What I’d Say To A New Writer

Don’t start writing if you can help it.

This isn’t an easy thing, writing a story. Oh, it seems very easy, but just when you think your story is amazing and finished, someone reads it and tells you that it’s not good enough.

So, you head back to the drawing board and start editing and cutting away at what began as your work of art. After laboring over it for months, you send it to someone else who says, “I love it, but…” or “You have the beginnings of a good story, but…” or “I’m not sure I like your character.” Then you want to brain them with your computer.

Do they even realize how long it took you to write that? Or revise it three times? Because they wouldn’t be so blasé or heartless if they knew!

Writing is labor intensive and (at times) not at all fun. So, if I were you, don’t let the writing bug bite you! Run, run! Far away.

Because once you commit to this, once you’re in the thick of it – writing, rewriting, revising, editing – there is no stopping. It’s a cruel mistress that will never ever let you go.

I want to save you the headache, you know, because I care.

And I do care. I can’t help myself, but I can save you from “Show, don’t tell.”, be more descriptive, rethink your word choice, from editing it again, from feeling like you’re done when you’re really not…

I hope it’s not too late for you, friend.


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  2. Rebecca Bradley

    But once in it, we absolutely adore it and that’s why we don’t run. It’s amazing being able to create worlds, situations and people. I’m the opposite. I’d say, if you want to do it, start now! It’s a long journey, but you meet great people on the way 🙂

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      Cara Thereon

      Oh, it has its wonderful, heart racing, and fun parts. I wouldn’t do it if there wasn’t something that made it addicting, but this part that I refer to here is not fun.

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  3. Spider42

    Unfortunately for me it is indeed too little too late my dear… once bitten it is not unlike a contagion that creates an uncontrollable impulse to keep bashing ones head against this proverbial wall! 😀

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      Cara Thereon

      I consider it occasionally, but life has been crazy so my view on things is off. I like to write and enjoy the act of sinking into a story, but I guess the point of this post is to say its not easy and if people are going into it believing it is… Heaven help them.

  4. Dawn Rinken

    This is kind of long, but entirely relevant; a friend posted this poem on my FB post about my most recent blog post. It totally reminded me of your post, above:

    so you want to be a writer
    by Charles Bukowski

    if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
    in spite of everything,
    don’t do it.
    unless it comes unasked out of your
    heart and your mind and your mouth
    and your gut,
    don’t do it.
    if you have to sit for hours
    staring at your computer screen
    or hunched over your
    searching for words,
    don’t do it.
    if you’re doing it for money or
    don’t do it.
    if you’re doing it because you want
    women in your bed,
    don’t do it.
    if you have to sit there and
    rewrite it again and again,
    don’t do it.
    if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
    don’t do it.
    if you’re trying to write like somebody
    forget about it.

    if you have to wait for it to roar out of
    then wait patiently.
    if it never does roar out of you,
    do something else.

    if you first have to read it to your wife
    or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
    or your parents or to anybody at all,
    you’re not ready.

    don’t be like so many writers,
    don’t be like so many thousands of
    people who call themselves writers,
    don’t be dull and boring and
    pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
    the libraries of the world have
    yawned themselves to
    over your kind.
    don’t add to that.
    don’t do it.
    unless it comes out of
    your soul like a rocket,
    unless being still would
    drive you to madness or
    suicide or murder,
    don’t do it.
    unless the sun inside you is
    burning your gut,
    don’t do it.

    when it is truly time,
    and if you have been chosen,
    it will do it by
    itself and it will keep on doing it
    until you die or it dies in you.

    there is no other way.

    and there never was.

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