Why Successful Writers Need To Do More Than Write

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by Belinda Williams

Writing is about a hell of a lot more than just writing.

When I started writing, I had a vague idea of what I was getting myself in for. With the release of my latest contemporary romance, The Pitch, later this month [May 2015], I’ve got a much clearer idea. It’s the third book I’ve released (with two more due for release late this year and next).

A writing job description (or, if only someone had told me all this earlier. . .)

Here’s all those things I’ve discovered are part of the job description for ‘writing’ but are not actually writing:

  • Editing. That’s writing, you say! Huh. To a writer, editing is not writing. Editing is the painful process required to make your writing publishable. It’s a necessary evil. It’s like Coke Zero or Diet Coke. Sure, you can pretend it’s Coke, but it’s not really. Or like Austin Power’s son, Scott. He’s quasi evil, semi-evil. The diet Coke of evil. Are you feeling me? Writers dig writing in its truest form.
  • Writing a synopsis (aka writer’s torture). Ha! you say again. That is writing. No. Sorry, it’s just not. The synopsis was conceived by some bitter, twisted, failed writer somewhere who decided that if he couldn’t write successfully for a living, he’d make all other writers suffer. Enter the synopsis. You’ve just written 80,000 – 100,000 words and now you want me to condense it to approximately 300? And sell it to you while I’m at it. It’s the stuff of writing nightmares. It might have taken you years to finish your manuscript and *poof* up it all goes in a puff of smoke because someone doesn’t like your synopsis. There’s entire courses dedicated to writing a good synopsis. Pressure? No pressure at all. None! See that writer over there rocking in the corner? She’s probably just finished writing her synopsis.
  • The blurb. Also another writing task that’s writing, but not really writing. See previous point above but triple the pain factor because now the word count is down to about 150 words and it’s all about sell, sell, sell, oooh, intrigue, mystery, buy my book, buy my book! You may want to take a course on this one too.
  • Writing blog posts. Yep, what I’m doing right now. Do you realise instead of writing this blog post I could actually be writing? Do you know how much that hurts? This blog post is encroaching on my precious writing time all in the name of ‘building an author profile’ (more on that in a minute). Except of course if you’re procrastinating. Writing blog posts can be quite handy if this is the case.
  • Building an author profile. Sounds serious doesn’t it? It kind of is. Your author profile is the face you put forward to the reading world, or as us marketing types say, it’s your brand. Hang on, you say, I’m not a brand. Yep, sorry to say, the minute you became a published author, you’re a brand. So what are you going to do about it? Oh, I know:
  • Social media. Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, Instagram, Wattpadd, Google+, Linkedin . . . are you twitching yet? Social media is the vehicle for your author brand, so you better make sure you’re on there, but relax, you don’t have to do it all at once and be on everything. Just pick a few and stick with them, but be sure to link them to your:
  • Website. You’ll need a website. Oh, and your website will need content. Pictures are good too. Lots of pictures. And if you’re organized, regular content is the way to go. All of this is extremely important because when it comes time to release your next book you’ll have to create a:
  • Release plan. Think spreadsheets, more blog posts, review requests, giveaways, good reviews, bad reviews, so-so reviews, some more guest posts, interviews, contacting local media because you decide some PR might help with the release of your new book, engaging with readers (if you have them, hopefully you do). And all of this is probably going on when you’re supposed to be, or least want to be, writing your next WIP!

BECAUSE YOU’RE A WRITER DAMN IT!

Or at least I thought that’s what I was when I started out. Now I’m more like a editor/proofreader/sales manager/marketing manager/PR manager/online content creator/social media specialist/customer service specialist . . . have I missed anything?

Oh, yeah. Writing that would be it.

Excuse me. I have to go do some writing.

 

 

Guest post contributed by Belinda Williams. Belinda is the author of the contemporary romance series, City Love, published by Momentum (Pan Macmillan). The Boyfriend Sessions, The Pitch and Modern Heart are available for purchase from all good ebook online retailers.


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When the treachery of a senior officer almost ruins her career in the police force, Louise Keller becomes a private investigator. Her first case is to find the killer of a renowned opera singer and a man who had it all–fame, fortune, and movie star good looks.

The deeper Louise digs into the case, the more she finds out about the complex and enigmatic man who was brutally murdered. After her nemesis from her days in the force takes over the investigation, she is once again confronted with a past she wants to forget.

The search for the killer intensifies when one of the witnesses is shot dead and a woman’s body is discovered in a shallow grave in the bush. With her life threatened and time running out, Louise needs to figure out if the three deaths are the work of the same killer and if that person will kill again.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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25 thoughts on “Why Successful Writers Need To Do More Than Write”

  1. Thank you for this entry. I have been experiencing these painful processes for the last six years. It started out as a mere catharsis, a vomiting up of all the garbage in my soul. An editor read my blog and before I knew it, I was in the midst of writng my memoir, which has been reread and edited about a gazillion tedious tiring times. But, it is worth it. Along the way through referrels, I am now teamed up with a published author and the end is in sight. 🙂 Writing has always been a passion of mine, just never dreamed of becoming a legitimately, actuallly published author. Who knew. Anyway, I did not have the opportunity to graduate high school, so I seek out websites like yours and read lots of creative writing books, like Cec Murphey’s Unleash the Writer Within and Bird by Bird. Thanks again. I really appreciate your blog.

    Like

  2. Reblogged this on Bikurgurl and commented:
    Remembering this; there’s more than one way to skin a cat. However, learning from those walking a path before you is also key!

    What I find interesting is that my writing seems to go on and on, but my blog posts….well, not so much. I think I have an idea, I start writing, save progress….hit computer issues, hit life issues, and at the end…still getting something written. My writing is now there in the world for consumption, scrutiny, and release. Getting my thoughts out as they occur, so much easier on paper than online — with a computer, dialogue flows for some reason, but not descriptive thoughts and ideas. For me, it’s not organic enough. I can’t feel it because I’m not physically writing it.

    For some of my students, typing their thoughts are first nature. Maybe even texting? I don’t know about that. It isn’t enough for me, it would not only take too long but I’d loose my train of thought and be ready to move on…not to mention move my neck, stand up and stretch, and take a minute to look out of the window or pet my dogs. I don’t do well taking small breaks from electronics. I know this. As a result, I really don’t like to get interrupted. I lose my train of thought and then I have endless drafts of blog posts, but not many completed.

    On the other hand, handwriting can literally be fluid and sexy. It can be romantic, emphatic; large and loopy or small and scratchy. Just by reading the writing, or losing the feeling in my fingers from {likely} gripping the pencil too hard. Much like gripping the handlebars too tightly, it becomes part of me. The writing, not just the writing instrument, becomes part of me and who I am. Fluidity, flow, and ebb…handwriting does that for me. Makes me feel alive. Sexy.

    Write On.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. 🙂 I’ve gotten into total hand cramp with NaNoWriMo, so I’ve switched over to computer…but it’s not the same flow — thankfully, I have arc highlights outlined in hand! It’s a touchstone for continuing my writing 🙂

        Like

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