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So You Think You Want to be a Writer?

by Casey Herringshaw

Writing a novel is certainly not for the faint of heart. The weak in limbs or the feeble of mind. Writing is for the passionate and driven, those willing to fight the battle against the piles of laundry and undusted home surfaces. Those willing to spend hours glued to one’s desk chair and foregoing much in the way of normal civilized activities. Those willing to exercise less and consume more chocolate for the sacrifice of the next Great American Novel pouring out of their fingertips.

No, writing is definitely not for the weak in spirit.

So you think you want to be a writer huh? Maybe you haven’t decided whether you should join ACFW or start the novel idea that is bumping around in the back of your brain or hidden under your mattress from when you wrote the original story idea when you were a teenager. Or maybe you’ve decided you are going to be a writer. Either way, maybe I should warn you first…

Writing means that you will spend an inordinate amount of time in front of your computer. Scrolling through Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest looking for any and all excuses not to write.

Being a writer means that you’ll spend a great deal of time typing out random nonsense (usually in sequences that look like this: kjadhg;akhgd; hadlkgha;jdgh; aghag;heouhnakjgni).

It also means that you’ll probably read more books and watch more TV to get a handle for dialogue and story structure. You’ll spend more time staring at the wall or out the window until your eyes glaze over. You’ll pound your head into the desk more often, hoping to jar loose those words and thoughts and phrases that just refuse to come out your fingers. Your doctor will probably love you more since you’ll need to visit him for the prescriptions for said headaches.

See? Writing is quite the glamorous lifestyle. Especially when you submit a story to your critique group and they promptly and without seeming fear for their lives or concern for your sanity, rip the book apart sentence by sentence, letter by letter. Or when you send in your first fifteen pages to a contest only to realize that you had a typo in your title and now every single judge who ever judged is going to know about your mistake.

We’ve all had these moments. Moments of absolute despair where we were sure we’d quit. And moments of absolute elation and joy where everything we’ve done, every moment we’ve spent finally seems to be paying off. We do it because we are dreamers. Dreamers with a pie-in-the-sky goal of having a book with our name on the cover. Dreamers with a passion for story and love for words. So really, being a writer, is a pretty grand place to be. Even with the headaches, because hey, we’ve got chocolate, right? ;-)

Casey Herringshaw Feb 2014Casey Herringshaw is a homeschool graduate and lives in rural Eastern Oregon in a town with more cows than people. Casey is a member of ACFW and is currently serving as Carol Awards Coordinator. You can connect with her through her blogs, Writing for Christ and The Writer’s Alley.

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4 Responses to So You Think You Want to be a Writer?

  1. Becky Wade says:

    “Dreamers with a passion for story and a love for words.” Yesss!! Exactly. I enjoyed your post, Casey!

  2. Sara Ella says:

    Hi Casey! Your post encouraged me today. I am nearly finished with my first draft of my first novel, gearing up to polish my first fifteen pages for Genesis. Your post described me exactly, from scrolling through social media to the chocolate (my desk has a special drawer just for my stash). Thanks for reminding me that I’m not alone on this crazy journey where I yell at my characters and cry over their losses and defeats. Where I’ve fallen in love with my supposed “bad guy” the more I’ve gotten to know him and had to cut a favorite character because they just didn’t work for the story in the end. It’s a nutty, frustrating journey, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

  3. Glad you did, Becky! Thanks for stopping by!!

  4. Hello Sara!
    Congratulations on that entry completion!! Don’t hold back–hit send (just make sure your title is correct in the header. ;-) ) Thanks for stopping by–so glad you liked it!

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