So You Want to Be a Real Writer

Writer Wordart

Writer Wordart (Photo credit: MarkGregory007)

You want to be a REAL writer? Well, I’m just the person who can tell you how to do it.


Actually, I’m not sure anyone can tell you how to be a real writer–except to tell you a real writer, um, writes. But everybody does it differently.

Some writers have day jobs and write at night. Others write full time. Still others do a little from Column A and a little from Column B.

Some make a complete and extensive outline that’s so long, it’s a short first draft, others just get an idea, sit down at the computer and go for it.

When I think about the rules in writing, a little voice inside me goes, “Rules? We don’t need no stinkin’ rules!”  And to a degree, that’s true. There are very few hard and fast rules.

I’ll share the ones I’ve gathered along the way with you–

  1. If you’re listening to a speaker (in person, online, reading an article) and he/she tells you, “in writing, this is the only way to  . . . (fill in the blank)” stop reading or listening right then. I’ve even heard it said the listener should run, not walk, out of the room.
  2. In writing, the only way to get published . . . (Wait! Don’t run away. Please!!!) is to submit. It just makes sense, doesn’t it? To sell a piece, poem or manuscript, somebody else has to read it. And that person has to have buying power.
  3. This is not a hard and fast rule (just logic) but a writer should probably be a reader. Or at least know how to read. Comes in handy when you’re doing revisions.
  4. This IS a hard and fast rule (and not original from me, by any means–but anything I know, I’ve learned from someone else, so nothing I tell you is original. Wait. I’m lost now. What was I talking about?) Don’t bore the reader.

Don’t bore the reader.


Which is to say–

  • Keep the story moving.
  • Don’t beat a dead horse.
  • Believe your readers are smart enough to understand your concept without belaboring the fact.

You’ll hear lots of other faux-rules as you learn the craft, such as, “To a writer, a day without writing is like a day without oxygen.” Or, “If a sentence has more than 140 characters, it’s too long.”

But those aren’t rules. They’re suggestions or ways the speaker has made writing work for them. Just like there are no two people who have identical fingerprints, no two writers write the same way.

And aren’t we glad for that? If two people wrote the exact same way, then one of them would be unnecessary. Wouldn’t they? 🙂

So . . . I have a question for you. If any of y’all who read this have been writing any time at all (I don’t mean just published. I mean anyone who’s been writing and learning the craft for a while) come on over to Facebook and answer a question in a message to me .

Here’s the question I want you to answer–

What advice would your experienced self give your beginner self if you were bitten by the writing bug today.

But remember, don’t answer here. Go to my Facebook page (Susan Spess Shay) and leave me a message.



Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s