So You Want to be a Writer!

Most of the readers of this blog are writers. I (Clare) no matter how much I write, I still smith0809-01finding writing hard. It takes LOTS of work. Although we tend to write for academic audiences an article by Russell Smith in the Globe and Mail resonated with me. Titled – So You Want to Be a Writer has some useful advice.

Here is the link to the entire article:

I listed his six pieces of advice and # 6 is probably the most important! For all doctoral students “bum in chair” is very important.

  1. Stop thinking about the business side of it
  2. Don’t worry about someone stealing your idea
  3. Don’t get too much feedback

Your aunt and your high-school English teacher are going to have very different ideas about what makes a great novel. Listen to both of them and you will be no further ahead.

  1. Don’t self-publish

Again, genre writers – in sci-fi, mystery and romance – have had much greater luck with self-publishing because they are already participants in large online communities and so already have audiences. The vanity presses that promise you they will market and promote your literary book are sharks; nobody reads their press releases. Don’t give them your money. Don’t think you can build an audience just by acquiring Facebook friends.

  1. When submitting your manuscript to agents or publishers, remember that nothing counts except what is actually written in your bundle of pages – not endorsements from bloggers, not courses you have taken, not possible cover designs. The professionals will skim through all those and start reading the first page of the manuscript. By page five they will know if you are an actual writer or not.
  2. Bum in chair This is still the most accurate and useful description of how to write a book. You must occupy that chair until it is written. Even in the world of phone-novels and tweet-novels and ghost-written memoirs, somebody has to worry for many, many hours about the difference between that and which and the appropriate use of metaphor. Somebody has to sit in the chair.

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