Inside the Mind of a Writer

Wait . . . Writers do what?


I love to write, but it doesn’t come easy to me. Someone recently told me that I need to be more structured—set aside time to write and not let anything interrupt or distract me. Good advice, and a discipline I already had in place.

He went on to say the key is to plan what I’m going to write, then sit down and write. My initial attempt at getting the words down won’t necessarily be brilliant, but it’s a starting point and gives me something I can revise and make better.

Just write.

Because that’s what writers do. They write.

At the time, his comment upset me. I think of myself as a writer. At least I want to be one. I’ve had plenty of compliments from critique partners who have read my work, so I must be a writer. Right?

Maybe not.

The more I thought about it, the more my opinion shifted. I know I’m the slowest in my critique group at putting up new chapters. Not because I don’t make the time to write or don’t have a plan, but because I really struggle to get the ideas out of my head and onto the page.

Add in the fact that I’m a perfectionist and need to go over my work countless times (no seriously, I couldn’t possibly count how many times) before I feel it’s good enough to call a first draft. Surely a real writer wouldn’t have that much trouble, would she?

So, maybe I’m not a writer. At least not by nature, but does that mean I can’t become one?

Of course, it doesn’t!

To me, that just means I need to work harder than the typical “true” writer in order to meet my goals. And, I need to learn to set realistic goals, based on my ability instead of what I’d like to be able to accomplish . . . or what I see others accomplish. I’ll admit, that last part is really hard for me to accept.

Taking longer than two years to put out a single book is frustrating, but I’m on the home stretch and determined to see it through. After I publish my current book, I’ll move on to the next book I have planned and all the other stories currently forming in my head.

Why? Because I will be a writer. It’s what I want, and I’m willing to put in as much time and hard work as it takes to get there. –CJ


6 thoughts on “Wait . . . Writers do what?”

  1. Oh, you’re a writer, all right. Anybody who can make me want to read a romance story definitely has talent. The way you describe scenes without getting bogged down, and the way your characters come to life on the page, it’s brilliant.

    You say you love to write; I believe that. It shows in your writing. Who cares if you’re the slowest in your critique group? The others are faster, but speed isn’t quality. It’ll take two years to put out a book? Well, some people take four years. Some never get it finished, and others “polish” it into eternity, never letting it reach the eyes of another person. Those are just would be writers who are too timid to take that next big leap and start achieving their dreams. They fear failure and embarrassment more than they want to do what they love. That’s a self-imposed cruelty, if you ask me.

    You’re doing it. And you are a writer.

    And one day soon, your book will be out there selling next to people you’ve only read about. How will that make you feel?

    Now, you probably wouldn’t be you if you didn’t occasionally have doubts, just like the rest of us. One day not so long ago I sat there looking at a friend’s success and wondering what I had to do to get to that level, and I remember thinking it might just not be in the cards for me. I think I spent two days not writing, just thinking about hanging it up. Then I realized some things, namely, what that person writes and what I write are very different, and other people are allowed to be better or luckier or have more friends helping them, and my road will necessarily be different; if my road was longer, doesn’t that make me the better and more appreciative for having traveled it?

    Like you, some days I know the answer is yes. Other days I’m not so sure.

    But you soldier forth just like me because that’s what you are compelled to do.

    Because you are a writer.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the kind words!

      Not only do I have you reading romance, you’re writing it​ too​. 🙂

      “They fear failure and embarrassment more than they want to do what they love. That’s a self-imposed cruelty, if you ask me.” — I couldn’t agree mor​e with you on that​. Those are realistic fears, but there comes a point where you need to decide what’s more important to you.

      The path we take on our journey through life defines who we are when we reach our destination. Since no two people are the same, the steps we take to reach our goals will also be different. Accepting that has been one of my biggest challenges.

      There have been several times where I struggled and nearly walked away, but I can’t… I won’t. And you won’t either. Writing is inside us. It might not always come out as easily as we’d like it to, but it’s always there.

      Neither one of us will be satisfied until we make it to the top. We just need to keep working hard and be patient until we figure out how to get there. You’re right, the harder we work ​to achieve​ our goals​,​ the sweeter and more satisfying the victory will be… and the more we will appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This post really speaks to something I think almost all writers feel. Finding time to write can be so tough, especially when bogged down with senseless things like earning a paycheck and spending time with your family, and ESPECIALLY when you think there’s a chance no one will buy your book anyway.

    When my husband goes to work he gets pats on the back, progress incentives and a steady paycheck. And, when I ‘go to work’ my family wonders why they have no clean socks. There are a million reasons why aspiring authors give up on their dreams, but I’m sure time management is number one.

    But you’re right, the successful writers all write anyway. And, when your book is released, you’re going to be so glad you did.

    “A writer is not a writer because she writes well and easily, because she has amazing talent, or because everything she does is golden. A writer is a writer because even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway.”
    –Junot Diaz, Professor of Writing,
    Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, 1998

    I’m the nerd that has this quote as the screensaver on my phone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a great quote, Jenny, and I love that you have it as the screensaver on your phone. (Mine is a big pink flower.) I’m going to put it someplace where I’ll see it every day too.

      I agree, finding time to write can be a real challenge. We all have very busy lives, but I think we can all create a small window of time if we truly want to. I rarely watch TV (maybe an hour or two a week), which leaves me a lot of time to write, and I spend the lunch break at my paying job doing writing-related things.

      Once we look past the things we have to do, like earning a paycheck, and the things that are important to do, like spending time with our family, there are usually things we can give up if we’re willing to make the sacrifice. To me, that’s the difference between “wanting” to do something and “deciding” to do it.

      Liked by 1 person

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