I Want To Be A Paperback Writer…. by Nancy Brophy

I received an email last week, along with my entire RWA chapter asking what writing books have helped along the path. While I did not respond, others did. Each time a new title was listed, emotions swelled. It was like waving to an old friend.

Everyone thinks they have a novel in them. No, make that a best seller. But they don’t. Because they underestimate the skill good writing takes.

Now only is it difficult to find the time to get the words on the page, it is even harder to get them in the right order.

Most people spend years learning the craft. We’ve studied books, taken classes, entered contests,  and forced our friends and family into reading rough drafts. Critique groups have shaped one or more novels. We’ve storyboarded, plotted, cut and pasted, edited and re-edited.

Personally I’ve met for dinner and drinks (not in that order) with my writing friends and felt very Hemingway-esque. However, I’ve also discovered that while drinking may have worked for Hemingway and numerous others, it hasn’t as of yet worked for me. Rats.

So what have I learned?

There are a lot of ways to look busy and not write.

Sometimes you have to slay your inner demons by giving them to one of your characters.

Well-meaning friends and family all have an opinion, but your words are your words. You have to have the confidence to bend in the wind without whirling like a weather vane. Trust me, everyone I know would have written that last sentence differently. And if asked, would tell me. Since I’m not planning to change it, I don’t inquire.

Every writing book has taught me something about story arc, character development, conflict, character emotion, layering, editing and time management. But the basic thing I’ve learned is that all the knowledge in the world doesn’t get words on the page. The only solution for that, regardless of where you are on the continuum of your writing career, is to put your butt in a chair, hunch over your computer and…

Write. Write. Write.


Posted on June 3, 2013, in General and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Good post Nancy. You are right on. We learn much more from the doing than the reading about doing.


  2. Hi Nancy,

    I want to be a paperback writer too! Even though I’m not an active writer right now, the dream still burns bright within me. I’m glad to be with my author friends and celebrate in their achievements. One day I will join them…


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