So you want to be a writer…

I have many ideas for posts in this series.  I’m actually brimming over with notions and really looking forward to nailing them down in the hope they will help.

But today, I have to finish clearing out a second-hand store’s worth of STUFF out of my house to make room for my husband’s new billiard table.  He never wants anything but this is something he has wanted for ages and I am going to make it happen, if I have to drag the stuff to Vinnies on a wagon!

Also, today I am also on blog duty over at Romance Writers of the Apocalypse (where I’m talking about choosing a word for the year).

So today I am just going to share one idea and a little story to get started.

The idea is this:

Writers write.

I know.  You’ve heard it before.  But it’s true.  The key thing that separates writers from non-writers is that writers write.  I will talk more about how, when, how often and the like at a later time, but I think the key thing here is persistence.

Which brings me to the story.  As regular readers know, I had my first novel published this year.

What you may not know is that I didn’t write it this year.  I didn’t write it last year either.

The novel that finally became Rules are for Breaking was written some years ago.  I submitted it at the time; it was rejected.  At the time, the market for that kind of romance was fairly limited, so rather than try to submit it elsewhere, I put it aside and moved on.  Then I ran into some major personal dramas that put writing on hold for the best part of two years.  I didn’t get much new work done.  But I came back (see the persistence theme beginning).  Having tasted the joy of finished stories (even rejected ones) I needed more.

So I started writing a different book (my girly thriller) and, in due course, I submitted the first three chapters of it to a competition run by the Romance Writers of Australia.

I didn’t win. (Did you really think the big finish was this quick?  Have you never seen any movies?)

I came second.  (Rejoicing!)

The editor who judged didn’t request my manuscript.  (Misery!)

But she gave my details to another editor at Penguin, who was starting up a new digital romance imprint, called Destiny Romance.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

(Actually, there is more to this story, but that, including the completely wrong way to handle a phone conversation with a potential publisher, is for another time!)

The point here is the one that my husband made at the time.  I said that this opportunity had come out of the blue.  He said no, it hadn’t.  He said it had come because I had kept working.  Yes, it was for work that I did earlier, but it was the work that I was doing now that got it noticed.  It was, in his words, all part of the body of work.

Or in other words, it happened because I kept writing.

So, here’s my first piece of advice, if you want to be a writer:

WRITE.

Because if you do, you too will have the chance to communicate some of the way you see the world with other people.  And some of them will ‘get it’.  And that is the true joy – and I couldn’t mean that more sincerely – of things like this: 2012 ARRA finalist

So, here’s today’s question for those who want to be writers: Watcha workin’ on?

9 thoughts on “So you want to be a writer…

  1. Book 3 – Bone – in the zombie smut series. I think your husband was right. You worked hard for that out of the blue opportunity. It was heartily deserved. May 2013 be positively littered with success for you. x

    • Oh, the waiting! Does it ever get easier? I think not. I’m really interested in middle-grade. It’s such a gateway time for reading that there can’t be too many good books in that age-bracket I think. I have everything crossed for you, Stephanie, especially that you hear SOON!

  2. “Writers write” is right! Writing more is my goal this year – hence the creation of the blog! I’m also working on a novel – girly romance / comedy. Right now, I’m at 13,000 words, so it’s VERY early days, but I’m determined to see this one through a first draft at least!

    • Oh, best of luck with it Maura! And the blog will be helpful. I wasn’t sure whether it would detract from my ‘real’ writing, in time if not in content, but I have found it an excellent discipline and the community is wonderful! Also, if you are writing contemporary fiction, it’s a great way to develop your ‘voice’ as your blog voice can be much the same as your books. It’s more consistent than the copy work which, while it does develop ‘voice’ is more constrained by the client.

Go on, have your say. You know you want to...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s