Scott and Christine, San Diego 1982 Photo by Chet Cunningham – all “real” writers.
It’s come up more than a few times lately, with more than a few of my friends. What is a “real” writer? When do I get to that point? When does it all just flow? Well, in the 13-plus years I’ve been writing, this is what I’ve come to know about being a “real” writer.
So Much Noise.
A real writer writes. They hide in their cave/laundry room/nearest coffee shop and write.
A real writer only writes on Wednesdays.
A real writer writes five thousand words a day when it goes well. Other times it’s like pulling teeth to get five hundred words done.
A real writer only writes when the muse strikes.
A real writer complains. They talk to like-minded writer friends about their hopes, dreams, and fears for the current manuscript, and no matter what, they go back to that manuscript until that sucker is done.
A real writer feels like a fraud, and when they do write a book that sells, they’re secretly afraid they’ll never be able to repeat it.
A real writer dives into each novel without planning, never knowing what’s going to come out.
A real writer gets to go on author tours and talk to kids about their middle grade books,
and opens minds and changes hearts while on said tour.
A real writer has Hollywood knocking on their door constantly.
A real writer does it all – writes, edits, designs covers, reviews books, formats books, and puts books out all by themselves. All the time.
A real writer never gets screwed by her agent/editor/publishing house.
A real writer has discussions with his agent/editor/critique partner about what’s just not working about the current book, and how to make it better.
A real writer doesn’t make good money.
A real writer plots meticulously before starting a new book.
A real writer gets reviews wherever reviews can be posted. Some are glowing. Some are not. Sometimes it looks like the person reviewing never read the book. Sometimes there aren’t many reviews, and the writer’s heart bleeds for that book.
A real writer has written books that will never see the light of day. Conversely, a real writer publishes everything they’ve ever written.
A real writer makes serious money.
A real writer only writes and pushes his wares to real publishers. Big five or nothing, baby.
Market market market. Twitter and FB and Instagram and Goodreads until you die. It’s the only way to make an impression.
A real writer can only write one good book a year.
A real writer refills the well when life hits hard, and puts the writing aside until the storm has passed (because it always passes).
A real writer can write a good book every month.
A real writer only writes for the intelligentsia.
A real writer writes no matter what’s going on in his life – death, birth, hurricanes or earthquakes, they’re writing.
A real writer gets agents and editors excited about their work.
A real writer writes every fucking day because there is no muse and the bills need to get paid.
A real writer eventually learns that there is no correct way to be a real writer, and that what works for one person just won’t work for another. There are as many different roads to Publishing Nirvana as there are people trying to get there.
What is very interesting, is there are a LOT of people out there who want you to buy THEIR way to get to Publishing Nirvana, because THEIR way is the ONLY way. To which I call bullshit – be very wary of ANYONE who says their way is the only way to do anything, especially anything to do with writing. One size does not fit all, and these folks are preying on artists (because writers aren’t the only ones who get scammed in this manner).
So, to all you real writers out there, wherever you are on the writer’s journey, know you aren’t alone. What makes the journey worth while, for me at least, are the other writers/agents/editors we surround ourselves with, and the readers we reach with our words. You CAN do this. You CAN make this into your dream career.
Every writing career is a roller coaster. Sometimes it seems like we’re in free fall; other times it feels like getting to the top is taking forever. What is irritating and fascinating is that no two writers are on the same roller coaster.
Writers, musicians, artists of all kinds, actors, singers, dancers – the arts help to put the world around us into perspective for those who aren’t artists. It’s a gift, an obligation, for us to work on our art.
What is a “real” writer? One who doesn’t quit.
Go out into the world, dear hearts, be brave, and write. Paint. Sing. Film. Dance. And do it with your whole heart. Sending love and hugs to you.
Oh, and check out the writers depicted above. If you know a real writer, please give them a shout out by putting a link to their Amazon page in the comments.
I have had the pleasure of getting to know Maggie through the Los Angeles Romance Authors chapter of RWA. She’s funny, terribly smart, and very nice. Please welcome the lovely and talented Maggie Marr!
CA: What made you decide to write a novel?
MM: I’m not sure I ever made a conscious decision to write a novel. I have been a writer since I was 8 years old. I’ve heard characters in my head telling me stories since I was a little girl. I grew up in the Midwest and the children who aren’t so good in math, but are really good with words are often steered toward ‘The Law’. Meaning a legal career. I didn’t grow up knowing any writers. I didn’t even think of writing as a potential career path. I kind of thought everyone heard these stories in their head. It wasn’t until after law school that I realized that maybe I could do something with all these stories I heard in my head.
CA: Wow. A law career. That’s using both sides of your brain, isn’t it? So what genre do you write in, and why?
MM: I write Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance and New Adult Contemporary. I’ve discovered the common thread in all three is sex. Lots and lots of sex. The Women’s Fiction books, I love writing because they are often about female friendships as well as a love interest. My women friends have been the solid foundation upon which my life was built. So I love writing about how those female friends often save my characters.
CA: Is this a series or standalone book? If a series, what is the name of this series, and how many books/short stories do you have planned?
MM: Hollywood Hit is part of the Hollywood Girls Club Series; however, it is a standalone book. Every book in the series includes Cici Solange and her cadre of close friends so while all three books inform each book it isn’t necessary for the reader to have read any one of the Hollywood Girls Club books to understand any book in the series. Hollywood Hit is the most romance oriented of the titles and introduces a completely new character in Nikki Solange, niece of Cici Solange. I think there will be 4 our 5 Hollywood Girls Club books total.
CA: Where would you live, if you could live anywhere in the world?
MM: I’d like to city hop. Three months in London, three months in Paris, three months in Berlin, Tokyo, Hong Kong–try them all. Then ultimately find a lovely little house, in the mountains, with a view of the ocean, with a lovely yard and a chair and a table in the lovely little yard on which to write.
CA: Name 3 simple joys in your life.
MM: 1. My family. 2. The time from 4am – 7am when I write. 3. Hot coffee.
CA: If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead or fictional, who would it be and where would you go to eat?
MM: The restaurant is easier than the person-I would like to try The French Laundry–I hear it’s the meal of a lifetime. As for the person…that is tough…I think Shakespeare. Here’s why–I love writers. I think writers are amazing. I have the best time with writers. When I’m with a group of writers, I am, I think, my best self. Plus, Shakespeare was a bit of a mischievous rogue. I think Will could party. Throw back a few. Tell some outrageous stories. Perhaps I take my latest manuscript and ask him for writerly advice? So maybe not the French Laundry– me and Will would get thrown out on our asses from the French Laundry for sure. I like a good night out — maybe just a local pub like The Local Peasant. I know everyone there, they will make sure I get home (can even call my hubs if Will and I get really out of line.) Yes–that’s it. A Friday night, with William Shakespeare at The Local Peasant.
CA: If you could give just one piece of advice to a writer starting out, what would it be?
MM: Write. Sit down in the chair and write. You can’t be a writer unless you write. It doesn’t matter if the first draft sucks, first drafts are meant to suck–that is their job. Don’t be afraid of a sucky first draft. Your job is to get the sucky first draft out and then use your craft, your skill, and your hard-won knowledge to turn that sucky first draft into a beautiful book.
CA: What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have a Day Job?
MM: When I am not writing I am practicing law and trying to get movies made. As an attorney I represent some publishers, some authors, some screenplay writers and some entrepreneurs. I also work with Dahooma Productions trying to get a few independent films into production. In the evenings I freelance as chauffeur for two kidlets.
CA: Name one thing your fans would be surprised to learn about you.
MM: My memory is atrocious. Truly. I stack things so I don’t forget about them or put items in a ‘special’ place so that I will remember where they are and then…absolutely can’t remember where the ‘special’ place is that I put the item. I’ve recently resorted to placing sticky notes on the bathroom mirror so that I might remember things I need to know for the day. And yet…I can tell you in great detail events and characters that were in books I read when I was a child.
CA: Is there anything else you’d like to talk about?
MM: Thank you for reading my books. I love writing them and I want each book to be better than the last. I feel so much gratitude that people actually buy my books and spend hours reading them. Thank you.
Being the niece of the biggest star in the world isn’t easy–especially when someone is
Hollywood Hit by Maggie Marr
trying to kill you.
Nikki Solange is a small town Tennessee girl. When she hits Hollywood and tries to become a movie Producer, she’s in for the culture shock of her life–and finding a D-list actor turned up-and-coming director floating face down in the his swimming pool is the least of it. Now Nikki must walk the gauntlet that is Hollywood and try to stay alive because someone from Nikki’s hard-scrabble past is out to make sure that she ends up dead.
Pretending to be a Hollywood playboy film producer is easy when one of the world’s richest men is backing you.
Ex Marine sniper Rush Nelson is back from his final tour in Afghanistan and is now a security specialist for one of the world’s richest men, media mogul Tedd Robinoff. Backed by his boss, Rush has a solid cover-story that includes some serious Armani threads, a pulse-pounding car, and a limitless expense account. All to protect Robinoff, his business interests, and Robinoff’s family, which includes Ted’s superstar wife Celeste ‘Cici’ Solange and her pain-in-the-ass niece Nikki. Rush must achieve his directive without ruining his cover. Easy–except for one problem–Nikki Solange. Rush is falling for her.
The number one rule not to break when your mission is to protect.
Maggie Marr is an attorney, an author, and an independent producer. Hard Glamour, the first book in her New Adult Glamour Series, publishes January 14, 2014. Hollywood Hit, the third book in Maggie’s much loved Hollywood Girls Club Series published December 17, 2013. As with any Hollywood Girls Club book, all names have been changed to protect both the innocent and the guilty, but if you read closely enough, you can sort out who you are…Maggie lives and works in Los Angeles.
Maggie’s Amazon Page
Thanks so much for stopping by and checking out Maggie Marr’s latest novel, Hollywood Hit.
Remember to take time for yourself as you rush around this holiday season. Breathe, enjoy the bustle, and be good to yourself. Cheers, my friends!