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.
Writer Wednesday with Robena Grant
Writer Wednesday is that day I get the chance to share writer friends with you. Today I’m thrilled to have Robena Grant with me. She’s the author of the Desert Heat series, which includes Unlock the Truth and The Blue Dolphin.
My friend, author Robena Grant.
CA: What made you decide to write a novel?
RG: I took a class at UCLA Extension with my then 18-year-old daughter. I thought it was to learn how to write. I didn’t know I was supposed to be working on a novel. So I ran home and started to write, and that became my first finished manuscript. : )
CA: Wow, what a jolt to the system! What genre do you write in, and why?
RG: I write contemporary romance, but I’m always mixing genres. I like stories about people in the world as I know it, and enjoy the journey that young lovers take, or the leap of faith with the second chance at love from an older heroine. I’ve written women’s fiction, paranormal, romantic suspense, and am now venturing into contemporary romance with a magical realism thread.
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?
RG: Unlock the Truth is Book #1 of the Desert Heat Series, #2 is The Blue Dolphin, and #3: Desert Exposure. I think of them as spin-offs, a series linked by location and secondary characters who clamor to have their story told. The books can be read out of order.
CA: Ooh, very cool. So there’s really no limit on the number of books you could write in that series! Where would you live, if you could live anywhere in the world?
RG: Italy, no France…no, wherever, but I’d want good plumbing, phone, and internet. : )
CA: LOL – I’m totally with you! Italy and France are in my top 5 places, too! Um…Name 3 simple joys in your life.
RG: Hanging out with my adult kids. Drinking a glass of fine red wine. Reading an amazing book.
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?
RG: Ernest Hemingway. We’d go to Aux Deux Magots, on Boulevard St-Germain…not so much for the food but for the espresso and the people watching. Then we’d gossip about everyone.
CA: Wouldn’t that be totally fascinating? And I’m sure he’d be drinking whiskey! If you could give just one piece of advice to a writer starting out, what would it be?
RG: Always be working on something fresh while you’re submitting something you’ve finished.
CA: Excellent advice! What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have a Day Job?
RG: I’m retired from the workforce. Writing is now my full-time job. I volunteer on several committees in my community, like to exercise, attend book club, hang out with friends, take in a movie, or lunch, and travel whenever and wherever I can.
CA: Sounds like an Awesome life! Now…Name one thing your fans would be surprised to learn about you.
RG: I like karaoke, but I can’t sing.
CA: Is there anything else you’d like to talk about?
RG: Just to mention that Unlock the Truth and The Blue Dolphin are available for Kindle readers. It’s an Amazon three month exclusive with KDP Select, then in May they will be released in print and all digital formats through Wild Rose Press Publishers. Desert Exposure is TBA, but it will also be released in 2013.
How exciting, to have three novels come out in one year! Let’s take a look at Unlock the Truth.
BLURB: Dena Roman needs closure. Three months ago, her sister’s murdered body was
found in the California desert. When a second body is found at the same site, Dena jeopardizes her public relations position to go undercover and investigate. But falling for the main suspect isn’t part of her plan.
Zeke Cabrera needs help. He sold a portion of his family’s Three C’s Estates to keep his citrus farm afloat, but when bodies are unearthed on the site, he’s suspected of murder. Help comes in the form of a communications expert who makes all the difference in his life and business–and in his heart.
Amidst an attack on her life and run-ins with a cantankerous foreman, Dena digs for the truth, even as she forms a strong bond with Zeke. But can their newly found love survive all the deep secrets hidden at Three C’s Estates?
And The Blue Dolphin:
BLURB: When Debbie Williams discovers a dismembered body in the dumpster behind her health spa, she’s determined to find out what happened. As a single parent, she must be sure the town she loves is safe for her daughter. Debbie won’t be deterred by anyone–not even the ruggedly handsome agent on the case who doesn’t appreciate her amateur sleuthing.
After his partner’s body is uncovered, DEA agent Jack Davis vows revenge. But three words shouted over the phone before his partner died–azul, delfin, Almagro–are Jack’s only clues. Even worse, a sexy blonde spa owner refuses to stay out of his investigation, and the chemistry between them is difficult to ignore.
As danger strikes ever closer, Jack and Debbie must figure out what blue dolphins and a small California desert town have to do with a dangerous drug cartel…all while protecting their hearts from an attraction neither can resist.
More About Robena:
Robena Grant is Australian by birth but resides in Southern California. She has two adult children, loves travel, and enjoys writing stories about ordinary women faced with extraordinary circumstances. She may be contacted at: www.robenagrant.com where she blogs on a slice of life on Mondays. Also, FB, Twitter, Google+.
Here’s Robena’s Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/author/robenagrant Go “Like” her – and don’t forget to “Like” her books.
I’m sure Robena will be around today, so feel free to ask her questions!
Demon Soul and Demon Hunt are both available for both the Kindle and Kobo! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?