Do You Love It?

Susan Shay here.

I have a theory. It’s not scientific and probably leaks like a sieve, but my insides tell me I’m right. Here it is:

From what I’ve observed in life, a person who really wants to do something will find the time to do it with all her heart.

Take my dad, for instance. He loves being a geologist and, at eighty-one years old, still has a great time at his work. He comes to the office nearly every day (if he’s not out in the field) goes to trade shows, keeps up on the latest technologies and takes work home with him because that’s what he loves.

How abut writers who deep down really love to write? They not only get those stories down (No duhs out there, you guys. You’d be shocked at how many people join writing groups who don’t write.) they belong to groups, go to conferences and retreats, enter contests, Nanowrimo, critique, volunteer to help others, study and grow their craft.

Yesterday I met a writer, trying to sell her books at a function I’d been given a ticket to. One book had a purple cover, and the other was gray and had a paranormal-type picture on the front.  

I asked what she wrote. She flipped her long hair behind her shoulders, raised one eyebrow and gave a haughty smile. “Fiction.”

I nearly guffawed, but I held it to a chuckle. Of course, she wrote fiction. Non-fiction doesn’t have a cover like that. “What genre?” I asked, oh, so sweetly. 😉

Turns out she wrote romance, but didn’t belong to RWA. (Gasp!) “I know a lot of writers, but I don’t belong to any groups.”

Feeling sorry for her (just a tad) I invited her to visit RWI.

She all but sneered. “With what I make, self-publishing my books, I don’t have time.”

Oy.

Her words made me thrilled to be a member of RWI. One of the rules of membershp is to volunteer for a duty. Some only perform that one duty, but several volunteer to do several things.

Those who volunteer to do several things are often the ones who come to meetings, make it to our retreats, go to conferences, take online classes, join functions such as this blog, Nanowrimo and final in contests.

In my experience, writers who love to write, who want to grow their craft, keep on learning and selling and learning, do more.

They not only attend meetings, they present the program when asked. They enter contests for themselves and to support the group. In other words, they find the time to do what they love. (Most of us do.)

As Miss Marilyn has said more than once, we all have the same twenty-four hours in a day to do what we please. How we choose to use those hours is up to us.

So what do you think? Should a writer keep her bottom in her chair and write, write, write or is there more to being a successful author than sitting at a computer?  

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12 thoughts on “Do You Love It?

  1. Susan,

    I actually think there is a ‘pendulum effect’ for most published authors. There is a time where they are NOT making enough, and every instant away from the keyboard is costing them money. Then they get popular enough, or sell enough that they can schedule themselves a little bit more free time.

    Not joining a group like RWI is just strange for a romance writer. What is it? One Saturday per month and it takes about three hours start to finish? Yeah, that’s a lot of time missing from your writing schedule… Most folks waste that much time playing minesweeper/solitaire/freecell.

    I do think you make time for what’s important to you. I also think that if you want something done, you ask a busy person to do it…

    spw

    • Could be it’s a pendulum, Sandee, or maybe a mesh. Writers HAVE to find time to do it all–or hire someone to do it.
      If you love it, it’s not easy to do. If you don’t love it, it’s nearly impossible.

  2. This reminds me of when I attended my first writing confernce in Gainseville with my partiall written memoir and a few poems under my arm and someone at the welcome reception very curtly asked “And what do you write?” I was so nervous, I said, “Checks.” Since that time, I have joined every writer’s group or workshop within driving distance, developed my own website where I blog, signned up for great blogs like this one, sent letters to the editor of the local papers and the busier I got, the more I got done. Have I published? No, not yet, but I’m putting it out there and having fun doing it. Yesterday I was searching various poetry contests and became quite infuriated when several of the contest stated ” for published authors only.” Really? Anyway, I love your website and reading your blogs helps me feel not so alone while I write miles from you in the Florida Keys.

    • Hey, welcome to our world, Deborah.
      You’re from the Florida Keys? Hey, that’s not so far. We have members who live in Dubai and India. LOL.
      I’ve never been to the Keys, but I hear it’s beautiful. (One son’s in-laws own a home there, another went to the Keys on his honeymoon.)
      I’m thinking it’d be a great place for a retreat. 🙂
      You’re right. The busier you are, the more you can do. Why is that?
      I’m not sure, but it might be because you learn what’s important enough to waste your precious moments on.
      Hope to see you here again!

  3. There’s got to be a balance between the writing and other stuff just to keep you sane (assuming that any serious writer is sane in the first place), but without keeping your butt in the chair and writing writing writing, there’s not going to be any product to be successful with.

    But there are a lot of types of writers out there. Like you said, some just want to say they’re a writer; they don’t want to actually write. Some want to tell stories for themselves and their families. Some just want to see their books in print and don’t bother with editing, finding good cover art, proofreading, telling a story that holds together from beginning to end . . .

    Then there are the professional writers who don’t want to just turn out any old product and publish it; they want it to be WORTHY. They want a cover that doesn’t look like a mutant from Mars and words that are spelled right and formatting that’s done properly and a plot that holds together and characters who touch the readers’ hearts.

    And those are the people we have in RWI. That’s what makes our group so different from every other romance writers’ group out there: you have to PROVE that you’re ACTIVELY pursuing a CAREER in romance writing. The “wanna-bes” who find us either become “gonna-bes” really fast or they move on down the road, leaving just the professionals behind.

    And we like it that way. 🙂

    • Love it. “Wanna-bes” and “Gonna-bes” are great ways to describe them.
      But what do you call the ones who have to move on down the road?
      “Never-weres?” 😉

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  5. I think writers definitely need to make time for other things because it makes their writing better. I read books (in and out of the genre I’m writing) because it helps me study the techniques I might want to practice with. I write a blog, to keep up with friends and family (I’m the India member FYI) but also to provide myself with some pressure free writing. Sometimes I get stuck in a particular scene in my WIP and the blog gives me something else to think about while still exercising my “muscle”. I submit my work for critiques because, and this is a big one, sometimes (gasp) other people might be better at finding the places that aren’t working. All of these things are important, and they happen in just about every other profession out there: study, practice, train/mentor. It just makes since that writing would work the same way.

  6. As the sole support of me, I do have to make time for “other” things; my mortgage company insists on it. But I don’t totally ignore my writing; just my dusting and vacumning. Hey, I like dust bunnies.

    As for the the non-starters, the minute they say they want to write a book…when they get time, I just answer with a vague “Oh, really?” The only one I talk writing with is the one who says they’ve been working on….whatever. At least, they’ve already started though it’s amazing how little they’ve researched business. They’re just writing their project without any idea what to do with it once it’s finished. Thank God nurses don’t do that. Imagine getting a nurse who’s never gone to nursing school???

    • I’ve noticed people don’t know HOW to research the business. Or what to look for when they do.
      I think most of us have other things we have to do. Some have such full lives, they just don’t have a lot of time to write. But when they get down to it, look out!
      What they put out is killer!
      I just love knowing people like that.

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