Demystifying the Process

I spend a lot of my time as a writer vacillating between feeling like I’m a crap writer who should hang it up and being deeply annoyed that some really shitty writers have not only been published but have seen their work turned into films or TV series.

I don’t think I’m alone in that wild swing as a writer. I think the writing life has most writers spending a lot of time searching for the magic writing tools that will make the entire process easier while also being smugly contemptuous of people who profess that they will “write a book someday. Maybe when I retire.”

We also spend a lot of time feeling that we’re not “real writers” if we don’t hit a daily word count or don’t match writer X’s insistence that a certain number of butt-in-chairs hours each day is the key to success.

I’ve also seen more than a few people mouth off about “that’s not a professional writer’s attitude” if someone professes that they’ve had to take a break from writing to meet other needs. 

That’s one of the reasons that I follow a number of writers on social media, their blogs, and via their newsletters. Often, writers like Chuck Wendig, V.E. Schwab, Andi Cumbo-Floyd, and others will be honest about their struggles to sit down and grind through the writing. These are all writers who have had a good many books published or self-published. And, It’s safe to say they’re likely earning a large portion of their income from their book sales or book-adjacent businesses.

And they still have times when they hit a rough patch and the writing isn’t coming easily. They also look for a new gadget, tool, or process to jumpstart a stalled project. 

These challenges face all of us who spend any time trying to craft a message through the written word. Whether we’re freelancers writing technical papers or creative writers, there are days when the words aren’t making sense and we’re digging deep to figure out why we’re still screwing around with writing as a way to earn a living. Surely parking cars at sporting events or digging coal from a coal seam would be easier, right?

And, the numbers about publication are daunting. Between 500,000 and 1,000,000 books are published each year by traditional publishers. Add all the self-published titles to the mix, and nearly 4,000,000 books are published annually.

Many books sell fewer than 200 copies a year and will sell barely 1,000 in their lifetime. For self-published writers, most sell fewer than 5 copies of their book.

The chance to catch a reader’s eye is fleeting, and most of us won’t make our full-time living from our words. And yet, we still spend time crafting worlds because we love it. And, we’re eternally hopeful that we’ll be a success at it.

Even if we don’t get a readership, the time spent writing needs to be because we love it and want to do it. Our stories do matter, even if we’re the only ones who see them.

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

Comments are closed.

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: