Three Things to Look For in a Writing Partner

Pyewacket, my muse, but not my partner.

On my other blog today I posted about Pyewacket, my cat, who thinks she’s my writing partner. I am not sure whether she is a partner since she doesn’t always hang out and when she does, she often provides more distraction than assistance. But, she also provides inspiration, and for that I am thankful.

However, I do have a writing partner who is consistently helpful and without whom I would not have made it this far. Twelve books in with another ten set to release this year is a significant accomplishment, and one I won’t reach without her help.

But the truth is, not all writing partners are created equal. In fact, the wrong one can be a detriment to your career in ways that I don’t even want to think about. So, what should one look for in a writing partner?

  1. Encouraging, but honest: Writing partners often exchange pages on a regular basis, offering one another assistance with plot, characterization, level of conflict, pacing and more. Obviously, a partner who has nothing but good to say of your work is encouraging, but as no work is perfect, praise alone is not helpful. A competent writing partner knows this and seeks to assist you in making your writing the best it can be with dispassionate, thoughtful, constructive criticism.
  2. Ability that equals or exceeds your own: An experienced author with a high level of natural talent can mentor a less experienced and/or less able writer, but will find true partnership difficult. Why? Because a partnership is a collaboration between equals. You must be able to trust the advice they give you, just as they must be able to trust yours. Mentorship is equally valuable and can provide benefits to both sides, but it is not a partnership.
  3. Commitment to your success without envy: We say that “a rising tide lifts all boats,” but many do not act as if this is true. Jealous, dog-in-the-manger attitudes sabotage any partnership, let alone one founded in creativity. Partners cheer each other’s success and contribute to it, when they can, as if it were their own. There is no place here for narcissism.

The key to this type of partnership is that it is reciprocal. Whatever you look for in a partner, you must be prepared to provide in return. The right team can push each other to do great things, and support one another when those great things sometimes turn out to be harder to reach than anticipated.

My writing partner is consistently encouraging, unfailingly honest, highly talented and willing to help me succeed regardless of whether the help she gives me benefits her in return. One of my high-priority goals is to return the favor.

Find someone who fills that role for you. Your writing will be better for it, and so will your life.

Raising Your Visibility

We’ve all been there, right?

We want to write good books with unforgettable characters and immersive plots. We want to publish a book worthy of the bestseller list. To that end, we take classes, go to writer’s groups, have our work edited and beta tested to within an inch of its word count. We format and create/purchase a cover and upload.

And then we hit publish.

Crickets shun visibility. You can’t afford to.

And then…


Because it isn’t enough to write a great book. It has to have that magical component, visibility.

Without visibility, we might as well be standing in the forest, yelling into the empty wind. We must raise our books’ visibility, or we aren’t going to sell enough to cover the editing. And if we can’t do that, we may not be able to afford to write for very long.

So, what to do? In thinking it over, I quickly came to the conclusion that no one thing was going to flip the switch for me. So, I decided to do a number of things.

This month, I took part in Bryan Cohen’s 5-Day Amazon Ad Challenge. It was a good course and I learned a lot. Unfortunately, it hasn’t (so far) translated into much in the way of dollars and cents. That doesn’t mean it was a waste of time. Going forward, I’ll continue to implement much of what I learned.

A good street team raises your profile without blowing your budget.

I’ve started a street team group on FB and I’m working on increasing it. Here I’ll ask members to share my posts on launches and sales. I’ll also offer ARCs in exchange for honest reviews, preferably on Amazon, but also on GoodReads and Bookbub.

I’m looking at other ad venues, such as Bookbub, Fussy Librarian and Book Rebel (just heard of that last one, still investigating, so this is not a recommendation, yet.) I’ve done this kind of thing before, with mixed results, but I’m willing to give it another shot. Other people are claiming sales, so it can’t hurt (much) to try. I’m especially interested in Bookbub, since there are a couple of ways to play, and my following there has grown since the last time I tried it.

Alicia Powell’s is one of the best Content Calendars I’ve seen.

I’m standardizing my social media posting routine using a content calendar to make it faster, more consistent and easier to complete in a minimal amount of time. Sociamonials has been a great tool for this and I’ll continue using it.

I’m working toward a more consistent posting schedule both in my blogs and newsletter. Also, I’m using my reader blog as material for my newsletter via links. I’ve created a profile on Story Origin and I’m using it as well as Book Funnel to grow my NL list.

Will any of this work? I don’t know. But these tactics have worked for others and there is no reason I know of that they should not also work for me. The key, unifying element here – the thing I need to do that I wasn’t doing before – is consistency.

What are you doing consistently to raise your profile and increase the visibility of your books?

Professional Development Review: Amazon Ad Profit Challenge

We’ve all seen them. Those ads for “free” courses or products that promise to change your life, improve your profits or make you irresistible to the partner of your choice.

And we have all been disappointed by “seminars” that spend half of their allotted time telling you how much you’re going to learn, one-third explaining why what you’re going to learn is so valuable, two-tenths repeating the statement, “but before I tell you that,” and then give you something you already knew in whatever time they have left, but only after doing their level best to convince you to buy whatever it is they are actually selling.

One free training that does not disappoint.

But Bryan Cohen‘s Free Five-Day Amazon Ad Challenge is different. From day zero, I was learning. (Turns out there are six days rather than five. Day zero being prep work for the remainder of the challenge.)

Author, Podcaster, Coach

On day zero, Bryan does his level best to set you up for success by making sure you have the correct account and other materials you will need to complete the challenge. Day one is spent learning the first type of ad, day two you learn another kind of ad (and here’s where he really took off) and on day three, you learn a third kind of ad. By this point, I’d learned how to easily put together three ads, two of which I had no idea existed before I started the challenge.

There is a pitch for people to sign on for his five-module course, but that doesn’t come until the end of day three after he’s already given participants a healthy helping of value.

I wish now that I had done this blog post earlier in the challenge, but I wanted to be sure of the value before I talked about it. What I can say is that Bryan has an easy, informative style. He isn’t boring, he doesn’t talk over your head, and he doesn’t try to sell you things you don’t need. I’m looking into his books and will report back on what I find. In the meantime, if he does this challenge again, I highly recommend it.

Narrow or Wide? That is the Question.

So, you’ve written a book. It’s been edited the requisite number of times (no one knows what the number is. Roll with me here.) It’s been formatted for both digital and print media. You’ve gotten a cover that seems to be genre-appropriate. You wrote, or paid someone to write, a riveting blurb.

Long story short, the book is ready to go, but you haven’t hit publish yet because… reasons.

Now what?

The next decision you need to make is will you stick with Amazon exclusively, or will you “go wide” from the beginning?

It isn’t necessarily an easy decision.

Amazon offers perks for exclusivity. It is easier to change your pricing for sales and promos if you are exclusive, and some folks say that AOAs (Amazon Only Authors) get preferential placement with Amazon ads. But, Amazon also retains the right to change your prices, and the rules say you can’t place your book anywhere else. Even giving your book away as an ARC on a platform like StoryOrigin or BookFunnel is a no-no. They are very strict about this and disobedience can get you in a lot of trouble with them. And no one wants trouble with Amazon.

Going wide is easier than ever with services like Draft2Digital, where you can publish to a host of platforms, produce a quality product, manage promotions and monitor sales. They even have an Amazon option, though you’ll get a reduced royalty for the double-dip.

Another alternative is to go to each distributor individually. Kobo is especially friendly to indie authors, offering a lot of perks to those who publish with them directly.

Who is your audience and where is the best place to find them?

The biggest thing to think about in all of this is, where is your audience? If the majority of your readers buy exclusively from Amazon, then maybe that’s the spot for you. If you are seeking a wider range of options, an aggregator like Draft2Digital may be ideal.

Both have their perks, but once you’ve chosen a path, changing it can be challenging. If you’ve built an audience on Amazon, for instance, moving them to other platforms will be nearly impossible. Amazon, like all other distributors, does not allow competitor links in their books. So think carefully, and long-term, especially if you plan for this to be the first book among many.

Next, be ready to do the work of promoting and marketing your book. This means placing and monitoring ads, organizing the launch and subsequent signings, etc. Which leads me to Social Media – but that’s next week’s post.

The questions remain: Are you ready? Which will you choose? Wide or Narrow? Let me know in the comments.

Must Haves for the Indie Author, Part Four: The Office

Some writers build a free-standing office in their backyard.

Every writer needs a dedicated space for writing. I have an author friend who converted her walk-in closet to a writing space. Another one partitioned off the corner of her bedroom. Some writers build free-standing offices in their back yards. Writing spaces can be, and are, as individual as the artist in residence. So, what are the mandatory elements of a good writing space?

At its most basic, your office must have a door, adequate heating/cooling/ventilation, and electricity. Everything else is negotiable. I can hear your wheels turning. “The heating/cooling/ventilation and electricity are pretty self-explanatory,” you might say. “But why a door?”

A door is non-negotiable…

A door is non-negotiable because it can be used to stop future negotiations before they start, hence freeing up writing time. A closed door should indicate to others in the household that work is being conducted and the author should not be interrupted for anything short of an emergency. A door provides a visible, physical boundary that, when closed, signals your need for solitude without you having to say it. Doors also block auditory and visual distractions far better than say, a curtain, or a Chinese folding screen. Such items will do in a pinch, but they don’t provide the level of barrier that a closed door affords.

So, we’ve covered the non-negotiables. What are the “it would really help a LOT but I won’t die if I don’t have it. Probably,” items?

A desk that is only used for writing and writing-related business.

Delete distractions by separating your writing space…

It is all too easy, especially in a busy family, for the author’s desk to become the catch-all for everything the author does on a daily basis. Bill paying, list making, calendar filling, mail receiving… the possible additions are endless. And not only do these things take up physical space, they absorb one’s time and attention as well. Their presence in your writing space is a major distraction.

Delete the distraction by separating your writing space from your personal space. I know this may sound counter-intuitive, given the intimate nature of writing. But if you see writing as a business rather than a hobby, it becomes easier to draw that line. As much as possible, keep your writing space exclusive to writing, and you will find it easier to drop into “the zone,” when you sit down there.

A computer

It is true that many people write out their first drafts longhand. No worries there. But unless you are willing to pay for transcription, you’ll need to type up your work at some point. Most, if not all, editors and agents require electronic files rather than printed manuscripts these days. Indie authors use electronic files to send to beta readers, formatters, and to upload to their distribution channels.

Internet access that can be blocked at will.

…that nefarious beast…

Research is made easy by Google and other online search engines and resources. Advertising and other online activities can provide a big boost to your sales. But the internet also houses that nefarious beast, Social Media.

This includes platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, which many writer’s use for their business, but these outlets also possess the power to consume mass quantities of time without one being aware of its passing. “I’m just going to answer this one post,” you might say, and three hours later you look up with your coffee cold and the light gone, and your spouse tapping at the door saying it’s dinner time. And don’t get me started on online games.

There are a number of apps and programs out there that will cheerfully block your access to online distractions for set periods of time. I don’t use any of them, and so I won’t try to recommend any to you. I simply turn off my internet when I don’t want to be disturbed and then turn it back on again when I need it. It’s a cumbersome process but it works for me.

A comfortable chair.

Granted, this is not the chair you are looking for. But it’s still super cool, right?

Writing is a sedentary activity. My best advice is to take frequent stretch breaks and vary your posture regularly. You can encourage yourself in this habit with a walking or standing desk, but this is only a partial solution since standing all the time is just as exhausting as sitting all the time. Mixing it up by allowing for both options is a good practice for anyone who spends a lot of time behind a desk.

However, for the time that you do spend sitting, it really helps to have a chair that doesn’t contribute to the problem by being uncomfortable or ergonomically untenable. Get a chair that is comfortably padded and built with proper posture in mind, and save yourself the aching back, shoulders and hips.

Storage space

Records need to be kept. Supplies need to be stocked. Coffee needs to be brewed. All of this requires storage space. Only you can decide what level of storage is needed for your office, but it is important to have the things you use most close at hand. Having to leave your workspace to acquire paper or printer ink or – heaven help us all – coffee, is distracting and quickly becomes annoying.

These are the five things that leaped to mind when I thought about must-haves for my office. But everyone is different. Did I leave anything out? Are any of the five something you could totally do without? Let me know in the comments.

Must-Haves for the Indie Author, Part Three: Marketing

…marketing is a multi-headed beast.

For many authors, marketing is a multi-headed beast. A necessary, bewildering, ever-changing and confusing evil providing cascades of frustration and angst on a daily basis.

Wait. That might be just me.

In any case, it cannot be denied that marketing is complex and multi-faceted. Anyone lacking several extra pairs of hands is probably going to need assistance. Or at least some books on how to grow them. To make matters worse, the publishing world is changing so fast that what worked this morning may fade in effectiveness by this afternoon.

Ok, maybe not THAT fast, but you get my point.

However, there are some things that are fairly stable, and there are some resources to help you navigate the wicked marketing seas.

…building a fan base…

Social Media: Whatever the platform, the purpose of social media is garnering and engaging with new followers. In general, outside of ads, your goal here is not immediate sales. Instead, you are building a fan base, getting to know them as you allow them to get to know you.

