How To Be A Writer In 10 Easy Steps

  1. Write
  2. Writing SuccessWrite often
  3. Writing well will follow one and two
  4. Don’t follow the rules, if you know them, break ‘em–take a chance
  5. Be original – what’s good for the goose isn’t good for the gander
  6. Stay focused
  7. Don’t wallow in self-pity if your words are rejected
  8. Wallow in the edits, and then cut, cut, cut
  9. Be honest with your words, even if the emotion in the prose singes the edges of your eyes. Readers will remember you
  10. Stay true to your voice

And finally…

The writer’s life isn’t easy.
It’s a solitary existence
It’s lonely and depressing
It’s hunger and passion
It’s discovery and loss; it’s painful,
But full with wonder. It can
Push you to the very brink of crazy.
You will howl to the moon, growl and pant,
Dance and swirl, swarm as bees
Do around flowers with your words burning
Up space, clamoring for attention, yearning
To be part of something, to link, if only to cease
The solitary existence, to make a family
In the sentence and make friends in the graf;
Ten thousand hours
Later, after days turn to years there is a poet, a memoirist,
A fashionista, a songwriter, a liar,
A love-letter writer, a novelist.
The writer’s writing personas will fill the blank page with stories
Of a life, your life
Created on the page, the daily write,
The prompt staring the writer in you down, daring
Passions to percolate, unearthing inspiration
To burn up the pages, blazing a trail
To the end of the writing time found every day.
The struggles, the chances taken
The moments lost, agonized over
To write is to write is to write
Start and don’t’ stop, not ever.

What advice can you share about the creative process?



I’m a writer and hoarder of one-size-fits-all panty hose. Until the hose fits over my bum, I write to provide an alternative view on writing and perfection.

37 thoughts on “How To Be A Writer In 10 Easy Steps

  1. Just having given the first book in the my next series, Adventures in The Glade, a second editing, I can attest to “wallowing in the edits, and cut, cut, cut.” We have to be self-critical and objective when we revisit our writing. That’s why I never write a blog post and put it on my website the same day; words and ideas take time to percolate and marinate. But, yes, in the process of writing, we need to keep forging ahead with determination and assurance that the right words will come.
    Great advice, Brenda, and honest reflections about what writers go through.
    Martha Orlando recently posted….The Best Laid PlansMy Profile

  2. The cutting is the hardest part for me. I posted a poem this week, that was about to have 45 stanzas and I felt that was too long, so I cut it back to 44 stanzas.

    I doubt I have much advice that would resonate, but if I was to offer one thing, it would be, to write specifically to a single person or single entity. Granted, a large portion of those who read will be alienated, for the “cryptic” piece they are reading, but if they know you, and read a fair amount written by you, their time will come around, and things will make perfect sense, as they never have before.

    I thoroughly enjoyed your post. It was entertaining, informative and above all, time well spent. Thanks, Myke
    Myke Todd recently posted….Russian Doll (for Christine Gabriel)My Profile

    • Myke..your kind words are much appreciated. I learned a long while ago to write for a single audience. I know not everyone reading my words will love or even like what I have to say or how it’s said. Cutting… the hardest, but out of the ashes you find nuggets for future work.

  3. Good stuff, Brenda! I’m finding that I love editing. I get excited every time I find a way to say it more clearly and succinctly, when I hone it to the bone and make it sing. When I find ways to go deeper, edgier, more truthful.

    It is a solitary existence, as you say, and full of passion too–a great balance.
    Deborah J. Brasket recently posted….Getting Serious about Our Life’s WorkMy Profile

    • Deborah – I think we writers fall in and out of love the deep we commit and the longer we write. While I don’t love editing, I respect the art and the benefit my story reaps from the revisions.

  4. To write is to write is to write is to stay in the game and keep the ideas and words flowing. It’s to express and find discipline in the doing of it and to remember why it is you’re doing it when you’d rather do anything but do it.
    Barbara recently posted….3 thoughts on forksMy Profile

    • Barbara… as ever I am behind on my life and late reading your comments, which if you only knew how much I needed to hear/read these words…

  5. Brenda, my friend, it looks like you’ve about covered it all here in these 10 steps. I love ALL your advice, especially #10, “Stay true to your voice.”

    My advice is on my new blog post.

    Swing by when you get a chance and answer the question, “Who helped you overcome your writer doubts?” Which writers set you on fire?
    Debra recently posted….Harvest MoonMy Profile

  6. How nicely written! The only thing I would want to add to this already wonderful list is be true to yourself and that is what will reflect in your writings as well!

  7. Great tips, Brenda. I would add, find your groove and stick to it. Never miss an opportunity to write. Carry a notepad or iPad with you so you can write at a moment’s notice because you never know what will inspire you. I take my iPad everywhere, so if I’m meeting someone and waiting for them to arrive, I use those few minutes to write!
    Monica recently posted….My Birthday Week–Fun, Frivolity, Madness & Sir PaulMy Profile

  8. A lot of famous writers were, or are, depressed, but I’m not sure loneliness is a necessary ingredient for success. That said, I received my two latest rejections from publishers back-to-back over the weekend, which feels a bit alienating. I suppose I’ll need to trust #7 on your list is true and soldier on.

  9. Brenda–Have you seen the movie “Muriel’s Wedding”? If not, you need to rush out and watch it (Hulu it/Netflix it… whatever). I think you’ll love it (if you aren’t already rabid about it).

    I loved the bookmobiles too, when I was growing up. The whoosh of the cool air that met me as I crossed the threshold (in the summer). The shelves of books stocked for just me (or so I thought). Books on saints (when I went through that stage). Nancy Drew books. Greek and Roman mythology books (when I went through THAT stage). I could go on and on…

    • Sioux, I was into the mythology for a while as well, which probably explains why I love a good yarn with elements of fantasy.

  10. Alas, I left a comment, but apparently I screwed it up.

    Have you seen the movie “Muriel’s Wedding”? If not, you might check it out. Toni Collette and ABBA in one sweet film.

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