Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Ten Things You Should Know If You Want To Be A Writer

Let me say right off the bat that this is my personal take on what you should know if you want to be a writer . I originally put this post of Facebook when I had a bad day and just wanted to vent, and I was so surprised with the response I got. I never expected it to touch a note with other people, but it did. I have had many people email me to tell me that they really needed to read what I said that day, so I thought I would post it here and expand a bit. I think sometimes we don't discuss enough the hardships of being a writer and new writers can doubt themselves and question why their experience is not as wonderful as everyone else's.

The day after I posted my original post on Facebook the sales of the book that had gotten me down, took off, and it was with poignant clarity that I realized how true number 3 on my list really was.

Here is my advice if you want to be a writer:

1. Be prepared to feel elated one moment and despairing the next. 
2. Be prepared to be told you are a creative genius in one moment and then the next that you don't have the amount of talent in your body to equal a grain of salt.
3. Be prepared for great sales days and days where you wonder if you will ever sell another book again.
4. Be prepared to work relentlessly, but love almost every single moment of it.
5. Be prepared to fight for your dream because I promise you someone will come along and suggest you get a real job.
6. Be prepared to get a second job to keep your dream alive
7. Be prepared to be your own worst enemy and somehow find the strength to send your book out to people despite the fear.
8. Be prepared to have someone write you and tell you that you got them through the hardest time in their life. (I promise it will happen) Then carry the utter joy and weight of that with you from that day forward every time you write.
9. Be prepared to be strong and resilient for only those two things can sustain you.
10. Be prepared to stay true to your vision or don't bother writing.

This list, as I said, is my opinion. Are you a writer or do you want to be a writer? If so, do you have things you would add to my list? Or if you are not a writer, maybe you have a list like this for you job or something important in your life. I'd love to hear about it! I'm giving away an ecopy of my September 29 release My Fair Duchess. And I'm also giving away an ecopy of my September 16 release From the Ballroom and Beyond. Two people will be chosen at random as winners. All you have to do is comment and leave your name and email. This giveaway will run through September 30!



For the month of September, Southern Magic celebrates their Readers Luncheon being held November 1 in Birmingham, AL. NYT bestselling author Sylvia Day is the keynote speaker.  Come back and visit every day. Each post will be giving away a book or gift card! At the end of the blogfest, a grand prize winner of a Kindle Fire HD will be picked from everyone who comment during the month and be announced September 30.

To register for the luncheon, go to http://southernmagic.org/luncheon.html. Each attendee will receive a bag of books and author swag, sit at a table with one or two published authors, and opportunities to win baskets full of goodies.

Julie Johnstone is a best-selling author of Regency Romance and the author of a new urban fantasy/paranormal romance book. She’s been a voracious reader of books since she was a young girl. Her mother would tell you that as a child Julie had a rich fantasy life made up of many different make believe friends. As an adult, Julie is one of the lucky few who can say she is living the dream by working with her passion of creating worlds from her imagination. When Julie is not writing she is chasing her two precocious children around, cooking, reading or exercising. Julie loves to hear from her readers. You can send her an email at juliejohnstoneauthor@gmail.com or find her at www.juliejohnstoneauthor.com, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/authorjuliejohnstone or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/juliejohnstoneauthor or at twitter @juliejohnstone.


38 comments:

Cari Hislop said...

I think that's a pretty darn good list!

As a fellow historical romance author I'd also add; If no one you know reads your genre (or almost none of them) and some hint (the rest just think) that you're wasting your life because you're not writing what the world denotes as great literature - ignore them all and follow your heart (even if that means NOT sharing your stories with the people you love best).

It's stunning how fast our hearts can be ripped from our chests unintentionally by well meaning friends and relatives. I haven't been able to have children so maybe I over invest emotionally in my brain children, but they're more real than some real people (to me). I understand strangers not understanding that, but people close to me? The mind boggles.

