Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Riding the Writing Roller Coaster: Getting Ready to Ride in 2015

For her final Pink Heart Society column this year, Barbara Wallace shares a few tips for Riding The Writing Roller Coaster in 2015.

And so our ride on the writing roller coaster draws to an end for 2014.  Of course, anyone who’s plugged away in this industry for a while knows that the ride never really ends – not with the first completed manuscript, not with publication, not even with the bestseller list. The best we can do is buckle ourselves in, hang on tight, and hope the twists and turns don’t make us too sick to our stomachs.

As you get ready to ride the 2015 version, here are few end-of-the-ride reminders:
  • It’s all about the writing.  Careers are built by writing one quality story after another.  Don’t let yourself be distracted by all the outside “noise”.
  • Furthermore, you can’t control the writing gods.  You can’t make a publisher read your submission faster.   You can’t force a contest judge to place you in the finals.  You can’t make readers give only five star reviews. The only things you can control during this ride are yourself and your writing.
  • Stay true to your own timetable and goals – don’t be led astray by news that an editor is acquiring or a market is hot.  Unless that is, that market/editor is something that you really want.  Remember, the ride is for life.  Once on a certain track, you are there for a while.  So unless you want to write a lot of paranormal erotica or series romance , don’t jump aboard the bandwagon.
  • Do not compare your ride to the roller coaster to anyone else’s.  It’s difficult not to get frustrated or thrown off track when you hear about others’ success.  Remember, in this industry successes are trumpeted loudly while failures are kept quiet.  Don’t wrongly assume you’re the only one suffering setbacks or rejections.  Others are too, they simply aren’t sharing.
  • Know why you want to write.  (Remember February’s discussion about personal GMC?) Understand your underlying motivations.  I cannot stress this lesson enough.
  • No matter how hard we try, we cannot avoid failure.  Everyone fails in life.  The only way to avoid it for certain, is to never attempt anything in the first place.  Which means avoiding life itself.  Never forget, you are stronger than you think. Thousands of wannabe writers never get beyond talking about riding the roller coaster.  The fact you are here, putting words on the page is a testimony to your fortitude. 
  • Understand your psyche’s fragile spots, and honor them.  Do not force yourself to do anything that puts you in a dark place.
  • Finally, never forget all you’ve accomplished. Make sure you lavish as much attention on the positive steps in your career as you do the negative.
Nothing in the columns I wrote this year was particularly original.  Truth is, most of it was plain old common sense.   Problem is, when we’re in the middle of plunging down a hill or chugging up a new one, it’s easy to get tunnel vision.  We simply need someone to remind us from time to time of what we already know. Consider yourself reminded.  :-)

Now, go enjoy your holidays and get ready for the ride 2015 has in store.  May it be full of more ups than downs, and may the tracks lead you to where you want to go.  Just keep the safety bar down and your hands and feet in the car at all times….

Speaking of planning - I'll be back next year.  What sort of topics would you like to see discussed? Do you want more talk about Writing Demons or would you prefer something else?  Share your thoughts below.
Happy Holidays!

Barbara Wallace is published with both Harlequin and Entangled Publishing. Look for her new Harlequin Romance series "Dating the Boss" coming this summer.  


  1. Thanks for this timely advice! In particular, I needed to be reminded of points 2 and 4. I need to write them out and stick them over my desk.

    Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2015!

  2. Great post, Barbara. I think the first point is so important, it's really easy to get caught up in all the drama/speculation/business of the industry and social media. But writing good books is the important bit :)

  3. Fantastic post. Number 4 resonated a lot with me. Sometimes it is so easy to feel like a teeny weeny super slow tadpole swimming in a sea where everyone else is an olympic, multi pubbed, super fish. (Am I good at analogy or what?) And number eight is so true. I always forget what I have achieved because I'm always chasing the next goal.

  4. I'm so glad you all enjoyed the post! I'm looking forward to everyone having success next year - no matter where we are in our careers.