Wednesday, September 2, 2015

12 Steps for Writers



This is an Insecure Post

[This post is ALSO meant to be lighthearted and fun and in no way diminish the important role the AA 12 Steps play in the lives of many. I have loved ones alive because of them, so no disrespect intended]


1.  We admit we are powerless over the publishing industry. That it was making our lives unmanageable. 
2.  We came to believe a calling greater than publishing could restore us to sanity. 
3.  We made a decision to be true to our inner writer and turn our lives over to the writer we could be. 
4.  We made a fearless searching inventory of the mistakes we were making in both writing and publishing. 
5.   We admitted to our inner writer and our blog rolls the exact nature of our wrongs. 
6.  We were entirely ready to turn our inner writer over to a writing improvement process. 
7.  We humbly asked peers and beta readers to give us honest feedback and where we fell deficient committed to workshops and exercises to improve. 
8.  We made a list of all the idiot things we'd done in futile attempts at publishing and became willing to learn from them. 
9.  We erased evidence from the internet wherever possible and outed ourselves where it wasn't so we could at least claim to know better now. 
10.  We continued to take personal inventory and when we made mistakes, admitted and fixed them. 
11.  We sought through writing words and sentences and stories to improve our inner writer, making a conscious effort to be our best writer self, each day better than the day before. 
12.Having a writerly awakening because of these steps we carried them forth to other writers.

Don't worry about the publishing. Worry about the writing. The rest will come.


So there... a little goofy, but it occurred to me last night that what has been very hardest on my love of writing and has dampened my drive and my work ethic about it is my pursuit of publishing. I mean I want to publish. But I want to love writing more, and I think I write better when I let go a bit of what I think will sell, because apparently I know nothing.

Now go visit some OTHER insecure writers!!!

19 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

My idiot list would be long...
Someone else posted about this very thing today - going back to the joy of writing. Since it's all we can really control, we might as well enjoy it.

M. Carlson Davis said...

Thanks, Hart. I needed this. Sadly, I just parted ways with my agent. So so close to a contract with first YA book after several revisions. But these last two manuscripts, I was writing to the many voices of editors who commented on my work, trying to write something for the market, rather than listening to the voices of the characters and staying true to the story. So the end results haven't been as strong as that first one. This summer I've been grieving about taking two giant steps back to the land of the unagented, but I need to get back to the writing and let go of all the other stuff--Marjorie

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Our love of stories and of writing has to come first. The rest - publication, etc - will follow. Our writing career might not look like we imagined or dreamed, but true success is following our passion.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

The thing is we might write for ourselves, but we also love it when others love our writing. It fuels our fire. Spins our wheel. Puts our cart behind the horse. Well you know--helps our ego.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

You make some great points. When I get discouraged with marketing and promotion, I put it aside and go back to my WIP and just write.

Susan Says

Jay Noel said...

Great list. However, I'm still waiting for my sanity to be restored.

Chrys Fey said...

I am doing step #7 right now. And I really appreciate that you offered to read my first 3 chapters. I was thrilled when I saw that. I will be emailing you later today. :)

Great list, by the way. And I love your note at the end about not worrying about the publishing. Worry about the writing. That's something I have to remember.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Hart - sensible advice - write and forget about all else ... get the story out and then start tidying up. We write better when we're writing from the heart and not worrying about others ... or other things to do ...

Cheers and good luck - Hilary

Chemist Ken said...

It's so easy to discouraged as a writer. Thanks for taking the time to put together this list. Write what you want to write!

Southpaw HR Sinclair said...

I liked that. It's a good reminder to not let all that other stuff get in the way.

Juneta Key said...

Loved your 12 Steps. Very creative. I'm with you about regaining to love of writing. Part of my goal for 2015 is Rediscover the fun in writing. Write forward not backwards, so I get it. To the Love of Writing,
Juneta Writer's Gambit

Nick Wilford said...

Totally agree. We can get so stressed out over publishing and - in particular - marketing, we forget why we're doing all this in the first place.

Melissa Sugar said...

I think your 12 step analogy was quite creative and it reminded me to go back to writing for the simple and pure joy I get from it. Good idea.

Yolanda Renee said...

A wonderful and right on list!
Yes, it's everything else, for me the marketing of said work that steals my joy.
Going back to writing is my solution too!

Happy Writing!

Liz A. said...

How does that saying go? Something about knowing the difference between that which we can control and that which we cannot. And only working on that which we can control. We can't control publishing. But we can control the writing.

Helena said...

Funny and true list! The only way I've continued to write is for fun and enjoyment because I'm thinking about publishing. Sure, FAR in the back of my mind I think of publishing, but just indie and that way the pressure is off. Love and enjoy your writing, Hart my dear, because your stories are worth it.

Em-Musing said...

Ha! SO true. I've done all of the above. Once came upon some writing on my computer and thought, What idiot wrote this? Eeesh! it was me!

Jan Morrison said...

Oh girl, this is right on. Thanks for posting it and as a person who works in a treatment centre - I have no problem with you using the 12 step as a model. It is a philosophy of truth, unowned and unownable.

David Macaulay said...

ha - such a good point about erasing evidence - I try to do that...