Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Writer's Wednesday - Riding the Writing Roller Coaster: Six Things A Writer Shouldn't Do

In her Riding the Writing Roller Coaster column, this month, Barbara Wallace shares a list of her top six career don'ts. 

Don’t, don't quit on a story simply because the story got difficult.
If I had a nickel for every time a writer tossed a book out because they couldn’t move past Chapter 3.  Sometimes it’s because the story isn’t working. But sometimes, it’s simply because you’ve reached the point in your story where it’s time to knuckle down and work.  No one likes their book when they’re on page 93, but you need to keep going.  Remember what I said last week – writing is hard.  Don’t back down from the challenge.

Don't think you know more than your editor. (LOL Even though sometimes you will...) 
Editors make comments because "something" struck them as wrong. Pay attention to every comment

Don't compare yourself with other writers
Let me say it right now.  You’ll never have Nora Roberts’ career.  You won’t even have my career.  Because you’re not Nora Roberts or me.   You are you.  Writers are like snowflakes.  Every one of us is different.  Likewise, every career is different.  If you spend your days trying to measure up, you’ll go crazy.  Rather than compare, focus on what makes you unique: your writing.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew
In a way, this goes hand in hand with the comparison warning.  There’s a real tendency in the romance industry to collect publishing contracts or want to put out titles like candy.  It’s like we measure our worth by how many deadlines we’re juggling.  Publishing isn’t a contest. I know, a person’s got to make a living, but remember that every contract you sign is a book you must deliver.  Your muse can only handle so much.  At some point you’ll either crash and burn, or your work will suffer.

Don’t lose your joy
Sometimes, in this competitive industry, it’s easy to forget that not everyone in this world can be a writer.  Published or unpublished, the ability to bring characters to life on the page is a wonderful gift.  We became writers because telling stories makes s happy.  Hold on to that happiness.

Don't give up.
You might be told the book you thought was the next bestseller needs a lot more work.  You might told you aren’t ready for publication.  You might publish and the book might not sell.  As I like to tell my son, brick walls aren’t there to stop you, they are there to see how badly you want to move forward. Persevere and you will succeed.

*Special thanks to Susan Meier for her help with this list.

What about you? Do you have any 'don'ts' you want to add to the list?  Don't be shy! Let us know in the comments below.

Barbara Wallace's next published book is The Unexpected Honeymoon, due out in October from Harlequin Romance.  

A holiday to remember...

Widower Carlos Chavez manages La Joya del Mayan, the most romantic resort in Mexico. On good days, the romance passes unnoticed; on dark days, it only reminds him of his loss.

But the honeymoon suite's latest guest, Larissa Boyd, has rocked his steadfastness. Stunningly beautiful, she seems lost. And no wonder... she's on a honeymoon for one! 

The chemistry is instant - and their similarities run deep. Could it be that the two loneliest hearts in Mexico have found the most unexpected of places?

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To find out more about the lovely Barbara and her writing, follow her on FacebookTwitter or and visit her website


  1. Thank you for this post:) I started writing for a year now and it was always my dream to write from an early age, however circumstances in my life did not allow me to follow this path. Nevertheless, I took the leap and I'm enjoying the writing process tremendously. As you said writing is extremely tough and half the time I want to pull out my hair... but then when I finish a story and see how much it has improved, I am over the moon with my achievement. Right now, I write for myself and don't have my eyes set on writing a novel but I won't close the door on it as yet. I believe in time I will achieve my own success.

  2. Sweetie, I think there are six items in your list! I counted because this past year I totally screwed up numbers 4 and 5. :) Lesson learned.... :)

  3. Ha! There are 6. And 6 amazing points. Thanks for this wonderful post Barbara. So much of it resonated with me. Especially the comparison part - we are all individuals with different paths and voices; we need to treasure the joy of being able to write and do what we love!

  4. Great post, Barbara! It came at a time I needed to hear it. It's been a rough few months dealing with my mother's failing health and all the issues I've had to address with that, while still having one child at home, moving the others back to college, and general life stuff. Oh, and there was that deadline! I just couldn't get the book written in time, and my well had run dry. I was beating myself up, guilty of points 3, 4, and 5. I finally realized that making myself ill over it wasn't accomplishing anything, and the book would suffer as well. That realization picked me up off the floor and back into the saddle. Luckily my editor has been lovely, too. So thanks for showing me I'm not alone!