Speaking of characters...another for the list : Be prepared to empathise with schizophrenics! Demanding people who don't exist will start chattering in your head at inconvenient moments (just when you're thinking/doing anything, but writing) because they can. ;)

cari at thehislops dot co dot uk

Julie Johnstone said...

Cari,

Those are great ones to add to the list! I've has so many people I know unintentionally, I'm sure, make cracks about what I write. And don't even get me started on the characters that talk in my head!

Naima Simone said...

What a great list, Julie. I loved it. And they're all true. I needed to read this today myself, so thank you! I have a couple to add:

*Be prepared to sometimes start over, but realize failure doesn't determine who you are or the caliber of writer you are. It's getting up and persevering that determine both.

*Be prepared to see other authors have phenomenal success while you still plug along. But don't surrender to the urge to compare. Because we all travel this journey at different paces and speeds but it doesn't mean we won't endure or finish the race.

Loved this post!

Julie Johnstone said...

Naima,

Fabulous, fabulous additions! I definitely need to add both of those! I cannot tell you how many times I thought by book was brilliant only to have my editor say "this is a good start!" And back to the keyboard I went, grinding my teeth and cursing, while loving, my editor!

Amy Hart said...

When I was younger I wanted to be a writer. I was ALWAYS daydreaming! Now as a mom of three, and READING as a hobby I just don't feel like I'd have time even if I wanted to. I am a little on the lazy side. Plus I tend to over think things and second guess myself. Reading makes me happy, and less stressed. I am sure writing CAN be stressful as well as rewarding. I know I thoroughly enjoy reading your works.

Jillian said...

great list! So true!

Julie Johnstone said...

Amy,

Writing can be stressful but rewarding just like being a mom!! I'm so glad you enjoy reading my books! Hopefully, it takes a little of the mommy stress away! Also, if you ever do decide you want to try your hand at writing remember all writers over think and second guess! Or at least I do!

Julie Johnstone said...

Thanks, Jillian!

Rita Bay said...

I'm always amazed and humbled at authors' commitment to writing. I started writing after I retired early (if you consider 25 years early). I'm occasionally embarrassed at my minor complaints about time and place for writing when I see so many authors working full time with families. The one writing story that impresses most, however, was the writer who came home from work, took care of home and children, then retired to the closet floor to write after midnight. Don't remember her name, but she has been an inspiration whenever self-pity knocks at the door.

Charlotte said...

Hi Julie, I love your list of be prepared. I write for my family and friends and naturally they have to say they love what I write or they don't get their favorite meals when they come to my home for dinner. Ha ha. All kidding aside, I know how much courage it takes to put your work out their and accept what comes. I am a song writer and I work with a team so when I submit my lyrics and see what can happen to them, I cringe. I also have a difficult time of letting go of my original work; therefore, I have had to grow several thick layers over my heart. Thank you for your thoughts;they are very encouraging. Perhaps I will someday write for a different audience. I'm looking forward to reading your work. I love historical romance.

Rhonda Kirby said...

Great suggestions and advice. I think this list could also be applied towards other fields besides writing. I love your books.

Charlotte said...

I forgot to leave my name and email address. Charlotte Phillips
baxleychar@yahoo.com

Julie Johnstone said...

Rita,

I too find inspiration in so many writers and what they do to keep writing and become published! There is so much hard work and dedication that goes into the craft!

Julie Johnstone said...

Hi, Charlotte.

I am in awe of song writers! I can't even read music, which I think is one of my biggest regrets that I plan to take care of! I imagine song writers and novel writers need about the same amount of tough, super thick skin, so that we will keep going in the face of criticism! I'm so glad you like historical romance! I hope you enjoy my books!

Julie Johnstone said...

Hi, Rhonda.

This list could definitely be applied toward other fields! I always get a warm, fuzzy feeling when someone tells me they love my books, so thank you, thank you!

evasmommy said...

So fun to hear your perspective. I am in awe of anyone who can write.

Julie Johnstone said...

Thanks, evasmomma! I'm so glad you stopped by Romance Magicians!

