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Things Writers Know

writing

Most important thing writers know: Writers gotta write.

  1. Writers know submission guidelines matter, even if the guidelines make absolutely no fucking sense. They want you to send your story in Comic Sans? You send it to them in Comic Sans.
  2. Writers know they can’t edit their own work.
  3. Writers know everyone is a potential character. When they speak with people, they’re often paying extra attention to dialog and expressions.
  4. If there are strange dynamics going on between friends or colleagues, a writer will pick up on that. And think about how to put it in her book.
  5. If someone says something extremely witty or profound, a writer might steal it. When I do it, I usually tell people about that. It makes them happy.
  6. Writers know Scrivener is the best program for novel writing. Non-writers typically haven’t heard of Scrivener, unless they know writers.
  7. Writers know that editing is a sober process.
  8. They also know, in spite of the stereotypes, most writers aren’t addicts.
  9. Some are, though.
  10. Writers know “Being a Writer” consists of much more work than just writing. Writing is part of the battle. The other 85% of the battle is not as much fun, it takes up an incredible amount of time, and almost none of our non-writer friends can empathize or understand this.
  11. Writers know getting rejections hurts, but it’s kind of like relationships. The first one makes you feel like killing yourself. The tenth one makes you feel like killing the editor. Throughout the course of writing (and, hopefully, relationships), writers develop confidence. We get acceptances, and the rejections become easier to take. It gets easier to put blame on someone else, or accept the blame ourself.
  12. We fail a lot, and we are often to blame. I haven’t done the count, but my estimate is that I publish about 20% of what I write. I don’t know if that’s high or low, compared to other writers, because…
  13. Writers like to talk about success.
  14. Writers read in a writerly way. I edit and learn as I go: “Wow, that was a really good way to describe her nose. This sentence is way too long. Holy crap, they should’ve foreshadowed this better…Holy crap, they foreshadowed this well and I still didn’t see it coming!” I’m analyzing word choices, sentence structure…After I published my first novel, I sat down, read a book, and realized I was reading differently. I mentioned this to a writer. She said, “Yeah. That never goes away.”
  15. Writers know it’s sometimes really fun to talk about writing, but can also be kind of annoying. Usually, if we want to talk about what we’re working on, we’d prefer to initiate the conversation. Similarly, if we want you to read our works in progress, we’ll ask you to.
  16. Writers know it means a lot when their friends read their stuff. It kinda hurts when good friends don’t bother.
  17. Writers know this statement is false: “I would love to write, I just don’t have any free time.”
    There is no, “I would love to write.” You either love to write, or you don’t, but don’t bitch about your lack of free time. You love to write? You make time.

What am I missing? What else do writers know?

xoxo
Sadey

photo credit: Austin Kleon

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