Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Writing is such a solitary venture. I kind of like that aspect of it because I am only accountable to myself (until an editor or agent takes a chance on one of my manuscripts and I will gladly meet their deadlines). As the youngest sister married to a man who was the oldest child in his family, I have always had someone telling me what to do and when. As I have matured, I find I am very capable of accomplishing tasks without a boss and greatly enjoy it. Writing is one of those tasks.

However, because writing is often such an isolated activity, it becomes necessary to seek out people you trust and who are familiar with the writing of your genre, to critique your work. I guess, maybe, there is a possibility, that there are writers out there who can prepare a first draft, edit it once, submit it to a publisher, immediately get a contract, and win amazing awards. The majority of us are NOT that fortunate. We have to write, rewrite, write again, edit, etc. My problem, like most of my fellow writers, is that I don't necessarily see the silly mistakes in plot and character I make because I am too close to it. I need several sets of eyes, to view my heart spilled on the page.

Another drawback to this "being your own boss" job of writing is that it is extremely easy to let life crowd out your work. Between your paying job, family, church, and (fill in the blank), you can let days, weeks, MONTHS, slide by with little or no writing accomplished.

We have to pay the bills, take care of our family and I am not suggesting anyone quit going to church. We just have to come to an understanding with other people in our lives and ourselves that this is not a hobby that can just be set aside. It is a job. Thankfully, my family is very supportive. For those of you writers, who don't have supportive families, don't use that as an excuse to not write. Others will keep you from your dreams as long as you let them. Carve out some time in your day to write even a few sentences.

I have some writer friends who generously allowed me to be a part of their accountability group. We report how many pages we have written on a daily basis--that's the plan anyway. It seems to be working because I am cranking out pages on my next novel while I wait to hear about my submissions on the third one. A few days ago, I committed across cyberspace that I was going to write 10 pages that day. If it hadn't been for wanting to email the "I did it!" to my friends, I wouldn't have finished those ten pages that day.

So, yes, I like being my own boss but I have to admit--I still need some accountability.


  1. I wholeheartedly agree, Helen. I can also get bogged down in the busywork of writing. If I updated my website, checked out some writing blogs, etc... that counts as writing, right? LOL

    God Bless,

  2. Yes, even writing even a few sentences on our WIPs keeps the creative juices flowing. I usually write everyday, but sometimes due to family obligations, I can only sneak in a few penciled lines on a piece of scrap paper.
    BTW, I found your blog through the OK listserve (even though I'm in TX).

  3. Vonna,
    Thanks for joining! What do you write?

  4. So true! I'm amazed what other readers pick up that I've missed. I've had many "Ah Ha!" moments. I just wrote a post about critique if you want to check it out:

  5. Great post on critique, Theresa. I also enjoyed your post on including "scents" in your writing--very clever lead about your perfume. My dad wore Old Spice too. :-) In fact, I included a scent memory in my novel, HOPE, that is trying to find a home even as we speak. I didn't refer to the brand name but described it as spicy. Mmmmmm. I can still smell it.

  6. Welcome to the blogosphere, Helen!

  7. Thank you for joining, Kim. I'll check out your sight now.

  8. Hello, Helen. I just joined. I like what you've done so far. I'd love for you to follow my blog, too. It's

    I love SCBWI and the way we support each other.

  9. Thanks for being a follower. I joined yours as soon as I saw your name listed and am looking forward to seeing what you have done. I am a novice at this so any suggestions would be wonderful.

  10. Good points! Anywhere we can get motivation is a valuable tool. Writing friends certainly help me too.

    Glad I found your shiny new blog. :o)

  11. Thanks, Jackee. I hope you'll visit often. It sounds like you lead an exciting life with lots of intriguing possibilities for writing plots. :-)