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Reasons Why Writers Fail

Updated on January 13, 2014

Opening up an Ugly Can of Worms

Now I’ve done it. Now I’ve decided to write an article about the topic no writer wants to read about. Talk about a recipe for failure. What was I thinking when I decided this article would be a good idea?

Well, it’s too late to turn back now. You’ve already read the title so that cow has officially left the barn. I might as well trudge forward and shoot you with both barrels.

What do I hope to accomplish with this article? Well, let’s call it a bit of reverse psychology. Let’s call it a tongue-in-cheek attempt to make you realize that writing is not for everyone. Hell, if it doesn’t go well, let’s call it a career-killer for yours truly.

The fact of the matter is that yearly millions of writer wannabes fail miserably. Add to that the number of writers who become disillusioned at their lack of success and then rush to a therapist to deal with their inadequacy issues. In my own way I am trying to decrease those numbers and increase success in the writing world. Therapists will not be happy with this article because there will be a decrease in business for them, but that’s just too bad now isn’t it? Perhaps they should read my follow-up article “Why Therapists Fail” coming soon to medical journals everywhere.

Shall we begin? Let’s take a look at the main reasons why so many writers crash and burn on their way to fantasized glory and fame. We’ll start with the most obvious reason.

Not everyone you see has the skills to write well.
Not everyone you see has the skills to write well. | Source

They Don’t Have the Skills

How’s that for a slap across the face? How’s that for a bucket of cold water over the head?

I know, I know, your mother thinks you are a fantastic writer. Your fifth grade teacher gave you a gold star for your poem. Your husband tells you all the time how much he loves your work.

None of those experiences mean a thing in the real world of writing.

Anyone can write! Well, that is true. Anyone capable of sitting down at a computer and hunting and pecking their way through 500 words can, indeed, write….but….not everyone can write well. I can teach Joe Bob in rural Alabama how to write a simple declarative sentence, but there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that I can teach Joe Bob how to write a sentence that sounds like a symphony. His idea of a symphony is listening to “Free Bird” while changing the carburetor in his ’89 Ford F-Series. There is no hope for Joe Bob!

Thoughts on screenwriting

They Have No Clue What It Takes

Here we go again. Anyone can write a novel. True statement! If you want proof then just browse through the Kindle library of ebooks. However, not everyone can write an engaging and fascinating novel. To do that it literally takes months if not years of dedication.

Anyone can get published in a magazine! No way no how! Monthly magazine editors reject query letters from writers who have game but lack that certain something that it takes to get published in a magazine.

Anyone can make a living as a freelance writer! Again, no way no how! You have to have a command of language. You have to have the fortitude and determination to write eight to ten hours each day. You have to have thick skin to fortify and protect you from the rejections that are sure to come.

Anyone can make a living as a writer if they have the skills! Well, no they can’t! Steinbeck didn’t make a dime for three years. How’s that for a reality check?

Plan on being alone a great amount of time
Plan on being alone a great amount of time | Source

They Are Not Prepared for the Solitude

I have said this before and I’ll say it many times in the future: writing is a lonely profession. I spend ten hours each day inside my own head. Talk about a ride through a house of horrors; it’s amazing I finish each day without the aid of valium.

A professional writer does not rub shoulders with fellow workers. There is no gathering around the water cooler to discuss the latest fashion trends or sports. There is no group hug at the end of a tough day, and chances are your family will not have a clue what you have done or why you do it. If you are looking for empathy and compassion from non-writers then think again because they don’t understand.

To make it as a writer one better be prepared for long hours of babbling to oneself. To make it as a writer be prepared to be your own best friend and worst enemy.

Dealing with criticism

They Do Not Have a Schedule or Plan

Whether you write blogs for income, or you are a magazine writer, or you write ebooks or whatever, you need to have a schedule and a plan. If your writing is your business then it needs to be treated as such.

When my next door neighbor goes to work he leaves the house and heads to his office. He does his office duties. He takes care of work for eight hours and then comes home to his family. During those eight hours at work he actually works on his business matters. He does not run personal errands. He does not talk to friends on the phone. He does not read travel magazines and plan his next vacation. He works! He is at work from nine to five and he eliminates distractions while he works.