Debbie Mccreary said...

What a list! While reading it, all I could think of is that I am glad you still write Julie!

Julie Johnstone said...

Ah, Debbie! Nothing could make me give up writing. It's in my blood. And in the end, I do it for the readers and every time I connect with someone who has been touched by my books I know it's all worth it!

bn100 said...

Not a writer, but the list could be helpful in almost any job

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Sally said...

Thanks for the chance to win. I want to write a book one day. I had tried to start one a few years ago and then lost interest in the whole thing. One thing I would add as a rule is to always have paper and pen on hand because I lost some good thoughts before that I couldn't remember all the way and then I tossed the whole idea because it made no sense without the whole thought. And the motivation to actually get to writer status is important before getting into these other great rules.

Julie Johnstone said...

bn100,

Very true! Thanks for stopping by!

Julie Johnstone said...

Sally,

Very true! I keep a paper in my purse to write on and I use my phone a great deal to jot ideas! I hope you give writing another try! Good luck!!

Alicia Coleman said...

Great list! Thank you for the inspiration. I'm printing your list along with some of the other comments and post them next to my computer. Whenever I feel discouraged, this list will help me stick the path and reach my goal of publication.

Crystal Benedict said...

Awesome post from an awesome Author! Thanks for sharing the interesting insight :)

Lesia said...

I too, am glad you are still writing. I have enjoyed all your books I've read so far. I loved My Fair Duchess, and Bargaining With A Rake!

Julie Johnstone said...

Thanks, Crystal!

I'm so glad you stopped by!

Julie Johnstone said...

Alicia,

I'm so glad it inspired you!

Julie Johnstone said...

Aww, Leisa,

Thank you so much! I love writing so much! There have been tough times, but there have been many wonderful times, as well!

Patty Denke said...

I mostly enjoy reading...I wrote three books...two were very limited distribution. I think my mom has a copy, my grandma, and I have a couple, plus a couple libraries...now why? the other had a limited press run and sold out. I guess more people wanted a copy of The Mosquitoes Of Wyoming than wanted a copy of (if I can remember right) The Correlation of Certain biotic and Abiotic Variables with Aedes (Diptera:Culicidae) species distribution in the Northern Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, which was more popular than Elevational Distribution of Aedes and Culex (Diptera: Culicidae) species in Albany and Carbon Counties Wyoming. :-}
I just had to say that!

Patty Denke said...

I fogot ~ I have the anthology..
Email pattydenke@aol.com

lisascrapbooker said...

As an avid, my husband would say rabid, reader, I am grateful for every one of the authors I have read and all those I have yet to read! I admire your courage to put yourself out there and share your dreams with all of us! Thank you for the mini vacations you supply us with.

lisascrapbooker at yahoo dot com

Julie Johnstone said...

Lisa,

You are so welcome! And thank you for being an avid reader!!

Callie James said...

Hi, Julie. Sorry for the late comment. Work has been crazy this week and I'm just now getting to read this week's posts (at 3am). I saw this list when you posted on Facebook, and yes, I was raising my hand in agreement with all of it. I've been on that same emotional roller coaster with writing and also my day job. It's definitely exhausting, and sometimes despair can get the best of us. I LOVED this post. :)

Julie Johnstone said...

Callie,

I'm impressed you read thus so late. I'm glad my post resonated with you! Lucily, there are enough high days in writing to overcome the lows! Plus, you know as well as I do that when it's your passion there is simply no quitting.

Shadow said...

What a great post! The advice is definitely something to take into consideration. Ive always thought about writing but im not really one for it. Im not great with the imagination but i do love to read others works! I love books! lol Ive talked with some authors and they feel and agree with what youve said. Hmm. How about adding this one to your list? "Some characters will drive you nuts and nag you till you write there story. Prepare to get no sleep." lol Thanks for sharing!

Julie Johnstone said...

That's a great one to add Shadow!

Shadow said...

lol ;) I remember a few authors talk about this one!