And by you, I mean your best version of yourself. Choose carefully what you say and how you engage on social media. More than one career has gone down in flames for authors who didn’t. A good rule of thumb is to refrain from saying anything that you wouldn’t say as a guest in someone else’s living room. That someone is not your best friend. They are a person whom you have met several times, but whose views on politics, religion, child-rearing etc., may not line up with your own. Courtesy and respect are their own form of currency.

Facebook is everchanging, but it is still a great platform for hosting fans and reaching people. Having an author page and/or a reader group is a great start for any author’s platform.

Building and maintaining a website has been seen by some as a time wasteland, but that may be changing. With the increasing ease of adding a shopping cart to your site, personal online stores may be on the rise, allowing for an increase in profit from individual sales, as well as a platform for increased visibility. It also provides a home for your blog, which can be used to increase reader engagement through comments.

Twitter: Not a great venue for sales, but it can be a good way to raise your visibility as an author. Twitter is a great place for engagement, but the inhabitants get testy if they start to see your profile as a sales venue. Be careful.

Instagram is also on the rise for authors. Creative graphics, ads, etc. can all be used here. Unfortunately, you can’t put links in an Instagram post. So, consider putting a landing page link in your bio for ease of update and versatility. You can build a link list on your website, or use one of the apps like Link Tree, specifically tailored for that purpose.

Ads: Pardon me for a moment while I fight the urge to run away. Ads are hard. I have not mastered them yet. However, there are folks who have, and I urge you to read them, take their advice and take the plunge. Because Amazon, Facebook, and other ad venues are an effective way to market your work. Before you buy a book, do a little research. Be certain that the author has found success in his or her fiction (if that’s what you write) work, and check the publication date. A book written as recently as 2017 is likely out of date unless it has been updated to reflect current market conditions.

Here’s a short list to get you started:

Chris Fox has several books that are helpful. Visit his author page and take your pick. Mal Cooper is getting ready to release an updated version of her Facebook ads instructional, and will be releasing a new marketing book soon. Penny Sansivieri is a bit of an Amazon ads guru and has just updated her Amazon ads instructional as well. Whatever you decide to do, keep in mind that ads require a time investment as well as a monetary investment. You cannot just “set it and forget it,” and expect to succeed. Sure, it could happen by accident, but the odds are against it.

In addition, you may consider Bookbub, The Fussy Librarian, ENT, and other subscription-based reader newsletters. But again, do your homework. Some reader newsletters can provide a wonderful boost to sales, others none at all. A great deal depends on their reach in your particular genre. They may, for instance, have sixty thousand readers, but only ten thousand of those are interested in sci-fi. Avid readers tend to gravitate to one or two genres, so marketing a fantasy novel to a sweet romance reader, for example, may be an exercise in futility.

…raise your profile.

Networking: One of the key factors in marketing is visibility. Networking is a great, and usually free, way to raise your profile. Most authors have a blog, a podcast and/or a reader group to which they are only too happy to invite you for a guest spot. One of the biggest challenges in these venues is filling available slots. When you are willing to host other authors in turn, it is a win/win for all involved. Readers get to meet new-to-them authors, hosts get more traffic, you get more readers.

So, writing guest posts, appearing on podcasts or youtube videos, and taking over a slot on a Facebook reader party helps both of you. Just have a clear idea of your goal for the individual activity and tailor your interaction to suit the audience, venue, and purpose.

What is the blog/podcast/reader group’s audience? Are you after book sales, new fans, or networking? What is your call to action? Join my newsletter or reader group? Buy my newly launched book? Visit my signing? All these are legitimate and have their place. Being clear on where you are headed with them will help get you there.

A beast indeed.

Marketing is a huge subject – a beast indeed. This covers SOME of what you need to think about. What other marketing opportunities have you found? How do you make them work for you?

Must Haves for the Indie Author, Part Two: The Graphic Artist

“I paint pictures with words – so I don’t need someone who does it with pictures. Right?”

I’m not going to push the buzzer and shout “Wrong!” But I do think you might want to reconsider.

A good graphic artist can make a number of significant contributions to your book sales. Let’s count some of the ways.


Most readers trace their initial attraction to a book to the cover. A good cover accomplishes a number of necessary tasks.

  1. Genre placement: Sci-fi usually has a spaceship, Romance tends to display a couple, fantasy almost always has a hint of magic. These tropes let a reader know they are in the desired territory. A romance cover with a scary building on the front probably won’t sell well because it doesn’t speak to the correct audience.
  2. Enticement: A successful cover draws the reader in. The image, whatever it might be, makes them want to read the blurb, which is the vital next step on the way to the cash register or buy button. If the cover doesn’t attract the reader, the purchase will not happen.


