Saturday, February 13

So You Want to be a Writer

So, you’ve decided you want to write a book.  You sit down in front of your lap-top and you pound away at the keys.  Oh God, you’re a genius!  The words just pour out of you.  Your hero is the perfect man.  Your heroine is the perfect woman.  Their story is hot, romantic, and compelling.  After a few months of blood, sweat, and tears, you type ‘The End.’

     Your friends and family read it and tell you how good it is.  Someone tells you about RWA and you join.  You get word of the Golden Heart and you send your masterpiece in.  As you anxiously wait for your perfect scores, you join a few writing loops and discover critique groups.  You’re warned about having a thick skin, but you don’t need one.  Your work is perfect. You send in chapter one, and wait for the shining admiration of the group.

     The first one comes in.   They hate it.  They tell you to throw the whole thing in the garbage and start over.  But hey, what do they know?  They don’t know great work when they see it.  The second critique comes in and it’s worse than the first. Then the third, and the fourth.  You start seeing phrases you’ve never heard of.  Showing vs. telling, word repetition, head-hopping.  You go back to your writer’s loop and ask about these mysterious phrases, and that’s when you get the wind knocked out of your sails.

     Rules.  Writing has rules.  You go back to your masterpiece and realize you broke every one of them on page one.  

     But you still want to write.  You attend a few workshops.  You learn about the rules, learn that you can even break some of them. You want to slap yourself when you re-read your first manuscript.  Did you really write about your hero’s throbbing manhood?

      You realize that writing even a mediocre novel isn’t easy, and that writing is work.  But you still want to do it.  You develop the thick skin.  You know there’s always room for improvement.  You even learn to give a few critiques yourself.

     Months go by and you’ve grown as a writer, but you know you still have a way to go.  You know there are no guarantees.  You will get rejections and not every chapter will be great.  Humility is your middle name.  You are now a writer.  Unpubbed, but still a writer.  And you will never forget your journey.  Especially since your Golden Heart scores just arrived in the mail.    

 Shawn Daltonsmith


  1. Nice, Shawn, and I'll bet we've all felt that way. At least for a while.

  2. been there done that.

    hey wait, i'm STILL doing that!!!


  3. I think we've all felt that way..
    Still do when I send something new
    to the CPA!

  4. Good blog, Shawn. So true of what I've gone through, and like others have said, still do. There are definitely no guarantees in writing, but it's a journey worth taking.

  5. I agree that the journey is worth taking. Not only has this journey given me a whole new respect for writers, it's made me realize that I'm stronger than I thought. I also found out I'm very good a procrastination.

  6. Nice blog, Shawn. Some wicked truths in those words.

  7. So did you leave in the 'throbbing manhood' to be ironic, or delete it entirely?

  8. Christi
    The throbbing manhood got the ax:)

  9. Not sure where to post this but I wanted to ask if anyone has heard of National Clicks?

    Can someone help me find it?

    Overheard some co-workers talking about it all week but didn't have time to ask so I thought I would post it here to see if someone could help me out.

    Seems to be getting alot of buzz right now.