April 16, 2012

writing YOUR way

Still out of town. So here’s a post I wrote in February of last year:

Over the past few days, I've been reading several "Writer How To" posts on various blogs. They give lists of "do this" and "don't do that." For a while, I believed these posts. I believed I wasn't really a writer unless I was doing these things and avoiding those things. I can tell you right now...

There is no right or wrong way to be a writer.

You don't have to have an MFA from some prestigious school. You don't have to have years of writing experience below your belt before becoming published. You don't have to have an agent to get published. You don't have to go to conferences to meet agents. You don't have to blog or tweet or facebook if you don't want to. You don't have to write a book every six months. You don't have to follow anyone's writing advice if it doesn't mesh with you. You don't have to write outlines. You don't have to write by the seat of your pants.

The truth of the matter is, as long as you are writing, you are a writer. It doesn't matter if you write fifty words a day between school, changing diapers, and cooking dinner, or if you write five-thousand words in a three hour stretch every morning before work. It doesn't matter if you write with pen and paper or use a word processor or a fancy program like Scrivener. It doesn't matter if you write for your children, for yourself, for money, or for your cat.

There are obvious things that will help you along the way of course: having beta readers and critique partners, knowing how to write a query, knowing who to query, and having a master of the English language.

The beauty of being a writer is that you can create your own path. You don't have to drink lemonade or listen to opera while writing because it worked for someone else. You can write while watching television. You can write on the subway. You can write when the mood strikes. There isn't a right or wrong way to write as long as you are writing. So don't let the lists and the "how to" posts get you down when you feel like you aren't living up to their standards. Those are someone else's standards, not yours. Make your own goals, your own standards, your own path, and you'll be just as much a writer as R.L. Stine and William Faulkner.


And this goes for things I might say too. When I give advice on my blog, I’m merely saying what worked for me. It might work for you too, or it might not. And for posterity’s sake:

What works for you?

Your way might help someone else discover their way.

Happy writing!


  1. So true, Brooke--I think writers can learn from one another, and from others' successful methods. But I cringe when I see a writer say "Such and such successful author did X, so I am, too." People are unique--that author did what worked for them, they didn't discover a magic writing bullet!