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So what is it about it that I liked so much? It's kinda depressing. It knocked me around a bit, because just like everyone else, I am insecure about my writing. But what I took from it was the "purity" that it expresses. I guess it warmed my feeling that songs should come out, and not be "made". That they come from somewhere outside ourselves, form themselves in us and we are a conduit to let them out At the time I read it, I was working with quite a few pop writers where music was very formulated and there were set patterns to adhere to, and I guess I was rebelling against that too.

But I found it inspiring to know that I did need to do it. I don't have a choice, I have to write. Since then I have been discussing these idea with lots of other writers, and Pete Cunnah, a great writer and producer typed up his rebuttal to this Bukowski poem. It's the truth. Kids eating. Partner asking me questions. I apologize for reading. They all go outside to play. I watch them with the kindle in hand, and read every so often. I was ready to write. I was going to be a best seller. I was going to mimic my new found hero and favorite author, Hugh Howey, and be the best damn writer and most prolific writer that I could be.

I sat in my home office and read every blog post that Hugh wrote. I dissected his interviews. And, I wrote, studied, wrote, studied, and so on from around 10 pm every night to about 2 am. I would then wake up early in the morning, do the parent and work thing, and start the process over again. My first book took me about six months to write. I was going to get this right. One of my books, because of hard work and the wonderful community around me, won first place in a global book award in the Fantasy category.

My goal is to become a full time author, bringing in enough money to support my family and to do what I love — write. To read that someone has had the same thoughts and feelings about writing and becoming an author is uplifting. Thanks for sharing. Thanks a million, Hugh! I read every word and loved it all.

I found my passion late in life but rather than have regrets and convince myself it was too late for me, I dug in and have never had so much fun in my life. One good thing about being older is that after a life of painting and doing photography, I have a tough hide and can take the criticisms I need to learn the craft. Thanks again for sharing! If being a working author were easy, more people would be able to do it. I think I need that tattooed on my forehead, or at least posted on my wall.

I have a short-term memory problem. I have a short term memory problem. I have a probl—. You said this so well. Blessings on your amazing journey. A very-much-needed kick in the pants! Came just at the right time when motivation was low. Time to get serious again. Thank you, good sir! Wow, as always your post have change the way I view the world.

Underwear a crutch? Of course the rest was spot on too. Just let it flow. That was my first foray into the world of the observer. Later, while studying Fine Art my favorite works were line drawings where you never look at the paper, but create the drawing solely based on your observation of the subject. This created the most amazing portraits and was a perfect exercise on focus and letting go of expectations. Later, as an actor, observing people as character studies became a daily habit. All those years of observation are paying off now. This process feels very much like standing backstage waiting for my next cue… and then that deep breath before stepping out into the light, letting go, and being completely in the moment come what may.

Because when this play is over, the lust for the next one begins. And I have a lot more stories waiting for me in the wings. My old dogeared copy is now sitting on my desk. What a brilliant prompt that was! Testing: Oh no!

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Did I lose my whole comment? I started on my wip in while waiting for cancer surgery and will finish first draft in February. Lots of life and medicine in between! Anyway, I have friend who is a gun aficionado.

How to Become a Writer: 12 Baby Steps to Help You Reach Your Goal

I wrote him an email and asked for a profile of a rifle, ammo and sight for my book—shot distance of 2, yards. By the way, why did I need the information? For a sniper shot across the Shenandoah River. It took four email exchanges to convince him it was not a set-up nor a real assassination. Love it. Sales sometimes trickle in when I do free promotions for my short stories, but flatline the rest of the time. Am I persevering if I continue, or just ignoring the writing on the wall? Your first novel will tell you very little about your potential.

Ask the same question about your tenth novel. But persevere only if you enjoy the act of being creative. Hi Dan, I just wanted to encourage you to keep at it. At least your reviews have cred. Keep writing and publishing, I say. I rarely spend too much time thinking about sales. I want enough free time to work on my various projects, and enough freedom that they can be anything I want. I would hate to have to write something just because it would sell.

Barry, I almost envy your lack of interest in sales. As someone who needs the money from my writing, how many books I sell is integral to my peace of mind. When I started writing, I did it for the fun and fulfillment. And probably in that order. I have 6 novels, 31 novellas equaling approximately another 6 full-length novels in word count , am well beyond my million-plus published words, and still nobody knows about me.

I have done blog tours, Facebook promos, Google Adwords, Amazon ads, the works. My books are all highly rated with tons of real reviews from real readers what I never did was pay for reviews and still the general populace is unaware I even exist. Best effin pep talk. Buck up, Buttercup. Writing is, as you say, a very competitive environment to try and make a living.

This is the case in any field where passion comes into play. Competing with such a creature takes a lot of persistence. People get their identities wrapped up into these things and they take failure as a reflection of who they are as a person. They put a lot of effort into the first book and see it fail. By the time they get to three or four or, more likely, well before that point, they hit their pain threshold and start talking like Dan above who may be the only sane person in these comments and quit. Meaningful success, which may not quite be a living wage in this field, will likely come if you have a pain threshold that is much higher than everyone else.

Then, you have a good chance of scraping by. Very interesting point of view. Nobody wants to read about ordinary , mundane people, unless I guess, something extraordinary happens to them, ala Forest Gump. Piracy is no joke , especially where your going. Good Luck. Thank you for sharing. I really needed to hear this.

A few years ago, I decided to give writing everything I had. I would work harder than anyone else I knew, give up sleep, and invest every dime I have in my writing. After reading your thoughts, I feel a little less crazy and hopeful that it will pay off. This is great to read at the start of a new writing year.