A writer must do the same thing.

Do you have a plan? Do you know what you want to do, and have you mapped out a strategy for meeting your goals? If not you are just the proverbial ship without a rudder. Passion will only take your ship so far, but without a plan you can pretty much count on scraping bottom on a sandbar at some point.

Do You Become Discouraged Easily?

Well if so, get the heck out of this profession. Rejection is a way of life for writers. If you think you can avoid it then please market whatever it is you are inhaling because I want some of it.

We are either rejected by publishers or we are rejected by agents. We are either rejected by the reading public or rejected by our pets as we read to them. One way or another you are going to be rejected…..

And this might be worse than being rejected….we are simply insignificant in the world of writing. We write and nobody reads. We spend days, weeks, months crafting what we believe to be the perfect article and it goes absolutely nowhere. We write for content mills for days on end and have enough money at the end of the month to buy a hot mocha.

Don’t quit your day job. You may find it to be a much better job than you once imagined.

For relationships with other writers
For relationships with other writers | Source

They Fail to Realize the Importance of Networking

I have seen this so often over the past few years. People sign up on some site and they write their articles, then they post them on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and then sit back and wait for the dollars to flow their way…..and they are still waiting.

That, my friends, is not networking.

Networking is forming relationships with other writers. Networking is forming relationships with agents. Networking is forming relationships with publishers and editors, and networking is becoming actively involved in workshops, seminars and other avenues available to every writer. There is a world of opportunities out there for you, and if you do not avail yourself of them then find a nice, comfortable chair to relax in as you wait for that money that will never flow your way.

Do you have what it takes to be a successful writer?

See results

I Could Go on but That’s Enough to Get You Started

There is one exception to this article. There is one type of writer out there who needs not concern themselves with all of this, and that writer is the one who simply writes because they have a passion for writing. God bless you if you are such a writer. You are not writing for the income. You are not writing for the recognition or possible fame. You write because it is something you love to do, and I would say to you that the world needs more like you so please, keep writing.

For the rest of you, though, go back over this article and see if you see yourself in it. The journey from “writer wannabe” to writer is a tough road but it is doable.

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, you are right on as always. Thanks for putting it so succinctly. Have a great week.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Anything is doable to someone that can take action. To get ahead in life, we must do just that. As always, thanks, Billy!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Minnetonka, my heart soars when I read about a writer who writers for the sheer love of writing. Never stop...it shines through in your writing and that's the kind of writing this world needs. Keep on keeping on my friend.

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 3 years ago from Minnesota

      Thanks Bill for another great article to help we writer "wannabe's." I have basically written my whole life for the sheer joy and passion of it. I took a long break from writing and now that I'm back to it, I am now loving it. I don't make much money but that's alright by me. I love it, I make some fun spending money from it, and that's just perfect. I am blessed to be at home fulfilling my dream of writing and not working outside the home anymore. I know not everyone can afford that and I know I am blessed. Between sis and I, we are fine.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I do too, Monis! Thanks for weighing in on this subject.

    • Monis Mas profile image

      Aga 3 years ago

      I think the main reason is that writers ger discouraged and impatient.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Ann and you are very welcome.

      bill

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      Well thank you, bill. That means a lot. I'm actually really pressed for time at the moment hence the lack of hubs lately; they are 'pending' but not yet ready!! Procrastination is a thing for tomorrow....

      Have a great weekend! Ann

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, this is true for anyone who is self-employed. I love working for myself but it is not for everyone. Thus the wake-up call in this hub.

      Make your mark? You have already and will continue to do so.

      Have a wonderful weekend Ann.

      bill

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      Good wake up call for those who want to make money; let's face it, that applies to any self-employed person. You have to put in the hours, do your best every second of the day, use your time and use your people skills.

      I'm lucky because I don't have to make money but I certainly want to make a mark and I have a passion for what I do.

