Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Serious Writer

And now to tackle the fourth question from my 8 Questions Every Writer Must Ask Themselves post:

Do I take myself seriously as a writer?

There’s a difference between piddling with writing as a hobby and hurling your energy and creativity into your novel(s) or book(s).

Do you piddle or hurl? It matters. How you perceive your time spent writing will influence how others perceive your time spent writing. Your answer to that question also has the potential to impact how devoted you are to the craft.

Below I’ve touched upon eight more points to help you measure where you land on the serious writer meter.

Do You Take it Bird by Bird

Do you regularly read books on the craft? Do you take notes? Every year do you challenge yourself to read a certain number of books to help improve your writing?

Do You Put Your Money Where Your Mouth (or pen) Is

Our pastor once said to us that you can learn a lot about what a person values by looking at their checkbook. Are you investing in editing services, conferences, or contests? The financial costs don’t have to amount to backbreaking expenses (i.e. a subscription to Writer’s Digest), but even a little money toward your field of interest shows you how serious you’re taking this writing gig.

What Say You When Friends & Strangers Ask What You Do

Do you get embarrassed and avoid answering the “what do you do” question? How you answer this question says a lot about how sincerely you are taking your role as a writer.

Time in a Bottle

How many hours a day do you spend writing? (Important clarification…WRITING your WIP, not tweeting, facebooking, texting, emailing, or even blogging for that matter…WRITING.) Do you bother to pay attention to the time you spend at the computer every day, week, month, and year? Are you tracking your progress?

Reach Out

This is a natural human phenomenon. We gravitate toward other like beings. Have you made concerted efforts to connect with other writers? Your answer to this will also reveal how serious how are about wanting to market your work eventually, too.

It’s Getting Better All the Time

Can you tell a difference in your writing from five years ago? How about one year ago? A sure sign of your steadfast devotion will result in obvious marks of improvement.

Love the One You’re With

You don’t have the one and done mentality, but you truly know how to love the one you’re with. You pour yourself into your WIP, but keep a stockpile of blossoming ideas ready and waiting for you to take on in the future.

Tools of the Trade

Anyone who is truly passionate about a project learns the best ways to overcome obstacles. Have you discovered how to stomp out writer’s block or times of inactivity?

So, where did you land on the serious writer meter? Did the arrow stop on flaming red or a cool blue? Do you piddle or hurl?

*photo by flickr


  1. I hurl!! I am glad to say yes to most all of these:))

  2. I'm a serious writer - I can honestly answer the above questions with an emphatic yes. Well except one. I still answer "what do you do?" with "CPA." That's a difficult one to break.

  3. I'm back to hurling now. There are days though still that I only get an hour in in a day on writing/rewriting my mss. I strive for 3 hours a day.

    I admit, I cringe when asked what I do. It's stupid, because I'd have no problem with just saying I'm a Christian fiction writer in training, but then I worry they're going to ask what genre I write. There is still that ugly connotation to writing romances. But it's where I'm called so I need to get over everyone's misconception of this genre. The Christian prefix should correct everyone's thoughts, but sadly, by the skewed faces I receive, they have no clue!!

  4. I'm hurling! Writing wakes me up at night, and keeps me churning throughout the day.

    Love this life:)

  5. Hurler here. =) What a great list, Wendy.

  6. LOL! Hurling and piddling? Sounds like a clean-up on aisle four...

    Which tells you I'm rarely serious...except about writing. :)

  7. I love to hurl. That just sounds wrong in so many ways... I spend money, read book on the craft and not, I connect with other great writers such as yourself, and hold my hopes and dreams to God daily. I think it's a beautiful thing. And for the record, I have only fallen asleep at my computer twice. ;)

  8. Hmmm...I'm so new at it, I would hardly call myself a "hurler". I'm not new to writing per se, but I'm new to "writing for public consumption with the intent to get published". It has been a huge paradigm shift for me. I'm still shifting. ;) I actually consider blogging as writing, because for me it is a place to practice writing for others to read. I spend a lot of time self editing, working on sentence structure and grammar...It is also part of building my audience for the eventually published WIP. Twitter, Facebook, and blogging are all a part of networking and learning for me. I consider it every bit as much a part of my own personal writing journey since I don't have any mentors in real life yet. Because of Facebook, twitter, and the internet, I've been able to connect with writers and learn about conferences...including my very first writer's conference that I will be attending in just a few short weeks! I've connected online with one of the instructors and look forward to meeting I personally do not consider internet activities a waste of time for me at this stage. I NEED it! I'm sure that as I "mature", I will wean. :)

    So to answer your question, I'm somewhere on the spectrum making my way from "piddler" to "hurler", lol!

  9. Hurling! The only one I didn't pass was the one about when people ask what you do, do you get all shy...I do. Working on that one. Thanks, Wendy!

