This Writer's Life · Writing

What Kind of Writer Do You Want to Be?

Many years ago, before the age of the internet, I was a great reader. As a writer, I used to envy particular authors the amount of books they had published. I would always make it a habit to look at the list of books a particular author had produced and whenever I saw a long list, I couldn’t help but envy them their output. That was the kind of writer I wanted to be.

These days, I would still love to be a prolific writer, but recently as I have taken a step back from social media, I have begun to look at things a bit differently. There is a life outside of writing; we have other interests, perhaps employment and a family and household to take care of. There is a lot of talk from ‘experts’ of what we writers should and shouldn’t do; that the only way to be successful is to keep on running on that hamster wheel.

Yes, there is a lot of good information out there; however, we also need to be aware of what kind of writers we really are. The majority of the conversation tends to be on writing novels, but not everyone can write one. A few years back I read a blog post from an indie author that basically said that writing short stories may be ‘fun’ but they are no way to build a ‘successful’ writing career. Now I get where this author was coming from, but this statement still managed to irk me. Who is to say that a short story writer cannot be successful? Besides, everyone’s idea of success is different, just like we are. What works for one person does not necessarily mean it will work for another.

The disadvantage to the internet is that there can be too much information out there, which is why it is important to take a step back occasionally. I was always one to devour blog posts from other writers, yet I felt the need to cut down on that too. It would appear I am not the only one feeling like my head is spinning from all that noise. Recently, author and blogger Kristen Lamb wrote a blog post stating that in this new age of publishing we have options – that it’s okay to take our time.

James Scott Bell had this to say recently on how to avoid burnout:-

The pressure comes when the writer who wants to make good dough at this thing (even a living) realizes that the only “formula” is to keep producing quality work at a steady pace. Notice that word, steady. I believe this is the key to avoiding writer burnout. Every writer has a sweet spot where production meets life and stays on its side of the fence.

I’ve found that spending less time on social media has been liberating and is gradually renewing my love for writing. As I’m unpublished, I have found social media has been great for networking and blogging has improved my writing skills, but now it’s time to take a step back and really focus on my stories. I want to go back to basics and do some courses (yes, I’m looking at you James Patterson) and brush up on my craft. As much as I’ve always wanted to be a prolific writer, I have also wanted my writing to be quality. As Mr Bell says, quality work at a steady pace.

Some authors may only produce one book or half a dozen in their lifetime, but their stories can create an impact upon their readers for generations to come (Jane Austen, the Brontes and Harper Lee to name a few).

If I could have a loyal fan base that felt that my writing was worth the wait, I’ll be a very happy writer. Anything else would be a bonus. 😉

Are you frustrated with all the advice out there? What kind of writer do you want to be? Have you felt the need to take a step back from the internet? What is your idea of success? Have you suffered from burnout?

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Main image courtesy of Pixabay

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14 thoughts on “What Kind of Writer Do You Want to Be?

  1. I feel completely burnt out by social media, but it seems that if I take a break I miss the next writing opportunity or connection. So I push on. I want to write full time and not have to worry about anything else, but I can’t. I have learned this year that I need to make more time for writing if I want to get anything done, or more so than before. YET, need to make time for me too, so basically my house is not the cleanest I’d like haha.

    1. Hi Savannah. I hear you! It’s certainly is a bit of a balancing act between writing time and time with social media. My house may not be the cleanest either and I envy those people who appear as though they’re living in a display home. For me, it’s only when I get to admire that antique dust that I feel the need to do something. 😉

  2. Short stories are great — a lot of readers don’t have the time to read a full novel, but a short story (especially an anthology) will keep them hooked. I’m still working on my novels, but my short stories are selling, so that’s where most of my focus is right now. Personally I don’t believe that there is something like an inferior length (like a lot of people believe genre is below literary fiction), I believe in story: write a quality story and readers will adore you. Happy writing 🙂

    1. Hi Ronel. Congratulations! I’m so glad to hear that your stories are selling. I’m working on a longer project right now, but my short stories are still important as I am looking at self publishing them. I completely agree with you on story; that’s what we really should focus on. Happy writing to you too! 🙂

  3. Hello, Debbie. Oh my gosh, yes–there is sooo much advice for writers out there. It arrives in my inbox in a steady stream. Do I read it all? If I did, I’d have no time to write. And yet, I sometimes worry I’m missing some key nugget that will catapult me forward. Ah well, I try not to get sucked in by FOMO and just keep writing. Good article!

    1. Hi Rhonda and thank you! As an unpublished writer, I’ve always wanted to learn as much as I can about both the craft and the marketing side of things, so I never wanted to miss out on anything either. But it’s just too much and I think now is the right time for me to take a step back and just write. Happy writing to you and thanks for stopping by. It’s good to meet you. 🙂

  4. I evaluate my writing goals every time I start a new project. Because I follow my heart and write wherever it leads, I land up all over the place. The only consistency is it will include a mystery of some kind. Media fuels my creativity though. I doubt I’ll ever give it up completely.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    1. Hi Anna. That sounds like me! Because I have a few novels that need re-writing, I couldn’t decide on which one to go with. In the end I decided to go with the one that called to me the most (and I’ve always got to have some kind of mystery or suspense). I haven’t completely given up on social media either as I need the interaction; I’m just using it a lot less. 😉

  5. I have been a lover of reading since I was a child and I still am. I also want to be a prolific writer and I’m thankful that I discovered that you have to be a steady writer, meaning choosing a standard and rising up to that standard and staying there. That’s what I try to do with every article or story I write. So, I don’t blog often, but when I do, I want to blog a quality article and not just blog because I want to get something out there.
    Great article, Debbie. It is so important to know who you are and where you want to go and to have a plan of how you want to get there. That takes away a lot of the stress.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

    1. Hi Patricia and thank you! I agree about writing quality when it comes to blogging – it can take me days just to do one (being a perfectionist certainly doesn’t help). I’m still trying to be a steady writer, but I agree that having a plan helps you to focus and achieve your goals. Thanks for stopping by. Happy writing! 🙂

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