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  • March 28th, 2007 | 9:24 PM
What does it cost you to be a writer?

Note: I am closing my old Blogger blog, Write on, Right now. Although I won't delete the old posts because people have linked to some of them, I want to move some of my favorite posts about being a writer and the writing process, over here and some over to Wordy Girls. Wordy Girls will also be home to my writing prompts and picture prompts. I'll start moving them in small batches so if you like writing exercises and you don't have Wordy Girls on your friends list yet, you might want to think about adding it to your list.

Today's retro post - What does it cost you to be a writer?


I love this quote from Toni Cade Bambara:

"I have shrewd advice to offer developing writers about this business of snatching time and space to work. I do not have anything profound to offer mother-writers or worker-writers except to say it will cost you something. Anything of value is going to cost you something."

With writing, as with most things in life, you have to put yourself into it before you get something out of it. That means giving up some of that time you used to spend watching television, playing games, sleeping late, or even spending time with friends and family. Because get one thing straight right now; writing is work. It means realizing that the first, or second, or third, or maybe even the tenth version of a story still might not be ready for publication and it means submitting rejected manuscripts again and again until they find a home.

Perseverance wins. Repeat that ten times.

Think about your best-written manuscript at the moment. Have you sent it out yet? How many rejection slips have you collected on it? Two? Three? Ten?

Not enough.

Robert M. Pirsig's bestselling book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was rejected over 120 times before being published. To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street by Dr. Seuss, collected 29 rejection slips before it found a home. Stephen King received 84 rejections for a short story that eventually sold to Cavalier magazine. How many rejection slips are in your bottom drawer right now?

Why aren’t those manuscripts back in the mail already?

Writing isn't easy. And it's going to cost you something. Are you willing to pay the price?


There are so many stories only you can tell.Tell them, please.


( 11 comments — Leave comment )
March 29th, 2007 05:11 am (UTC)
*sigh* It's a darn good thing that I'm not in this for the money.
I truly love being a writer.
March 29th, 2007 01:48 pm (UTC)
I know. It stinks sometimes, doesn't it? Sometimes I can't help myself, doing all the math calculations around the business and boy, that gets depressing in a hurry! It's all about taking joy in the process, as Jane Yolen likes to say. But it's a lot easier saying it than it often is doing it!
(Deleted comment)
March 29th, 2007 01:51 pm (UTC)
Good for you sticking with it until you made your goal of getting an agent. I think that's the problem with so many writers, they give up, often just when they were getting close. And of course everyone assumes that because they know how to write, (their name, a sentence, etc) that being a writer should be easy. Sigh.

Like anything else, you get out of it what you put into to it.
March 29th, 2007 12:59 pm (UTC)
See you this afternoon!!!! :)
March 29th, 2007 01:52 pm (UTC)
Yipee! I dreamt about you last night, how me and someone I didn't recognize picked you up on our way to some other writing thing that I was speaking at and we were late because I kept changing my clothes. LOL.
March 29th, 2007 02:05 pm (UTC)
That's a hilarious dream! So if you're running late today I'll just assume you're changing clothes!hehe
March 29th, 2007 03:13 pm (UTC)
Not likely today. I am in my comfortable clothes. Which means not dressed up. Which means I was probably dreaming about how I probably should have picked something a little nicer to wear but well, you'll see the real me. :-)
March 29th, 2007 03:20 pm (UTC)
oh, well, I'm working in comfy clothes today so you'll see the real me too! :) No worries!
April 1st, 2007 12:00 am (UTC)
Hey...stop over to the SCBWI boards. Elizabeth Bunce linked to this post and now someone has misinterpreted the point of this post! (At least I believe so!)
April 1st, 2007 12:57 am (UTC)
Thanks for the heads-up Kim. I posted a response that I hope goes over well but if not, I guess we'll find out.

April 1st, 2007 01:03 am (UTC)
Great response! I agree with you!
( 11 comments — Leave comment )

Who am I?I was born on the Cancer/Leo cusp and share a birthday with Ernest Hemingway and Robin Williams. The similarities don't stop there as I can go from depressed to ecstatic without ever passing go. I feel scared most of the time though my friends call me brave and I find it easier to believe in my friends than to believe in my own abilities to make what I want out of my life.

Who am I? A wife, a mother, a daughter, and even, gulp, a grandmother.

Who am I? A writer who never gets tired of playing with words, even when the words are hard to find. A writer of books for children and articles for grown-ups and many things in-between.

Who am I? A motivational speaker, writing instructor, workshop leader and full-time follower of dreams.

Who am I? Read and find out.

Susan Taylor Brown

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"Successful writers are not the ones who write the best sentences. They are the ones who keep writing. They are the ones who discover what is most important and strangest and most pleasurable in themselves, and keep believing in the value of their work, despite the difficulties."
--Bonnie Friedman

"As writers, we must be willing to feel our sadness, our anger, our terror, so we can reach in and find our sweet vulnerability that is just sitting there waiting for us to come back home."
--Nancy Slonim Aronie

"Writers write about what obsesses them. You draw those cards. I lost my mother when I was 14. My daughter died at the age of 6. I lost my faith as a Catholic. When I'm writing, the darkness is always there. I go where the pain is."
--Anne Rice


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