These usually contain an interesting/enticing/spicy/ or otherwise attractive image and a quote. They are intended to get your reader to click that buy button and can be used in a variety of promotional venues, such as ads and FB parties.

Headers/Social Media Banners

Whether it’s your website banner or your reader group cover, you need an attractive graphic here. This banner could be just your book cover, but if you have several books, that doesn’t work well. Instead, the banner should reflect your brand, and by doing so, promote all you as an author and, by extension, all your books.

These are just a few of the things a good graphic artist can create for you. But you might be thinking, hey, I’ve done my own covers and stuff for a while now and they are fine. Maybe they are. But maybe they aren’t. Perhaps an example will help:

My cover isn’t horrible, but as you can see, it doesn’t hold a candle to the work of Bridgette O’Hare, of Dark Unicorn Designs.

Creating useful graphics requires a huge chunk of expertise, and I’m not just talking about the ability and effort involved in developing an appealing image. A good graphic artist knows the trends, the tropes and the current no-nos in the industry. You can learn these, but doing so requires you to spend the one commodity you cannot get more of: Time.

As any fellow author will tell you, time is precious. Any non-writing work you can afford to delegate to talented professionals enables you to spend more time doing the thing that is going be the largest contribution to your success – writing.

So, when you are budgeting for expenses this quarter, consider adding professionally created covers and other graphics to your list. They draw the reader in, assist in branding and make your writing look good.

Must Haves for the Indie Author, Part One: A Good Editor

I’ve been an indie author for six years now. I’m looking at that number thinking, dang, it has to be longer than that. But it isn’t. I launched Descent, first novel in my Outcast Angels series in August of 2013, and a lot has happened since then.

I’ve launched more books. The industry has changed significantly and continues to do so rapidly. Still, there are certain basics that Indies still need, regardless of what else may be changing.

With that in mind, this is the first in a short series of articles on what today’s indie author must have to put them on the road to success.

An Editor

You still need an editor. I know I’ve mentioned this a time or two already, but there is NO bigger turn off to a reader than a poorly edited story. There are a couple of ways to go about obtaining professional editing, and a few things to avoid.

Show Me the Ways:

If you have editing skills yourself, consider trading editing with a fellow author whose writing you respect. A lot of us come from editing or educational backgrounds, which gives us a leg up in that department.

Ask for referrals. Any fairly successful indie author in your circle should be able to point you in the right direction. Alternately, do a shout in the dark on your favorite FB author group (one for authors, not readers) and you’ll likely get some recommendations, as well as hints on who to avoid.

Danger Signals:

Avoid anyone who refuses to give you an editing sample on request. A sample should be 1-3 pages in length and can be an evaluation of your work or a sample the editor has on file. I prefer the former since it’s easier to tell how they will interact with your particular genre and style. Either way, the sample should be long enough to give you an idea of their level of expertise and editing style.

Avoid anyone who demands changes to your manuscript instead of suggesting them. Look at the tone of their comments in the sample. An editor who insists on overriding your author voice isn’t someone you want handling your work.

Editors generally give you a total cost upfront. They will usually ask for half in advance with the balance due upon completion. They should also be able to tell you how long it will take them to complete the job. If they waffle on either point, consider finding someone else.

A reasonable charge for editing is anywhere from .1¢ to .3¢ per word, depending on the editor’s level of experience and workload. However, for highly experienced, in-demand editors, the cost can be upwards of .5¢ to .6¢ a word. Some may charge even more, but at that point, I would shop around. More expensive doesn’t always mean better, and editing is no exception.

For works of 100K words or less, two weeks should be sufficient time for completion. Longer manuscripts will take more time, shorter ones often take less. An editor who can’t give you a firm completion date or who says they will need a month or more to complete your manuscript might be someone to avoid.

Editors who miss the deadline they’ve given you by more than a day or two should be avoided in the future. If they miss it by more than a week, you may want to consider cutting your losses and moving on. Ask for the work they’ve done so far. They may give it to you as a show of good faith. If they don’t, or they become argumentative or non-communicative, take it as a learning experience and move on rather than throw good money after bad. Never pay the balance before the edits are complete. Never pay “additional costs,” that weren’t in the contract.

A Word On That Final Payment:

When paying that balance, use Paypal or another service where you can cancel the payment if the edits are not delivered as promised. Most editors are honest, hardworking and want your return business. But, as with any profession, there are scam artists out there. If something seems off, it probably is. Trust your intuition.

