Monday, May 19, 2014

How I Found the Write Path ...

It's here! The week of epic writerly advice from writers across the globe at every stage. Please join Carrie Butler and myself as we journey around the blogosphere to read what some amazing and talented writers have to say about how they found the Write Path. 


Dear New Writer,

I know how you're feeling: Fired up and bubbling over with ideas. Eager and Motivated. And maybe a little freaked out at the same time.

I welcome you to the ranks of writer-dom. 

I wish I could say it gets easier as you go, but the truth is, there are only different degrees of difficulty. But it's important that throughout all of it, you lock a way a tiny bit of that passion you're now feeling in a safe place deep inside you, because you will need to unlock it again and again to remember why you started this journey.

Let me start with the bad news:


  • There will be rejection.
  • There will be readers who don't get your work.
  • There will be missed opportunities because you can't do everything.
  • There will always be some other writer with a better book deal, more sales, faster production, etc.
  • There will be other writers who don't consider you the same caliber of writer because of your unique path.
  • There will be insecurity because you missed a typo, or ignored sage advice, or published or submitted too soon.
  • There will be days when you don't know what to write, or how to make your story work.
  • There will be days when you don't know why or how you ever thought you could be a writer and be good at it.
  • There will be days when everything feels like crap.
  • You can't, nor ever will be able to, please everyone. 


Welcome to writer-dom.

But don't run away screaming yet. Remember that little treasure chest of passion you locked away? Good, because you will be able to access it whenever you want. It's all yours. And no one can ever take that away.

It will remind you of everything good:


  • You're a creator.
  • You have unlimited access to your imagination.
  • Every word, sentence, and paragraph you slave over will make you into a brilliant writer.
  • You spun an intricate tale out of nothing. Like magic!
  • You've laughed, and cried, and got pissed off all because the characters in your head came to life--a life that YOU gave them, and now they're as real to you as your next door neighbor. Others will find them real too.
  • You can spend hours alone, creating, and never once feel lonely.
  • The feeling of accomplishment that gives your body a full rush after typing THE END is all yours. You did it yourself. 
  • Total satisfaction when a critique partner, beta reader, reviewer gets your story--and maybe even sees things you never realized before. That's because something magical and inexplicable happens when you create a piece of art--like casting paint over canvas, from blank page to finished story--each person will see something different.


The ups and downs of being a writer elude no one. So I warn you now, if your vision consists of sitting in sunshine while putting your feather plume pen to parchment, wake up and smell the coffee stains. Then, roll up your sleeves and prepare to get dirty in your own blood, sweat, and tears. And above all, remember the three Ps:

Persistence
Passion
Patience

  • Never give up--because you'll never be able to tell how close you are to getting there.
  • Remember why you started writing in the first place. Always and forever. Remember it, and revisit it. Matter of fact, write it down right now and tuck it away or post it over your desk.
  • There will be so many times when you think you're there--when you've worked so hard--but the truth is, you're just not. You won't see it. You'll be frustrated. You'll want signs you're moving in the right direction. There's a reason why they say it takes a million words to become a decent writer. Remember your passion, and remember that no matter how much of a failure you feel like, KEEP WRITING. 

Always keep writing. Use your emotion to create new stories.

And read, read, read.

A writer MUST read. After every story you write, read a bestseller. Figure out why it's a bestseller. Take notes. Then go back and re-read your story. How can yours be better?

Find reliable, honest critique partners and hold onto them as if they're gold. They are. Don't fall into a trap of negative partners. The only negativity you should have to endure from a critique partner, are their polite suggestions for improving your stories. And that's not negativity--that's growth. Don't fall into the trap of partners who are TOO polite either. Honesty is key, and always have at least one writer who's more skilled than you, read your work. At every stage of your writerly path, find someone who knows more, and who has been at it longer, to critique your work.

And in conclusion, I'll leave you with my favorite piece of advice to writers at all stages--advice I came to on my own, from years and hours of trial and error at the keyboard:

Not every story will turn into something great, and that's okay. Write it anyway. With all your heart and soul, write it. Because although it may not be the masterpiece you'd hoped, it's a necessary step along the path to making YOU into a great writer, and looking back on those stories that amounted to nothing, will show you how far you've come.

In the end we regret most, the chances we do not take. 

Now go ye forth and write! Create! Unleash the passion!

Peace, love, and inspiration,

PK Hrezo
Author of the Butterman Travel series
Join my email list here : http://eepurl.com/O0s5b

"I give permission for my entry to be included in the e-book compilation without royalties and/or separate compensation."

For more letters like this one, please head over to Carrie Butler's blog for the list of participants. And there's still time to sign up. All week, writers of all stages will be sharing their advice and encouragement. And you are most definitely welcome!

Did you find any of my advice relatable? Do you have any of your own to share in the comments? I love hearing from you ...

71 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yes, I do relate! And it is what we don't do we regret most.
There are always downs, but those ups balance it out.

Trisha F said...

"Always keep writing." This is what I tell people who ask me for one single tip when it comes to writing. Just keep writing!

Old Kitty said...

Writer-dom could be such a truly scary place but if you just keep that writerly passion burning bright, it could also be a most satisfying and super awesome experience! Yay! Thank you PK! Take care
x

SA Larsenッ said...

Love how you broke this down in to the negatives first and then uplifted us with the positives. Gosh, I love writing. Thanks for working together with Carrie to pull this off. This ebook will be such a wonderful contribution to our writing community.

Emma Adams said...

Love this post - especially the lists! I may need to bookmark this as a reminder on the bad days that the passion for writing makes it all worthwhile. :)

Catherine Stine said...

Yes, we all live for those zone-rush moments when everything clicks in our plot creations and the characters are fully alive. Nothing better! Except for those moments when our readers get it too!

shelly said...

All was relatable advice.

Hugs and chocolate!

Melissa said...

Excellent list!
Thanks for doing this, PK. :)

Eleyne- Mari said...

Nice post, PK. Fortunately, there are more UPS than downs to being a writer!

Jennifer Ruth Jackson said...

Very inspirational post!

J.L. Campbell said...

Lots of good advice, P.K.. It's easy to forget what makes our stories unique when we see others doing a lot better than we are doing currently.

Norma Beishir said...

All good advice, PK! This one should be shared with fellow writers everywhere!

Barbara Watson said...

All of this is so, so good. Thanks, PK.

Nick Wilford said...

I related to it all! I would have loved to have received this letter when I started. There's so many great rewards that you won't realise until you do it.

Robin said...

We regret most the chances we do not take. Gulp. Boy, those are some words to ponder.

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

enjoyed the post :)

Chrys Fey said...

I love how you included the bad news first and then the good news. Because new writers definitely need to understand that it's not all rainbows and sunshine. But that it is also rewarding. :)

Liz Blocker said...

Hey, how did I not know you were co-hosting this?? So great! I loved the blend of reality and gloom, and encouragement and positivity in your letter. I'm working on striking the same balance in my own post - glad I have till weds to figure it out!!

Michelle Wallace said...

I love your bad news/good news approach... it's a balanced point of view!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I feel like you pulled the thoughts out of my head and then said them better than I could.

Kyra Lennon said...

Brilliant post! It's definitely good to warn people that it's not always sunshine and roses BUT ultimately, the good always outweighs the bad, I think!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Love it. Excellent advice!!

Gina Stoneheart said...

I really enjoyed reading this piece. You mentioned so many great things and lessons learned. And I especially loved when you wrote, "you lock a way a tiny bit of that passion you're now feeling in a safe place deep inside you, because you will need to unlock it again and again to remember why you started this journey." Sometimes, I even forget about the most important part of this whole process which is my own writing. Social media can be very overwhelming; especially when we don't feel like we have responded to all of those tweets and Facebook posts. We can never forget who we are and that we are the creators of our destiny... and it is our writing which takes us there. Thanks for sharing your letter and I'm looking forward to Carrie's blogfest all week!

Christine Danek said...

This is all so so true!! Love the way you get right to the point. Nice!

Jay Noel said...

Great stuff! I'm pretty down about my sharp drop in sales, but hopefully my second book will have more staying power.

Karen Walker said...

I totally relate, Pk. It is an interesting club, this writer community we have. I have been a bit distanced from it lately as I plow through my revisions.

cleemckenzie said...

All you said is right on or if I want to be cheesy, write on.

The three P's sum it up. I've read a lot of the posts today and I feel like I know every one of these writers. Their experience has been a lot my own in many ways.

Elephant's Child said...

Hooray for writers. For your passion and your persistence.
This reader bows at your feet. Thank you one and all.

Dean K Miller said...

I like the "different degrees of difficulty" aspect/thought. There are some many new challenges on this path, so it's easy to become a bit disillusioned.

Nothin' but steppin' stones, I say.

Leandra Wallace said...

Fantastic, fantastic advice! Especially on not giving up b/c you can't see how close you might be. Thanks for sharing, PK!

Lexa Cain said...

This is such a great meme! I loved your letter, particularly the three "P"s and the fact it's good to keep an eye on bestsellers. It works for me. Even if I don't enjoy them, there's usually something to be learned there.

I believe in you PK!! Keep on going!! :)

William Kendall said...

Wonderfully said!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Love the three P's and your last bit of advice.

I've really enjoyed this blogfest.

Denise Covey said...

I love the reading part - the most enjoyable part of writing!! But reading can also create questions like - why does the world need my book?

Great post Pk.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, PK,


I felt all of it... the passion, patience, and persistence in your letter! You spelled it out beautifully.

I like the suggestion of reading a best seller after you finish your novel. Good suggestion. But I must say I've read best seller and wondered "Why/" I don't get it or so it...

Another great tip I forgot myself."Always remember writing is SUBJECTIVE!" Never forget that either....

Thanks for co-hosting! And CONGRATS on book two in your series!!!! ALL THE BEST!

Johanna Garth said...

This was such an inspiring letter. I loved it and congratulations on Butterman. I hope it's doing well!

VR Barkowski said...

I found all of your advice relatable, PK, and we share the same mantra: keep writing. Very inspiring (and honest) letter.

VR Barkowski

E.J. Wesley said...

Absolutely LOVE this, lady! Also love the entire concept of this blogfest/book. I'm working on my entry for later this week. :)

jamieayres.com said...

There are some days I question if I'd tell my younger writer self to not do it. But like you said, we regret most the chances we don't take :-)And it's only what my entire trilogy is about, so I'd look like a pretty big jerk if I didn't follow that advice!

Carrie Butler said...

1. I love the letter. My mind works in bullet points, too!

2. I am so thankful to have your help on this project. You rock, my friend!

Crystal Collier said...

Awesome advice. We totally regret the things we don't do, and you really only live once. *high five* That was a slam dunk letter. =)

Sarah Brentyn said...

Great advice. I especially love that we create something from nothing--like magic. :-) And our characters being real. I've read about writing being a lonely pursuit but I agree with you here:

"You can spend hours alone, creating, and never once feel lonely."

Awesome.

Gina Gao said...

I loved reading this post! Thanks for all the advice.

www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

Carol Riggs said...

I can definitely relate, and this is all good advice. I love the nice balance of bad news and better news. :) The 3 P's! Persistence, Passion, and Patience. Gotta have 'em.

Stephanie Faris said...

Rejection is definitely part of it. There was some quote about the # of people who give up right before they would have made it. That kept me going through some of the roughest times!

Tammy Theriault said...

you forgot perspiration!! lol I love you girl! you're an amazing writer.

Mark Murata said...

Interesting advice. But would your previous self listen to you?

We should have another challenge, in which we address The People of the Earth from the future, when we're all fabulously successful.

Annalisa Crawford said...

Remembering why you started is good advice - it's easy to get bogged down by all the cons.

Theresa Milstein said...

I love your 3 Ps. And I like your advice that not every piece of work is spectacular, but we should write it anyway.

LD Masterson said...

I totally agree - there is no regret deeper than the chance not taken. Most of us have too many of those.

Romance Reader said...

Loved the advice. Fantastic post and so true.

Mark Koopmans said...

Aloha,

I spent four years on WIP#1 and to me that was an internship.

I didn't go to no stinkin' writers collage (obviously:) so I had to learn through graft and grafs.

IF WIP#1 never sees the light of day, I will be sad, but I will *never* regret a single letter I wrote in that 76,000-word ms :)

~Sia McKye~ said...

Sage advice, indeed, PK.

Let me show you my writing files...see, these are the stories I think can make it *opens the drawer with 5 files with research files attached.

And THESE are all the stories I wrote just because--a good idea, something burning in my brain, genre practice, whatever. *opens the crammed second, third, and 4th drawer...

There isn't a job out there that doesn't take time and practice to perfect. Creative work takes just as much persistence and practice as any other job.

If you don't want to put in the time then put away your fluffy plumed pen and take up knitting or sewing--wait that takes practice and skill, ok, gardening, hmm that's more work than putting seeds in the ground, collecting stamps...oh wait, that takes knowledge and skill. Go sit on the couch and watch TV and someone else's stories...

Sia McKye Over Coffee

Pauline B Jones said...

That is great advice, PK, great advice. Yeah, this is tough business, but also wonderful (Do I need to put a statement ON my blog that I give permission for it to be used? I think I did it in the blog comments, but can go amend if you want to use it. Thanks for letting me part of a great hop! You made me think and I've learned from reading the other posts)

Loni Townsend said...

This was great! You hit many points that I found myself nodding along with. "You spun an intricate tale out of nothing. Like magic!" A lot of wonderful advice I wholeheartedly agree with.

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mshatch said...

"Not every story will turn into something great" is so true. I might add that sometimes it's okay to abandon a work because not every story is viable.

Botanist said...

Wonderfully expressed! And you're the first person in this list that I've seen mention the rush of writing "The End" - that is so important to hang on to through all the work that follows those two innocuous words.

Medeia Sharif said...

This is so relatable. Great points, lists, and P's.

Romance Reader said...

Love this post - especially the lists!

alexia said...

So true! I'm definitely in the Persistence stage now :)

JJ said...

I dropped by to say hello! I have been absent from blogging for a while, and I did miss your posts. It’s good to be back.

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Karen Lange said...

Just picked up a copy. Congrats to you and Carrie, and to all the other writers. Looking forward to reading it!:)

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