      Great reality check! Write on, bill! Ann

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Yes, Doc, you do have the right stuff, and I'm proud to be your trusted friend.

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 3 years ago

      I have the right stuff baby! Lol. Another very good post. Success in writing involves serious commitment, perseverance and not giving up or being discouraged when you're rejected. Persistence is the key so success.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tolovaj, great addition to the list. There are obviously many more reasons why writers fail.....now I need to write a hub about why writers make it.

    • Tolovaj profile image

      Tolovaj 3 years ago

      What about ability to listen the critics and learn from them? I know it helped me in a very specific area - radio play - where many otherwise successful writers have no clue how to use the limitations and advances of this media.

      Thanks for the list. Networking is really important. Many great writers would stay anonymous without patrons / connections.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh Dianna, it is a common refrain. Luckily I don't have many family left...LOL...but I did make it known to friends that just because I was at home did not mean I wasn't working. They learned eventually.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      What I hear is: keeping schedules is a must. This is so much the key to writing successfully. Talking to family members, those who you interact with daily, must also be aware of your schedule. This is my main challenge in writing: getting others to understand I am at work. Perhaps a hub on this would help? Thanks for the instruction, Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Graham, I love that...if you can't skate then you can't skate. LOL Dry out and have a good evening my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      vkwok, you have great things ahead of you. You are a very good writer of fiction. Best wishes and thanks to you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      toknow, I love that...matching our soul to the things we do. Beautiful phrase and I wish I had thought of it. :) Have a wonderful day and thank you.

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      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Bill. Strength, determination and a thick skin helps but if you can't skate, then you can't skate.

      regards from a very rainy uk.

      Graham.

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 3 years ago from Hawaii

      You are right about how writers fail, and at the same time you show us what we can and should do as writers. Great hub!

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 3 years ago

      Hi Bill,

      As usual, your down to earth writing speaks with practicality and undeniable truth. I believe the more closely we match our soul to the things we do, the more natural it feels to do it. Like you said a passionate writer will write for the love of writing. When you love what you are doing the rewards are great, and it has nothing to with monetary gains. Thanks for another very inspiring hub. I cherish your wisdom.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, I am blessed beyond my wildest imagination, and I thank you for your friendship. It's been a wonderful ride so far and more great days ahead.

      blessings

      bill

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Aw, yes, dear Bill, if one has good friends, then he or she is very successful, at least in my book ... Therefore, you are extremely successful in this life, it appears to me!

      "I get by with a little help from my friends."

      Hugs and blessings, Faith Reaper

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, Diana, for your thoughts. It is always nice to get an objective view of our writing from someone we don't live with. LOL

    • Diana Lee profile image

      Diana L Pierce 3 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      You hit the nail right on the head with this article. Most of us only want someone to read our stuff and truthfully let us know what they think about what we write. If we acquire fame along the way then it is an added bonus for us to be proud of.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome Teresa! Thank you!

    • Teresa Schultz profile image

      Teresa Schultz 3 years ago from East London, in South Africa

      I wish we could like comments here - thanks for the reply billybuc :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      And Teresa, that's the key. If you are happy doing your thing then keep doing it. Best wishes to you and thanks for the visit.

    • Teresa Schultz profile image

      Teresa Schultz 3 years ago from East London, in South Africa

      Great post - I don't even try to be a highly successful writer because I'm all over the place right now with all sorts of little income earners - which I love too. I don't try too much right now (to be just a successful writer and not earn income from anything else) because I know and understand how much time, effort and dedication it takes to be successful in any one thing. I admire the successful ones, but for now I'm quite happy just plodding along doing a bit of this and a bit of that.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glimmer, we determine what it will take us to succeed....you do very well with the niche you have carved. I say bravo to you and keep it up...it will pay off in the long run.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      This is very interesting Bill. I can easily see all of your points as valid and sometimes, when I'm not feeling it, I could easily get discouraged, but then I realize that I'm not a professional and not really looking to be professional writer, at least not yet.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, I'm sorry to hear about your husband and the lack of encouragement. I am blessed with Bev, my number one cheerleader. Well, I'll be your cheerleader my friend.

      Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mel, good to see you. Learn by mistakes...it's the only way I learn, and usually it's painful. LOL Oh well, I am learning and that's the important thing. Thank you for the visit my dear friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rae, I think we can all improve on that networking thing. :) Oh well, might as well start today. Thank you for the visit.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Exactly, DDE...very profound statement and I thank you for it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jamie, I look forward to that day. In the meantime, thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Believe me, Alicia, it really is my pleasure. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Indeed, dragonflycolor....love your screen name by the way. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith my dear, I have not figured out what success if for me yet; still waiting. :) I do know I am successful because of friends like you.

      blessings always

      bill

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      We write because we love it. Thick skin is a necessity. I relate to DJ in that my husband reads maybe one percent of what I write and that was because it was about him or his parents. Forty-six years of marriage this month, but no encouragement on writing.

      I have learned so much in my two years here and most of that is because of people like you. I'm not finished yet and you may see my name next to someone's someday ;)

      Voted this up, useful, awesome, and interesting. P.S. Loved the videos!

    • MelChi profile image

      Melanie Chisnall 3 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Brilliant article Bill. Really hits the nail on the head in a way that makes you think. I regret a few things I've done wrt writing, but you know... that's really the only way you learn. Well, it's the way I do. Try even if someone says it won't work. Drives my husband up the wall. Oh well. I'm glad I have a much better idea now of where I'm going and what I'm supposed to be doing. And I'm so glad I get to be back here and reading your helpful and inspiring hubs! :)

    • Rae Saylor profile image

      Rae Saylor 3 years ago from Australia

      Got lots to work on in the Networking Department haha. Thanks for writing this hub, pal -- it's brilliant :) Voted up!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Whatever an individual plans to do be it a baker or a writer plan is key,and never give up on what you enjoy best with practice you can be your best.

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 3 years ago from Reno NV

      One day I will take the plunge but for now I write as a hobby. Jamie

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for another very useful hub for writers, Bill. I appreciate the great education that you're providing!

    • profile image

      dragonflycolor 3 years ago

      Well said, Faith Reaper!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Yes, to me success is all about what each individual defines as success. If making a boatload of money is one's goal, then better get out there and network until the cows come home for sure! On the other hand, if someone writes for the love of writing and maybe to help another person in even the smallest of ways, and that is what makes them happy, then that is success for that writer. No doubt those who want to get published will have to have tough skin to take those mountains of rejection letters. That is the reality of writing, and you do bring reality into check as always for those out there who may be a bit delusional.

      We know we can always count on you, dear Bill, to be real with all!

      Blessings,

      Faith Reaper

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      dragonflycolor, great point about change. If we don't learn that point then life is going to be oh so difficult. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for the warning Jackie. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, an occasional home run is better than none at all. :) I love your attitude towards life and I cherish your friendship. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Genna, I love your last point...we realize that talent is not enough. This is a very competitive field; I have to admit even I am surprised by how hard it is to make a breakthrough. Still, we keep trying. :) Thank you for your kind words.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      And Bill, I respect anyone who is trying to hone their skills. You are a very good writer my friend and I know you love writing. Thank you for your thoughts.

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      dragonflycolor 3 years ago

      I think failure is an opportunity to change, not necessarily to succeed, but go in a different direction and find the right path to what makes us happy. Great hub!

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      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      OK, I am serious...but don't hold your breath. lol

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      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I will never be a full time writer, but i love to write, and i love to read good stories and poetry. Best of all are my hubber friends. Some are great writers, some are like me, they hit a home run occasionally..Ha..Great topic and lesson from a great teacher. Thank you for all you do...

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      Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      This is superb, Bill. One of the elements I was impressed with was the segment on rejection. Rejection goes with the territory, and is perhaps one of the most difficult challenges to overcome. Criticism is valuable, but it must be constructive and meaningful.

