Monday, June 26, 2017

Why You Shouldn't Write Books

I’m always entertained by things my non-writer friends say about what I do. Things like, “It’s so neat that you do your own thing without other people telling how to do it.”  Or, “Love the idea of royalties. I’d like to make lots of money while I’m on vacation.” Or, “How neat it would be to work by myself! I wouldn’t have to get along with that bunch in the office.” And here’s a great one. “So you just write the story and send it to an editor who fixes all the problems?”

Right. 

I thought this article might show them how wrong their ideas are about what a writer’s life is like and maybe someone considering a writing career might find this useful as well.

So what are the reasons Not To Write?

If you can’t take criticism, put down your pen and turn off that computer. From the first  word to the last period, your writing should be up for comment and suggestion. If you’re lucky, you have a professional and keen-eyed critique group that will help you make your manuscript the best it can be before you put it up for sale. And if you do make a sale and your book is published, your readers may or may not be delighted with what you’ve written. Reviews can be great and they can be terrible. 



If you think you’re going to make lots of money fast, think again. Sure there are some writers who hit the top and stay there, but the majority do not. Many don’t sell books at all. Some sell a few. Some do manage to create a steady income. It’s a hard game and you have to be prepared for not seeing a lot of return for your time and energy invested.



If you can’t get along with others, you’re in for some hard times as a writer. There will be deadlines to meet. If you don’t meet them, you inconvenience others. There will be people who want your help and support with their writing. If you can’t do that, then don’t expect others to help and support your writing. Then there will be the public, the people who read your books. If you you can’t interact with them, so that they enjoy meeting you, do you think they’ll look for your next book? Quite possibly not.



If you don’t want to spend the time editing and re-writing, then take up tennis or go shopping. A good book isn’t written the first time through. If anyone says they can do a first draft that’s perfect, I want to see it. 

Can you think of other reasons people shouldn’t write books?




Don't forget to visit my Featured Follower of the Month, J.H. Moncrief, if you haven't already. And are you up for some free books? Say so in the comment section.  

My Email Connect Followers are in for a treat this month with two free book offers from this author. Thanks, J.H.









If you haven't heard the great news, The Insecure Writer's Support Group is now in the top 101 best websites on Writer's Digest!



Quote of the Week: "No performer should attempt to bite off red-hot iron unless he has a good set of teeth." Harry Houdini (This is true of writers, too! Don't you think?)

66 comments:

  1. If you think it's easy, then definitely stop writing.
    I still can't believe we made the list. So awesome!

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  2. There is a lot more to writing than people realize. My family doesn't think of it as a job or work... :(

    Congratulations to IWSG!!!!

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  3. If you hate to read, you probably shouldn't be writing either.

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    Replies
    1. So hard to imagine that, but it happens.

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  4. Great pointers, Lee.
    Congrats to IWSG!

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  5. lol yep, always amuses me too. "Oh I've got a million dollar idea." or "I just need to find the time." are two I often hear. Pffffffffffft and an eye roll is all they get from me.

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  6. Criticism comes from everyone, everywhere. Considering my depression, it's surprising that I publish, but I'll do anything for my passion and dream, even learn to steel myself from criticism. :)

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    Replies
    1. It is depressing to read no so much!

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  7. I agree with every one of those. And didn't know about IWSG--woohoo! It is well-deserved.

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  8. Definitely all true! People often have a skewed idea of what it means to be a writer, among other professions.

    -Lauren

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    Replies
    1. Even after you try to explain, they don't get it.

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  9. I always knew NOT being a writer was a good idea. :)

    Congrats to IWSG!

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  10. This is excellent. There's so much more to writing than most people realize. Not for cowards, that's for sure. Congrats to IWSG!

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    Replies
    1. It's complicated to be a writer, that's for sure.

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  11. Hi, Cheryl!

    As a producer I wrote copy for television news programs and later wrote commercials and documentaries. I cringed whenever the news anchors, my boss - the news director, the client/advertiser or the a.e. representing the client, handed my scripts back and asked for changes. Therefore, I probably do not have the right stuff, the right temperament, to be a writer of books. It is not a matter of having thin skin, it's just that I hate do-overs. That said, I agree that a first draft is rarely as good as it can get and, if you are unwilling to do the work of making revisions, you probably aren't cut out to be an author.

    Thanks for the tips, dear friend C-Lee!

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    1. You learned that you can never please everyone easily. Your job sounds interesting and demanding.

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  12. Wahoo, Writer's Digest that's awesome.

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  13. Being a writer is definitely not easy! I would say don't be a writer if you think you're going to bust out book after book after book in the blink of an eye. Sometimes one book can take years!

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    1. I know what you're saying. Some books seem to finish themselves while others just sit and molder even while you're applying antiseptic and bandaids.

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  14. No, no, no, no.
    NO reasons to stop writing. Please. As a greedy reader I am so grateful to all of you. So very grateful.

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    Replies
    1. Without you, the world wouldn't need writers! You're the best.

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  15. Found myself nodding a lot while reading these reasons. Have known for years how true these all are...but am still creating things, anyway. Guess I'm stubborn. XD

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  16. I love it that the IWSG made the list! I find the statements you have heard so very judgemental actually because they many think writers are like the people portrayed In Film...Jack Nicholson in As Giod Ad It Gets. They don't realize you have to sell your book and meet with many, many people. I think of the people who think that, because you have no kids, you have more time to do things for people. If you don't swell, you must not have pain...stuff like this. Today is 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and look how long it took for this lady to try to sell her books to have them published. She is now in the 2% who are successful where she is famous and does not have to worry. Most writers are way, way, way away from that:)

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    1. It's just a lack of understanding, I know for sure. I guess if I tried to talk about being an engineer (any kind) I'd have it all wrong.

