humor / writers / writing

#AuthorToolboxBlogHop: Tricks of Being a Writer

I’m excited to be part of Raimey Gallant’s #AuthorToolbox monthly blog hop (third Wednesday of each month) with the theme of resources/learning for authors. Post are related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful. We share our experiences as it relates to these topics. Interviews are also permitted as long as they provide valuable knowledge for authors (i.e. advice.) Straight book reviews are not permitted unless they are reviews of books about writing/publishing/etc.

This month: Tricks of Being a Writer

At times, writing seems impossible. I wonder if I have what it takes or if there’s some critical piece I’m missing that means it just won’t ever happen. I do a lot of the right things–

  • I read, a lot.
  • I’m observant.
  • I’m a loner (or, the flip side–I don’t mind being alone).
  • I bloom where I’m planted.

But is that enough? I went in search of other traits friends who I consider successful writers have that might inform me in my endless quest to succeed in a craft that few can. I found that more is required to become that person who can proudly, eruditely consider themselves a writer:

  1. Writers have a selective memory–they forget the bad stuff people say and remember the good. Otherwise, it’s depressing.
  2. Writers are conversant with their muse. Anywhere, at any time, on any subject. It doesn’t matter. When s/he starts talking, writers listen.
  3. Writers are tethered to their voicemail in case that Big Call from an agent comes through. If there is no call, they check the machine to be sure it’s plugged in and working properly.
  4. Writers understand the importance of taking a break to do something fun, like read a book. If they are one of those unlucky folk who get writer’s block, this will suffice.
  5. Writers never show fear in front of their computer. It’s like a dog–it smells our distress. It’ll then do nasty things like eat your manuscript or freeze in the middle of a scene.
  6. Writers embrace the words of Winston Churchill: “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”.
  7. Writers can be categorized as plants or sharks. Plants take whatever life throws at them, hoping to survive long enough to publish. Sharks never stop moving, always hunting. Successful writers are sharks.
  8. You can tell a lot about a writer by the way he/she handles three things: rejection, fame, and a change in their schedule.
  9. Talking about a WIP is almost like writing it, but not as frightening
  10. In golf, one of 14 clubs has to be the right decision. In writing, all 14 are wrong because readers want unique.
  11. Don’t judge a writer by what he does between the lines.
  12. Writers believe in the impossible, in miracles, and in Santa Claus. They will spend hours trying to literarily square the circle and consider it time well spent.
  13. To rephrase Voltaire: No problem can stand the assault of sustained thinking from a writer.
  14. Where the engineer thinks of his equations as an approximation to reality, and the physicist thinks reality is an approximation to his equations, the writer thinks it doesn’t matter if the prose are elegant.

And #15: The most prevalent trait: We are dreamers, positive thinkers, and don’t know how to quit even if it would be in our best interests. That above all else is part of the heart and soul of so many writers I admire.

How about you? What makes you a writer even if your day job title is Accountant?

More about writers:

My Writing Style Doesn’t Work

How to Talk to a Writer

You are not Superwoman

I’m a Failed Writer (Well, Yuvi Thinks… doesn’t really ‘think’ that–Never Mind–just watch the videos)

14 Things Writers Do Before 8am


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for TeachHUB and NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, The Quest for Home, Fall 2019. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning

108 thoughts on “#AuthorToolboxBlogHop: Tricks of Being a Writer

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  4. All good points in your blog post, Jacqui. Right away, #1 hit me. Forgetting the rejections and the heartbreak when not even getting a submission accepted in a contest is pretty tough to do. But # 15 sums it all up–dreamers. I dream about my books making a difference in people’s lives, so I write on, hoping one day a person will be inspired, entertained, informed by what I have written.
    JQ Rose

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Whoa. I consider myself a writer, so I half laughed and half groaned through your list. I enjoy my aloneness, prefer it often, so I can sit at the computer and try to put the square peg in the round hole. Sometimes it even works! I’m a positive thinker and spend my time reading (lots) and writing (lots) and don’t worry about that phone call. I decided to forego the agent – too nerve-racking and demeaning – and to go with my instinct and gut when I publish. Like you said – a positive thinker! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a great word for agents–demeaning. When I sit at conferences and the panel of agents explain how busy they are so we shouldn’t expect timely responses or even polite ones, it turns me off. They make the decision to make my own path easy.


  6. Great post, I loved reading these. Humourous and encouraging at the same time. I think what (maybe) makes me a writer is because writing is instinctual, it’s something I do as natural and consistently as breathing. Not to say that everything I write it worth something. Even before I was capable of storytelling I used to sit and copy out my childhood books because I just loved the sensation of writing. But I definitely need to be more shark. Love the quote about success being failiaure after failure without losing enthusiasm. I’m racking up a fair few.

    Great read, as always.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I know too many plants, and they’ll never succeed. They are so attached to one story and never move on. Just hit the publish button, people!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jacqui, an inspirational post with words of wisdom, mixed with amusing tips. Writers just have to listen to that muse and point five is so true alas! I still remember the day I thought I’d lost my manuscript! Your down to earth alive makes it easy for all writers to relate to this post and ensures we believe it is possible! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Losing a manuscript might be more than any of these tips could get beyond. That is horrid.

      It took me forever to friend you on LinkedIn because of my lost computer and then my broken one. I’m nominally back and hope to stay that way!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jacqui, at least I found the ms again and instantly started using all your fail-safe devices of emailing to myself, saving on cloud etc. When my son was finishing a huge piece of course work my daily refrain was ‘have you saved everything?’

        Many thanks for befriending o LinkedIn … I’m trying to sort out some of my other social sites and realised I’ve left this one to gather dust. Are you getting a new computer soon? It can’t be easy having neither that nor a laptop. Best of luck with your tech problems and hope they sort soon.


  9. Fun post 🙂
    I have a selective memory, but it’s more about forgetting anything I’m not interested in than anything bad ^^” (And my voicemail is permanently unplugged as I don’t do phones xD)
    I think what makes me a writer is I never stop daydreaming. My characters, and other people’s characters, follow me everywhere!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Jacqui – excellent ideas … all so right and ones we need to remember in daily life too – people so often haven’t allowed themselves to explore what we can do – I fell into that category till I started blogging. Two things you mentioned … opening our eyes and trying out things, as too always being positive … just being upbeat on a day to day basis – people will always engage because we energise them … and are not imparting negative ideas, or putting them down … thanks for this – great tips. Cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

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