One thing that I battled with a lot at the start, and still do at times, is crippling self-doubt. Thanks for the practical inspiration, Hugh! Thank you so much for this post, Hugh. I needed this today. After years of writing, 28 publications including a Kindle Worlds story set in your Silo Saga world!

Your post was the pep talk I needed. On a serious note, I can usually argue with just about anything. I have been at this now for approaching five years, and with 50 novels written and couple million books sold, I still clock 12 hour days, seven days a week. Nobody likes hearing that. It is what it is, and I accepted that truth before I started.

There are plenty of easier ways to go through life and get paid. Russell — Dang! You make it sound like we really have to write. I was counting on a Hugh Howey-like career, where I float around on a beautiful boat and leave my swimming clothes fluttering in the breeze up on the yardarm. Or the mainsail. So much truth in this, and few are willing to believe it until they experience it. Roofing in degree Virginia heat on copper and slate?

Way easier. But nothing has been more satisfying or filled me with a sense of purpose. Like I may have touched another human being on a deep, emotional level. Like I left a mark. A triangular, freestanding gazebo I built in Virginia felt like a sculpture of sorts.

An addition in North Carolina. One roof in particular in Virginia. Great article. I stumbled across your work before I knew your story as a breakout indie writer, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I started off with the idea of long term, so I definitely feel this article. It gets difficult at times to keep going, but articles like this one help out, because quitting is not an option for anyone who wants to make it. From a fan of your work and an aspiring writer, thanks for the kick in the butt. Hugh, Thank you so much for sharing.

I am a new author. I have written off and on my whole life. Six years ago I wrote a story for my kids. That story turned into four and a half that just flowed—no struggle, no pulling teeth. One of the presenters mentioned her publisher was accepting manuscripts.

So you want to be a writer? Essential tips for aspiring novelists

I debated with myself, and finally hit send without telling anyone—not my husband or any of the four kids at home. Needless to say, I was floored when an acceptance email came in. All five of the series was accepted along with a sixth independent book. I am now an author!


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I have learned so much through this year, mainly that it is a welcoming community that works together to help promote each others work. So, I guess my goal is to be able to go full-time writing in That is scary to write. Thanks so much for sharing. I first learned about you when my g. I am now 50, and have decided to commit myself to writing, MFA be damned. I intend to make the year I get a virtual ass slap from H squared too. Thank you for this, Hugh. Exactly what I needed to hear after dreading and postponing editing these past few weeks. Thanks again. More inspiration from Kandi arrived while I was scribbling my comment.

Great stuff, Kandi. Keep up the great work. Along the way he wrote a number of other stories, and made fabulous cover art for many authors. Thanks for the shout out Hugh! The podcast is a joy for me to do each week, and I just hope the audience learns as much as I do. I can only live in one world at a time. Some people are better at switching out than others. I say experiment. Try both systems. See which is more productive for you. Hugh — thank you so much for this post. You should be thinking about it in every spare moment you get.

Thank you, Hugh. Those who do, deserve all the success they can get. Blog every day?


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  6. Thank you for this great post. Have read it twice, and saved it to favorites. The length of the plan, 10 years!!! As a thank you, and because I am curious anout your work now, I will buy one of your books. Any suggestions for a first time Howey reader? As an avid HH reader, I recommend Wool first. However, if you are hooked, just look at the list of works and set forth. Great article! Fun and well-written. Only I take a bit of exception to the MFA slamming.

    Only because I had such a great experience. This is an actual post about how to really write in a sea of babble on the topic. Also, tiny typo in the copy. Plot trumps prose. Working on it. Of all of the articles and tips I have read to help give me inspiration for the future of being a possible author this one here has really made me feel as though I can do it. I am excited to try again! So many times I have felt held back by whatever excuse I come up with to put it off a little while longer!

    Motivation is hard to come by sometimes so thank you for sharing this with us. Easier said than done, all of it, but there is no room for compromise. Thank you for your words, friend, and for the prioritization of their order. Thanks for the encouragement about writing. I just started your book Wool, and you really hooked me into the story immediately.

    Another inspiring post, thanks Hugh! This post is now bookmarked for future nights of staring at blank pages. I actually wrote to you back in May of last year when I was just putting pen to paper for the first time and this blog has been encouraging me along this new path in writing the whole way. Thanks for all the inspiration along the way! What a fabulous piece. Yes, yes, yes to all. Off now to share among my writing network. Thanks a lot for this blog.

    I love your rules for succeeding as a writer because they simply ring true. After decades of wishing to be a writer, I have finally gotten to a point in my life where I have the time and the motivation to do it. I love your advice to write two novels a year for ten years and then see if you are succeeding. Back when I was a college kid wishing to write fiction, there were no blogs, no Internet, and trying to write felt like a solitary, futile endeavor. What a difference forty years makes! I am very sad about this. However, this is a great and inspiring post. Excellent post, thanks for taking the time to share.

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    Unfortunately, I had no idea how to tell it. The playful banter between Val and Al makes this podcast much more engaging and it feels natural for the listener. I've learned so much and managed to meet Allison at two festivals and Val when she generously opened up some mentoring time to listeners of the podcast. For these two, writing isn't just something they do, it's something they love to share and their generosity extends beyond the podcast as they constantly boost those around them to greater heights. Thanks for everything ladies, you're both legends! Listening to Val and Al is an absolute highlight of my week.

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