  10. Great post. Yep, I don't think I hurl so much as plummet head-first into the work.

  11. Strange, I equated piddling and hurling to peeing and puking. That pretty much sums up my family's life lately ;P In all seriousness (which you know isn't much for me!), I'm hurling. I'm pretty confident I've given each of those things in your list my best efforts. Great post!

  12. Whew, I think I'm a hurler. :)

    I'll admit I was a little nervous when I read your setup since my writing has been hit-or-miss lately. But when it comes down to it, I answered yes to pretty much every question.

    Hope you're having a great week, friend.

  13. I hurled for 6 years, then piddled for 2 years. I've been hurling again for the past 2 years.

    Somehow this senario reminds me of pregnancy?!?!?

  14. Wendy, thanks for this swift kick in the keyboard. I needed that!

  15. Thank you for this post. It is exactly what I needed to motivate me to try harder. When people ask me what I do I always say I speak but rarely do I say write, although I have been writing more and more lately. I need to go the extra mile and take it more serious.

  16. First off, how fun were your answers. I'm so proud of myself for getting a bunch of serious writers to admit to either piddling or hurling. ;D

    Terri, Hurl away.

    Heather, 'Tis your season. Won't you be glad when it's done?

    Jessica, And I bet it felt good to say it, eh?

    Eileen, You should just look at them and follow the word romance with steamy in quotes. That'll really get 'em fired up. :D

    Tamika, I can tell you love it. Shows on your blog.

    Keli, From one hurler to the other, I thank you for shining the light ahead so I know there are steps to take toward my future.

    Erica, Why I love you so! And yes, I had so much fun with those descriptions.

    T., I don't think I could ever relax enough in front of my computer to sleep. I'm sort of a wired person. I love connecting w/ you. Been wondering how you are lately.

    MfD, Wonder what a spectrum like that really looks like. I know what you mean about blogging building certain writing skills. I've noticed that, but I just can't include it as my writing for the day. I'm too hard on myself and I can't let myself off the hook that easy. I'd be way too addicted to commenting, etc. if I counted it.

    Heidi, You will get there. You're already there, so why not speak it? ;)

    PW, Plummet. Such a lovely word when held up against hurl. Reminds me of a peacock. Okay, yes, I'm tired.

    Beth, I'm still praying that was not poop on your computer. It makes me afraid to think it was. Very afraid.

    Sarah, Hey you. I think it's important to mention it's okay to piddle, if a piddler you be. How's that for a Wee Willy Winkie type rhyme? Did I mention I'm tired? But seriously, 100% okay to piddle, I think the key is just knowing which you are, where on that spectrum you fall and being able to be honest about it. There are seasons for piddling.

    Loree, How I loved your comment, let me count the ways! Laughed hard on that one!

    Karen, I hope this didn't come across convicting as much a way to evaluate. I tend to ask questions that give birth to more questions. Someday I know it will kick me in my own keyboard having to answer my own thousand questions!

    Shanda, Oh, I love to motivate. And speaking is such a gift. It's something I'd love to work on more, but haven't made a current priority. Although I did give a mini-sex talk to our mom's group at church. Yes, there are all kinds of odd things about that (sex talk--mom's group...anyway). I'll be curious to know if your writing keeps up.

    Thanks all for offering your thoughts. My brain is just about closed for the evening, but I'll leave the lights on for a few more hours.

    See you back on Friday for the Moving Thoughts question I've yet to think of!
    ~ Wendy

  17. I can never get enough of books that deal with the subject of writing. Although I have many different creative pursuits, I have been working on my novel more and more lately. I'm actually quite proud of myself!

    Love your blog, now following. Stop by to visit with me, if you like.

    Ciao Bella

    Creative Carmelina

  18. That list is great!!

    And pass the bucket. :-)

  19. Wait. I can't count my blog comments as part of my total words written for the day?

    You're no fun! lol

  20. Wendy:
    I am torn between a piddler and a hurler. I am not working on anything big at the moment. I am keeping my blog going. I have some smaller projects I have put away. I am directing our church's Easter drama this year. I write two newsletters in alternating months for a faith based ministry.

  21. While I fall short in a couple of these areas, I'd definitely say I'm a "hurler."

    Journaling and blogging should count as writing!

  22. This is good stuff Wendy. It makes me realize I a have so much to learn -- but wait, I think that is a good sign! I want to keep working. Keep getting better. Keep revising. Keep dreaming!

  23. Great post! I'm bookmarking it to keep myself on track.

    I hurl as hard and as often as I can :), but I'm also a wife and a mom of four very little ones, so at times, my bucket needs to be pushed under the counter for a little while. Does that make sense?

    For me, there is a time and a season for everything, and I want to hurl as much as possible without missing out on the amazing blessings I have in my life.

  24. Working on being more consistent and intentional. Getting there! :)
    Happy weekend,

  25. I'm hurling because I'm on a deadline - but I wouldn't trade it for the world.

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