Sunday, January 25, 2015

10 Things Every Writer Deserves

Happy Sunday, friends! I hope you're enjoying a relaxing day with family and friends.

So I'm taking a break from my Walk the Walk series to have a little fun at PubHub. A few weeks ago I read a post about 10 things every woman deserves to experience. I wish I could remember who wrote it (I've tried to find it back to no avail), but suffice it to say, the article made me smile. And then, later, when I thought I had forgotten all about it, it made me think. The author had catalogued 10 things that she considered inalienable rights (or at least, icing on the cake of life), and though I didn't agree with everything she said, I appreciated the humanity in her post. These sometimes silly declarations were heart-deep desires that affirmed both her femininity and her worth. She believed everyone should experience the way these things made her feel appreciated and loved. Oddly enough, the blog post got me thinking about things that every writer deserves. This industry is a tilt-a-whirl of expectations, hopes, and dreams (both dashed and achieved), and in the midst of all the madness, there are a few things that make every moment worthwhile.

My list of 10 things that every writer deserves:

  1. A great place to write. Whether it’s a favorite coffeeshop, a comfy chair, or your grandfather’s heirloom desk, you deserve a place that is home for your artistic soul.
  2. Music that inspires. You don’t necessarily have to write to music, but I think everyone can agree that music touches something deep inside of us that can’t be duplicated by any other experience on earth. You need an anthem. An album. Something that stirs you up and makes you fly. That frees you up to write beautiful, meaningful, transformational things.
  3. An audience. We write because we want to communicate, right? Because we have something to say... and we don’t want to whisper it in a vacuum. You deserve an audience for your work. One person or one million, it doesn’t matter. As long as someone is engaging with you, the dialogue has begun.
  4. A fan. Someone out there is going to think you’re brilliant, and you deserve a cheerleader. Find that person (or that community) and take their words to heart. There will be enough criticism and negativity surrounding your work--especially if you have something important to say. You deserve to bask in a little sunshine.
  5. A good editor. Face it, your work isn’t going to be perfect, and the person who will likely impact your writing the most is an editor. If you have a good one, an editor who understands your vision and appreciates your unique voice, they will push, challenge, and help you grow.
  6. A great collection of the tools of the trade. I love my computer, but if I’m ever stumped, moved, or inspired, I grab a pen and paper. There’s something intimate and powerful about writing the old fashioned way, and anyone who has words tattooed on their soul can testify to the incomparable satisfaction of handwritten thoughts. You deserve paper that is rich and lovely, pens or pencils that perfectly capture your unique signature.
  7. Books. I love my local library, and my friends lend me books all the time, but I have a huge collection myself. And I need them. So do you. You deserve to surround yourself with the books that have made a difference in your life. To reread passages at will, sink into your favorite armchair and get lost.
  8. Time. Our lives are busy and it’s easy to get swept up in the day-to-day. But writing takes time. It takes moments of quiet and solitude, and whether or not people understand our need for space and long stretches of time alone, we need to guard those interludes. It may look like we’re doing nothing, but worlds are unfurling behind our eyes.
  9. A break. We are human after all, and a little distance, a little perspective, can be a game changer. Whether it’s a day or a year, every writer deserves a break. A bit of time when we can collect experiences like stones that we’ll later build into the castles of our daydreams.
  10. A detractor. Yuck, right? It would be great if everyone loved my work and thought I was a genius, but if that was the case I’d never grow. We all need someone to scoff at our work. Not because we’re masochists, but because criticism makes us stronger. It helps us identify weaknesses in our writing and ultimately helps us become better writers.

That's my list, friends. Is there anything you'd add? Anything you disagree with? I'd love to hear what you have to say!



  1. Love this post! I definitely agree to the fan thing... if I know at least one person loves my work, it motivates me to carry on. Really good list :)

    ~ Han

  2. Me, too! Sometimes all it takes is an encouraging email in my inbox to keep me writing. Write on! :-)

  3. 11. A subject they are passionate in.

    I just wrote a blog regarding a scientific breakthrough, published in Nature magazine, upon which my novel Blood Ties is based. I love reading and writing about near-time science fiction, and when you take a story forward and real life catches up with you, it is very exciting.

    1. Great add, Kevin. I totally agree. Two of my biggest passions came out in my upcoming release, THE BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS: human trafficking and Africa. I didn't even intend to include them... Guess that's what happens when an issue means something to you. Thanks so much for commenting!

    2. PS - BLOOD TIES sounds fantastic!

  4. I love this list! These are probably the top 10 things most important to me too. I would add Scrivener to tools of the trade--it has made my plotting process so much easier!

    1. I really should give Scrivener a go. I have always resisted these types of technology, my thinking being "what can't I do in Word?"

    2. Scrivener is fantastic. As a plotter, it allows me to do chapter-by-chapter and scene-by-scene organization, including summaries so I can plan things out ahead of time. Labels, notes to self, meta-data, and a lot more make it an organizational heaven. It's easy to edit and move things around, and the multiple panes is fantastic for this too. It also has a very minimal full-screen mode for distraction-free writing.

      I'm in love, obviously. If you're interested, you can try out their free trial.

    3. I've never tried Scrivner either... But you're rather convincing! Thanks for the info!