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  17. Had to laugh because so many are true. Now that I work as a contract writer, I'm glad to get a paycheck every month but it doesn't totally support me.

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    1. You're a writer and you're earning from what you love to do. That alone spells success to me.

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  18. Non-writer friend comments....Awkkkkkk.
    It's a harsh business. I had a bud who's been writing for several years. She made $10 last year and finally decided enough was enough and hung up her quill.

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    1. It's discouraging, and if you're intent is to make the big buck, writing isn't the easiest choice.

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  19. I saw the Writer's Digest article. Well deserved.
    Great article. Everyone, writer and non-writer should read it.
    If I wrote for the money, I'd have quit long ago. :)

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  20. Good list. People have no idea what it takes to write a book. But people have no idea what many things take to do, so I guess we shouldn't be surprised.

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    1. We simply must understand where they're coming from, an idealized movie version of being a writer. Then we must forgive them and smile.

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  21. twould be nice if editors would actually fix most of the rubbish we read :) like in the old days! Today's editors are mostly stupid school girls who think Harry Plopper is serious literature. Or Jane Austen.... pfffttt.... they wouldn't see a problem in a book if you gave them million dollars to do so.

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    1. This is what I love about your visits, DEZ! You never pull those punches. I agree we need some more insightful and intelligent books; however, that means we must cultivate more insightful and intelligent readers. Good luck.

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  22. Hi Lee - life and what we do involves meeting friends and neighbours, growing a group of like-minded souls ... some not so keen on writing, others not on reading ... and yes we all have those imbalances of life - til we try and keep trying we'll never know - cheers Hilary

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    1. It's the trying that's important, like it's the journey and not the destination that's the fun.

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  23. As a reader I think we sometimes get lost in the stories so that we don't stop and think about all the hard work that goes into creating that story. I'm very thankful for all the hard work you writers go through to bring us a story.

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    1. I know that I read much differently since I started writing my own stories. Seeing both sides of the process has been very instructive.

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  24. I had a brief "I'd love to write a book" conversation with someone recently. Well, she said that, and I smiled politely :-)

    My friends are often surprised that I'll happily spend my Saturday evenings writing - I think people who like their spare time probably shouldn't write a book :-)

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    1. Nodding and smiling is the only way to get through those conversations. If only they knew what was going on inside our heads.

      When you're doing what you love, your heart's at peace and your brain is sending off the most amazing sparks! Here's to spending more Saturday nights in bliss.

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  25. That was a great piece. I would add that writing takes motivation, tenacity, and sacrifice. Awesome words don't just always pop into our heads, we have to work at it and give up some of the things we love doing in the process.

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    1. I believe the word, tenacity, was coined by the first writer! :-)

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  26. Such truth in your words. Writing may feel solitary at times, but everything about it is designed for interaction at every stage. I hope you never give it up.

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    1. I'm smiling. I love to write, but I have a sense that there will come a time when my ink runs out. It has run low a few times, so I understand the signs. Thanks, Lynda.

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  27. Yes. So very true. And then there's the writing itself. If you're not prepared to spend hours banging your head against a brick wall, willing those words onto an empty page when they just won't co-operate, don't even think about it. A lot of the time writing is not a vacation, it's hard work!

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    Replies
    1. And doing it is one way to truly understand. Thanks for the visit, Mr. Botanist.

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  28. Perhaps another reason to not be a writer is that you have to keep practicing, keep learning. You are never "done."

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    1. Absolutely. If you're the kind of person who likes to see finished and tidy projects, I'd say don't be a writer.

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  29. Hi, Lee,

    You said it! The YEARS and DETERMINATION it takes to get books out into the hands of the public is astounding. Not to mention the THOUSANDS of hours.....

    Hopefully the people you wrote this for will get the REALITY CHECK they need. LOL...

    Hope all is well...

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    1. They'll never read it, Michael. They never see what I do in this part of my life. Interesting, isn't it? They're great friends, but they have little to no interest in my passion for writing.

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  30. Lol, people are crazy sometimes. I've heard of people who refuse to read fiction because it's "not true." My response is that their non-fiction is typically plenty "untrue" as well.

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  31. I definitely agree that if you can't take criticism then stay away from writing. Not everyone will love your book and you have to accept that. (They won't always be nice about it either.)

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  32. Well said.
    "If you think writers don't have to learn marketing in order to get sales," could go on the list. (Assuming it's aimed at writers who are out to sell, not just ones writing for themselves and never sharing with the world.)
    Congrats to the IWSG for the WD list placement!

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  33. I'm still working on the taking criticism part. I can't deny a bad review can still send me over the edge LOL. The making money on vacation bit is the best. Yeah, that would be great, wouldn't it?
    So thrilled about the IWSG news!! I can't think of a more deserving site.

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  34. All great points. I remember sometime back thinking writing was a 'get rich quick' kind of thing. I realized otherwise. Now I just need to master my terrible re-writing abilities.

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  35. Nice and so true. It's funny what non-writers think being a writer actually is. :p The only reasons I can think of to get into writing are because you love it or you have a story tell. Otherwise you're gonna run into these (or something else) and be thoroughly disappointed.


    Alexa
    thessalexa.blogspot.com
    verbosityreviews.com

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