From Reader to Author

I remember wanting to write when I was young and taking creative writing courses, but not really knowing how to go about the whole novel thing. I started seriously playing around with writing about twelve years ago. It was joining the provincial writing guild and getting into a critiquing group that really got me on the right track. Most of my first novel was written on yellow stickies—yes, you read right—those little post it notes. I’d jot down ideas when sitting at red lights, and when I couldn’t sleep. The problem with writing the notes in the dark was that I often couldn’t read my scribbles in the morning or I’d find I’d written one note on top of another and that was impossible to decipher.

By the time I got to my second book I was a little more organized and used a rough outline.  Even now that I’ve written and published three books, I find that I’m still jotting down ideas on yellow stickies for book four.

If asked to give advice to beginning writers, I would say:

Don’t give up and do get yourself into a critiquing group. You need other sets of eyes and other perspectives that will be impartial. You can’t evaluate your own work objectively—you’re too close to it. Also, you know what you are thinking, but that doesn’t always come across clearly on the page. You need to know how a reader will see it.

What has been the biggest challenge of my career so far? Marketing! It’s almost more work than writing the book—time consuming and no magic answers to get people’s attention.

To learn more about my books go to:


6 comments on “From Reader to Author

  1. Marketing is more time consuming that writing. And marketing wouldn’t seen nearly as frustrating if we knew that what we were doing would actually sell more books. I feel as though writers these days are shooting in the dark and hoping something magical will walk into the bullet.

    • Caleb, you’ve hit the nail on the head. I wouldn’t mind the hours on the computer tweeting etc, if I knew it was really helping. Problem is, can’t think of anything better and I sure don’t have the money for paid advertising.

    • So true. I was lucky. The first group I joined were all beginners like me, but were able to critique in constructive ways without hurting feelings. We all learned a lot. One member was a copywriter who cheerfully corrected our mechanical errors. I’ve also heard that you shouldn’t stay with the same group for more than a couple of years. Makes sense as you would know each other’s writing too well, and maybe not be as helpful.

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