Writers Write by Brenda Wood

We just started a writers’ group, and more than half of the folks in attendance haven’t written a word. They don’t even journal. I’m not sure they even do a grocery list. However, in our breakout session, every one of them asked the same question.

“How can I find a publisher for my book?”

I wanted to scream, but you would have been proud of my tact. I spoke gently into their expectant faces. “Book? You have no book! You don’t even have three lines on paper. You don’t need a publisher yet!”

“But I have a story,” they cried in unison. “Someone will hear it, buy it, and publish it.”

Dream on. Dreamers do just that. They dream. Dreamers can’t hear the truth because they don’t want to. If they did, they would have to work, but they are too busy dreaming.

Writers write!

I ask you today to step out of your particular dream world and examine your writing/non-writing with the cold calculating eye of an editor, a publisher, or even (horrors!) a reader.

We must face the truth or else live in the unrealistic expectation of fairyland where everything we think (let alone scribble) becomes a best seller. And the first thing we have to do is get something, anything, on paper! It’s simple enough. A writer writes. A writer perseveres even when they don’t have a publisher or, for that matter, a reader.

These sayings inspire us:

“There’s a word for a writer who never gives up … published.” Joe Konrath.

“I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning.” Peter De Vries

But the truth is more along these lines:

“You must want to enough, enough to take all the rejections, enough to pay the price of disappointment and discouragement while you are learning. Like any other artist you must learn your craft – then you can add all the genius you like.” Phyllis A. Whitney

Because, as Brenda Ueland says, “Writing is not a performance. It is a generosity.”

And writing writers learn that the generosity is first for themselves.

“The first person that any words ever heal is the writer of those words.” Ann Voskamp

As for the dreamers? This week I printed off multiple publisher addresses for them. They will either continue to dream or they will wake up to the truth and actually write, because that is what writers do.

brenda-woodBrenda Wood is a motivational speaker and author.

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  1. Bobbi Junior says:

    I burst out laughing, Brenda. “Book? You have no book!” You used great tact, I’m sure.

    I wonder if part of this is a feeling that they don’t want to go to all that effort if they can’t guarantee a payoff in the end. The question, then, is, what kind of payoff comes from writing?

    I think you touched it further down with Voskamp’s quote. “The first person that any words ever heal is the writer of those words.”

    First we must write to explore what’s inside us, and to feed our souls. Whether it goes beyond that is up to God, circumstance and ambition.

    Great post!

  2. Tracy Krauss says:

    Wow. This was spot on, Brenda. How many times have heard this same type of thing. There are tons of people out there who ‘want to write a book’ but have no idea the amount of commitment it takes, let alone the possible obstacles to publication. Your quotes are fantastic. My favourite is your own – ‘Writers write’. Simple but true. I am definitely sharing this one.

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