Wednesday, March 9, 2011

8 Questions Every Writer Must Ask Themselves

  1. How much passion do I feel for the genre I’m currently writing?

  2. Am I resilient enough to handle rejection and long waits?

  3. What do I expect out of this journey, including what are my expectations of those I come across along the way?

  4. Do I take myself seriously as a writer?

  5. How willing am I to learn and grow as a writer?

  6. Do I have enough affirmation and support nudging me to keep moving ahead during difficult patches?

  7. Am I disciplined and if self-discipline is a challenge for me, what do I plan to do to improve in that area?

  8. Why do I write?

And a bonus question to tuck in your feathered cap: Who do I write for?

What is one question you find yourself asking over and over as you journey on in this industry?

*I understand I’ve only grazed the surface of these probing questions. I’m planning to dissect each of these in greater detail over the next 8-10 Wednesdays
*Check out the cool new idea my crit partner,
Jill Kemerer is featuring (I’m who she interviewed today)
*photo by flickr


  1. Great questions. I go back to that bonus question a lot.

  2. Very good questions. Hmmm. I guess I ask myself whether I have the fortitude. Can I stick with it, and is it worth it?
    I think it is, but I still ask myself that.

  3. Sometimes the question is, "Why in the name of everything holy did I think I could do this?"

    Other times, it's, "When this is published, will they realize I'm afraid, and ban me from the writers' club?"

    I think your bonus question provides the answer to both of mine.
    Great post.

  4. word "fraud" changed to "afraid" when posted. Freudian?

  5. Excellent questions and I have asked myself all of them at some time during this. I guess I ask myself if I can really learn to write fiction and would I be better off returning to nonfiction.

  6. Excellent. I struggle most often with affirmation and support, though I don't think to question it. I just sit around wondering if I have what it takes.

  7. Great questions! I'm very skittish about taking myself seriously as a writer. I still don't feel like one. I'm not even really sure that I want to "be a writer". It is something I do because I feel compelled to do it, and I feel that God has called me to do it. I believe He wants me to write so that others might be ministered to. It is a gift He has given me to communicate with others. It could have very easily been something else, like acting or preaching or singing...He has happened to give me the gift of music and writing. They are tools, a means to an end, and they demand expression. So...that's why I write.

    As for the other stuff...while I do feel that it is the Lord's will for me to be a "published author", I'm not so much focused on that as I am on simply following His leading, step by step. And He has been faithful to show me exactly where to go. Three months ago, I would've never seen myself going to a writer's conference, of all things...and now I'm going to TWO! My blog came about at the end of December and I'm pleased with the way it's going, and yet He is challenging me to go even further. I have no idea what I'm doing, but I can tell you that I am enjoying every minute of it! To get published? Well that would just be icing on an already scrumptious cake!

    Sorry for the long comment, lol! Very thought provoking post!!! I look forward to your series!

  8. The one question I keep asking myself is this: how much do I believe in myself? If I know I am 'called' to write (like 'Mining for Diamonds' explained as well), I can take whatever comes my way. All the other questions I have asked myself, but they are sort of dependent on the 'big one' I ask myself first...If I know I can do this and should do this, then the rest will come.

  9. Great questions, Wendy. I'm always asking myself who I'm writing for--that's the biggie for me. Each time I hit a road block or garner a bad crit or rejection, I have to reevaluate my reason for writing and make sure I'm on the right path. It's only worth it if it's for God.

  10. I grapple with #7. Writing is the most invigorating and exhilarating experience of my life. If I could tackle all the time sucks and chores that crowd my plate I would be thrilled. But the reality remains, if you want to write- write!

  11. Wonderful questions, Wendy. I look forward to your upcoming posts when you'll be exploring each one in depth.

  12. Great questions, and I feel a bit in most of those. The main one for me is, do I write good enough?

    Look forward to the future posts.

  13. I AM resilient enough to handle rejections and long waits. Which is where I'm at right this minute. Hopefully I'm a lot closer to the wait being over than I am to the point where I started waiting. ;)

  14. Excellent questions which every writer should ponder! The question I find myself asking the most? When will this gosh-darned manuscript be finished?

  15. I really think about all of these questions! A lot. Lately I have been asking myself, "What do I expect to get out of this writing gig?" And I think I'm asking the wrong question. I should be asking, "What am I expecting to give?"

  16. "Do I really think I can do this?" often swirls around my head.

    I love all the questions! Can't wait to see how you break them down!

  17. I'm trying to learn more and more about the craft everyday. My goals this year is to read one or two new books on the craft this year. So far so good!