A Word on Reasonable Practices:

Example: When I edit for someone, I provide an estimate before receiving the manuscript. Once I receive the manuscript, I send a contract with the exact amount based on the actual word count. Once that is signed, and the deposit is paid, I begin work. When I finish, I send an email notifying my client that their manuscript is ready, and an invoice requesting the final payment. When that payment comes in, I send the completed manuscript the same day.

Not everyone works the way I do, and there may be nothing wrong with their process. But a good editor is open to communication with the client, offers a reasonable price and time frame, understands that they are the editor, not the author, and keeps their word.

What do you look for in an editor? Let me know in the comments.

Decisions, Decisions

An MFA in creative writing. Doesn’t that sound fabulous? Actually, it sounds like what it is – a lot of hard work. However, that isn’t my question. My question is this; is it worth it?

I know that “honing your craft” is vital. No one is as good as they could be at writing. Aside from authors who are already dead, that is, because seriously, once you’re dead, you’ve pretty much reached your limit. No amount of education is going to help.  In the meantime, a professional writer does everything they can to keep getting better. Notice I said “better,” not “perfect.” Since perfection probably isn’t attainable, the goal must instead be consistent improvement.

Conferences, workshops, and seminars provide great information and training in a convenient, cost-effective package, but they don’t confer a degree. At university, one can earn a degree, but the best programs generally require an enormous amount of money and, the real sticking point, TIME. I’m sure it would be beneficial. I’m just not sure it’s necessary.

I’ve dabbled in writing for most of my life and I’ve gotten progressively more serious about the profession over the last decade, to the point that now, it’s the only thing I really want to do with the rest of my life. Teaching, I’ve retired from and was satisfied to do so. But I can’t imagine a life without writing.

Or rather, I can. It’s just an exceedingly grim picture. (shudders.)

I’m sure I’ll probably pass away with a computer keyboard on one screen and a K-lytics report on the other. It’s because I’m serious that I take every opportunity to work with and learn from a variety of authors. Each week I read as much about the craft and business of writing as I can cram into my schedule. I attend signings and conferences as often as possible.

 And I write.

And isn’t the actual practice of writing the thing that builds a good writer into a great one?

Higher learning is a great thing. I would give (insert proverbially large sacrifice here) for an opportunity to pursue my passion while I worked on my Masters. But if pursuing an MFA took me away from actual writing – if it stole that time from me…

Would it be worth it?

Tell me what you think. What are the pros and cons, for you, of getting an MFA vs. the less formal route of conferences and writing workshops?


Conversations I used to have when I taught high school English often went something like this:

Me: “I’ve been working so hard on this project that I haven’t had time to write my lesson plans for next week.”

My friend: “Just wing it. All you guys do is read, right?”

Me: gives friend the side-eye and suffers a mental picture of stuffing said friend’s mouth with multiple copies of Proust or Dante. I resist the urge and simply reply,  “Well, it’s a little more complicated than that.”

I continue to be surprised when I trip over someone who thinks this way about “English.” What surprises me even more is that so many people lump everything: reading, analyzing literature, and writing, under the same dismissive heading.

“…they think it’s EASY.”

The kicker is, an awful lot of people think the same way about writing. For some unfathomable reason, the tendency of non-writers is to reduce the hours of painstaking plot construction, character development, conflict building and resolution, sub-plot tuning, editing,  and research to just “writing.” And they think it’s EASY.

Given my (admittedly type A, slightly insane) work ethic when it comes to both teaching and writing, you might think I would get a bit tetchy about such a description. But I don’t. I just smile and turn my attention to more winnable fights. Because the truth is, they honestly don’t understand. And I shouldn’t expect them to.

Nurturing ideas into stories takes work. What a concept.

Most people who have not nurtured an idea into a fully realized story have no way of conceptualizing the amount of work involved. It isn’t that they aren’t empathetic or that they don’t believe you about the months of eye strain and paper cuts that went into the research. They may even murmur in honest sympathy when you describe the back burning necessity of multiple, not to say interminable, revisions or the searing frustration of working a less than fulfilling day job to fund your writing career. They simply have no frame of reference.

And that’s ok. I don’t understand how mathematicians get such a charge out of all that number stuff. I just accept that they do. Their fire doesn’t use the same fuel as mine, but it still burns. And hey, if they don’t understand the same about me in reverse, that’s ok too. After all, it’s not like they’re writers or anything.  

What frustrates you about the non-writer’s reaction to your craft?