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July 31, 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Post 1

  My biggest insecurities as a writer stem from what I've read on "How to be a Great Writer."  There are a few key "must-do's" in order to remotely consider yourself publishable.  

                                                     1.  Write everyday, specifically on your work in progress.  
                                                          (.5-1 hour 7x a week)
2.  Read regularly and re-read to study and learn from those who have succeeded.  (.5-1 hour 7x a week)
3.  Build your platform through Facebook, Twiiter, Pintrest, and other forms of social media.  Start a blog and post a minimum of twice a week.  (.5-1 hour 7x a week, 1-2 hours 2x a week)
4.  Study your craft.  Take a writing course.  Make sure to do your homework.  (4-6 hours a week)

That doesn't sound too bad, right?  I mean if you're dedicated you should have no problem.  Well, I'm dedicated, but I also need to:

1. Work 40-50+ hours a week (I have two jobs barely paying the bills.)
2.  Eat three meals a day (15 minutes minimum three times a day seven days a week)
3.  Get eight hours of sleep each night (56 hours a week)
4.  Get in 30 minutes of cardio everyday (says my doctor.)
5.  Drive to commute (1 hour a day minimum, public transportation is not an option)
6.  Spend enough time with my family that they know I exist.  (about two hours a day.)

        If I commit to all my writer's duties and my personal duties (notice I did not include entertainment or time with friends) that is 78% of my short work weeks.  (So I might be able to make it work.)  But when it comes to my long work weeks,  I would need at least an extra fifteen minutes to my 24 hour day.

So what is an insecure writer to do?

1.  Prioritize (and writing should not be at the top of the list unless you are single, unemployed, and have no friends.  Would you rather be a great writer or a great loved one?)
2.  Manage what time you have.  Carve out a chunk of time for writing related things, but don't expect to do it all.  Do a little of each.
3.  Enjoy writing and "Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and take what comes with a smile."

      I added this youtube video I found through Writer's Digest.  In some ways I feel like the little pink guy, but I at least know and understand what the other character is saying.  I may never be a great writer because of some of my flaws and time restraints, but I should at least be better than this over-confident guy.

Make sure to support other writers at


  1. You should be proud of the fact that under all those responsibilities that you mention, that you still manage a blog and have a desire to write. I think that is half the battle. Whether or not you aim to be published, to step up and have a go is an achievement. I like to think that if you can organise time to write under any circumstance, it shows determination and it will come through in your writing. Cheers

  2. Don't get caught up in someone's list of rules. We writers all have different goals and responsibilities eating at our time. (Like me - right now, WIP writing is mostly on hold until the kids are back in school.) Do the best you can with what you have. You'll get there. ;)

    IWSG #179 (At least for today.)

  3. PS - Since writing is on hold, I'm using the time to work on social medial and plotting a couple stories -- things I can do in starts and spurts with the kids around. Just make the most of the time you have. ;)

  4. I think the best thing to do is take it one day a time, use the time you have wisely, enjoy your writing, have goals and complete them - but reasonable goals.

  5. I don't think it's mandatory for writers to write everyday. Just make a bit of progress every week or two.

    And the platform thing should come after you've written your book, at least the first draft anyway. What good is a platform if you've nothing to talk about?

    Reading should be primarily for pleasure. If there are lessons to learn from good writers, just jot a few notes down every now and then.

    Then, every so often, like maybe every 4th of 5th book, instead of a novel, read a book on craft. I suggest: The Fire in Fiction AND Writing the Breakout Novel, both by lit agent extraordinaire Donald Maass. Also, Plot and Structure by bestselling novelist James Scott Bell, and The Plot Whisperer by Martha Alderson, 4 of the best books on craft EVER written!

    Unless you are an author contracted to write a certain number of books a year, you're sweating the details too much and letting it get between you and the pleasure of writing. It's that pleasure that'll see you through to the The End.

  6. I pretty much agree with everything Nancy said! There is only so much you can do, so fit in what you can, but don't stress over it. :D

  7. I have such a bad habit of using #2, 3, and 4 as procrastination that I have singled out number 1 for a few weeks!

  8. Take a deep breath. I feel the same way, but try to take it one day at a time. You'll find your groove.

  9. I think you should do things at the pace that works for you. Doing all those things regularly is important, but do as much as matters for you. No two writers are the same and people learn at different speeds, so don't think these rules are written in stone. I've learned the craft very quickly by reading a lot and studying books on craft without having to spend quite so much time actually writing. This just means this is how I've learned because it has worked for me. Find your own way.

    Thanks for taking out time in your busy schedule to comment on my blog. I wish you the best of luck on your publishing journey!

  10. Samantha, don't let yourself get caught up in ridiculous How-To books or lists. There is no "right" way to get published. (Just look at some of the drek on the bestseller list.) The one thing I'll say though is that it really helps to have a good critique group. Take it one step at a time. Don't stress out. :-)

  11. Just popping in from the IWSG :)

    Wow, what a great list.....but are there enough hours in the day? Lol ;)

    Definitely like your version better!

    Good luck xx

  12. If you manage your time well, you can still make it happen!
    "Single, unemployed, and have no friends" - that made me laugh.
    Thanks for joining the IWSG!

  13. Agh. I have a hard time with those writer's rules, too. I so don't write every day. I don't commute to work, but I do have four kids and those little stinkers take up a lot of time! :) I figure, as long as I am still working on it when I can, doing what I can to learn and improve, then it counts. :)

  14. Don't forget to get critique partners. They can save you so much time by stopping you before you waste too much time on a dead end, or a scene that's going to need to be completely rewritten anyway.

    Your schedule above sounds almost identical to mine, except that my family wants more than two hours a day. Even worse, I'm a very slow writer and can stare at a paragraph for hours without making any progress. The trick is to stay patient. As long as you see progress, don't stress out about the time it takes to write a good book. Subsequent books will come more quickly.