  18. I'm excited for this series, too! Thanks for helping contribute to my excitement.

    Julie, I don't think a day goes by without me thinking of that one.

    Jessica, Oh yes, the "is it worth it" one. You know, I throw my hands up often and swear it's not, but I guess in the end it all depends on how you define those its.

    Christa, You hit on something so critical and I'm willing to bet, universal. Thank you for sharing it. I know those thoughts surface with me as well. And Freud. Let's talk about him. He spent enough time talking about our Ids and our mamas, we should talk about him, dissect him a little. ;)

    Terri, Only you will feel your way through that answer. I think it's an honest one--part of the reason I included the first question. I've written a good deal of nonfiction, had several pieces published, I just know my home is in women's fiction. Though I have been recently teased by another nonfiction book, but I shoved it back in the Jack-in-the-Box where it belongs for now (see Fri. post).

    V.V., There is certainly something to be said for sticking with it when you feel a lack of support. I give those people huge kudos. I always get jealous when I read about writers like Elizabeth Berg having their significant others edit their work.

    MforD, So much of you wrote settled in me and left with a content feeling. I loved your words. I often feel like I write because it's one of the few ways I know how to communicate without biffing it up too badly.

    Rachel, I keep thinking about part of The Biggest Loser I caught on TV last night. One of the new trainers kept knocking down one of the contestants and challenging him to get back up. I think so much of this journey is about getting back up no matter how we feel (or how hard we fall).

    Heidi, It certainly is a motivator--writing for our Savior!

    Tamika, I'm freakishly disciplined. Sometimes need to chill out. I could easily hammer out three novels per year, but I have to force myself to remember the value of balance.

    Keli, Thanks, I'm looking forward to writing them. Just got an idea...maybe I will ask advice from trusted writer friends to add a quote or two about the question of the week! (Thanks for that spark.)

    Karen, Thanks to you, too. This business is subjective. I knew I had something in grade school when I noticed the reaction I could get from my teacher(s). And then again in college when I begged for a blue book as opposed to multiple choice tests.

    Marla, Oh, you're closer. I can feel it. I'm feeling it for you! Praying it, too!

    Elspeth, I write mine fast and edit like an old lady crossing the street.

    Katie, Thanks, you. Missin' on you. Need. To. Connect. Soon.

    Susan, Wish we could go get a wine together. We could have a stupendous conversation on this. Cheers to your comment. It's exactly what God keeps impressing on me lately. Well, have a glass of red for me anyway.

    Lacie, Doubt. It's a crazy beast. Sure. I say sure you can! Resilience, patience, discipline and willingness to learn. It's in the bag!

    Tana, I love it when I come across fresh wisdom and I leap for joy learning something new! Have you read Elizabeth Berg's Escaping into the Open: The Art of Writing True? You'd love it!

    I'm honored, humored and inspired all rolled into one. You, you do that to me!

    This road wears on my feet a whole lot less b/c I look around and see you all treading the path with me. You make it different.

    And in my book different will always be good.

    Sleep asking questions only your dreams will answer (with the generous help of God).

    ~ Wendy

  19. Those are excellent questions!
    I find myself asking, "What am I doing with my career? Should I be taking my writng in a different direction?"

  20. Hi Wendy, Having been introduced to you by your friend, Jill, I already feel a connection. These are great questions, and ones I often ask myself. You have forced me to dig down to the real reason I write, and I have to say, I had forgotten, with all the cramming in of new knowledge and trying to figure out how to use it. Though writing brings me great joy and satisfaction, the real reason I write fiction is for the dream of a young person, sitting with my book in his/her hands and finding something that helps him/her live a better life. A published book would enable me to get into schools and libraries and meet and talk with young people and share from my own experiences. If this is from God, He will have to work it out AFTER I show Him I'm just as serious as He is! (That old D word again.) Thanks for the brain jolt, Wendy!! I'm looking forward to seeing where you take us next!

  21. #2 is such a tough one!! Great questions. I'm always asking myself if this writing path is the one I'm supposed to be on (which comes up mostly when I get a rejection!).

  22. Excellent questions!

  23. My question:

    What in the world do you think you're doing? ;)

  24. Good questions but I think it takes a matured writer to actually be able to ask those questions. When someone is just starting out they barely have enough 'writing consciousness' to know they're going to get rejections. One look at a slushpile letter is enough to gauge maturity.

  25. Thought provoking questions...all should be answered by the writter. I am maturing as I focus is that many will be healed by my life experience.


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