lists.
    Quotes from "positive " rejection slips? That you are currently mentally ill? That you promise the enclosed MS will sell millions of copies?
    They don'y call it the human circus for nothing.
    If you have a strong stomach you can also visit the "Show Me The Money" list on the Karen Fox site, and learn what one might expect to earn after sapending 1-3 years on a book, as do the serious writers whose work might actually last a while.
    Back to The Trail.

  2. LOL, upbeat post! Too bad most writers have a zany urge to be publsihed :-) It fuels the discontent.
    But this was a very true post. Also, praise is wonderful but blunt truth is more helpful.

  3. Yow! Sometimes the planets do align perfectly. Writers of historicals take note; the Donald Maass agency has posted their fall list of plotlines for which they are looking. and this month's subject is...yes! historicals.
    I do not know how far into the historical romance market they are willing to dive, but they sent an agent to the SF conference, so it would seem they are quite open to that genre. I've seen many complaints on the internet from readers who bought "a romance disguised as a historical," and am trying to decide how one can honor real events, and not submerge them in silly season gyneocolgical grappling. It's important to respect the history, and also much more difficult, I believe, to market a book that is not centered entirely on the romance itself. Any ideas? My impression is that they wil speak to you based on a plot workup, and you do not need to have written an entire book in order to speak with them. Readers of history have about five potential books a day flow through their minds, so this would all take a lot of time to cover in book form. Stay tuned.

  4. At the risk of seeming truly ignorant, is "silly season gyneocolgical grappling" a code for historical romance?

    For every person complaining on the internet that they bought a romance disguised as a historical, there are a thousand readers buying said books. In addition, it's quite possible to honor real events, and real people, and to make history a framework for grappling. (Oh, and our ancestors grappled, too, else we wouldn't be here.)

  5. I am truly grappling with this issue every dat as I write my own book. What seems really sensual to me? The long scene near the end of "The Last Samurai" in which Taka slowly undresses Tom Cruise, and nothing more, or the lovely sensual passages in the first two Draikon books written by Shana Abe, who really understands that less is more when it comes to sex. But I am only one writer, grappling away, and only know that many of the passages in "erotica" quickly leave me wondering where I left that box of latex gloves. Isn't that vet here yet? Too much time spent with large animals, perhaps. Let us all flounder on. What else can one do?

  6. It's incredibly easy to write a sex scene. It's damn difficult to write a love scene.