      Your videos are excellent! I used to work in the entertainment industry in LA (for a producer) in another life. Film and television spec scripts came into the office, frequently, through various channels, networking, agents, etc. The overwhelming majority of them were never read. It was, and still is, fiercely competitive. The Net has made this easier, but is still tough to get an entrée to the audience you need.

      I think we come to a crossroads when writing when we realize that talent, alone, is not enough. Thank you for these informative and sage words of advice.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. Your last paragraph hit the nail on my head at the moment. I'm not writing for income right now, although what I make is certainly appreciated. When I retire from my day job down the road someday then I may be more concerned about the income. Right now I'm just trying to hone my skills and build up a library of work.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, a good editor is worth their weight in gold. For many writers it is a must...heck, for all writers it is a must. Thank you for stopping by during your busy day. Blessings to you always

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nadine, that's how I end each day...reading...as if I didn't get enough of literature during the day. LOL I'm glad you aren't offended or intimidated by my articles. This is how I always taught in school. A little honey...a little vinegar...and a whole lot of encouragement. :) Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael my friend, you sound like you are training for the Olympics. Give yourself permission to stop and smell the roses. You just might enjoy the experience. :) Thank you for yet another wonderful comment. It's always a pleasure having you visit.

      blessings always

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DrBill, it could indeed. :)

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good for you, Jackie. I look forward to hearing about the results.

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Bill, I'm just trying to grasp what I can as I tarry along. I'm hoping to discover all your secrets before I retire to write my best seller.

      Seriously, I guess these days if someone comes up with an original idea for a book, they can always pay someone to edit the work. As always, interesting, thought-provoking and informative. My best to you.

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      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      A few years ago I might have been intimidated by your article, since I often still feel I do not have a writing skill, but you also made me laugh. I love your direct way of calling a spade a spade. I have no problem with the hours in front of the computer, even if there is no group hug at the end of a tough day! Funny! Its now bedtime and a good book is waiting for me. xxx

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 3 years ago

      Hello Bill.

      Perfect , a can of worms isn't that ugly at all. You have that special gift continually adding encouragement and improvement essentials still needed to make me realize where to go from here to "arrive" to the point of an " accomplished " writer. The one who needs to be ten hours each day" inside my own head alone." Wow! Heading that direction gradually; in transition from discipline " production" feels good to find myself within " God bless you " category. ( My pressing need is to " tame-down " my body's craving for physical strain. ) [ While in full-time force I felt guilty if I was not tired at the end of working hours.] I'm getting lots of help though from my family , next step my physician to warn me that I don't need 10,035 steps , to burn 1,811 calories, distance 4.40 miles and 60 min very active minutes a day as it happen today. Still I have happily read your great article and reacting to it - somehow.

      Voted up, awesome and useful.

      Have a blessed evening.

    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      For sure! ;-) But, for other, that might be "failure" anyway... ;-)

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Networking, that is what I need to be doing. Honestly; I am going to give it a try!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DrBill, without a doubt you are correct. Writing articles about writing will inevitably fall into this trap. There are so many ways to define success. I was just having this conversation with my wife. I make little money writing but she continually tells me how successful I am...case in point I believe. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alan, I love it! What a great comment my friend. Skin like a rhino....true words. As for the office parties, I was never very good with that sort of thing. I'm a bit too much of a loner for that nonsense. Thanks for the smile today.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Annette, as long as you love it then that's all that is important. Writing should be enjoyable and never just a job. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sheila, I love your drive and I love your attitude...but most of all I love the fact that you write because you love it. Keep on my friend, and hopefully that day will come soon when you can kick that day job to the curb.

    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Couldn't agree more. Now, my question: What is good writing? Beyond proper grammar and usage, and basic readability... a very subjective thing, isn't it? What one person likes, another hates.

      And, laying aside the profession versus simply writing for pleasure.

      Success in writing is writing what is important to the writer. If some others enjoy reading what was written, that is a bonus.

      Correct? ;-)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mekenzie, what a lovely thing for you to say. Thank you! My writing style took time and work; it was not this way when I first started out. Growing as a writer is what we do. Every time we sit down we become a more polished writer....and I find great comfort in that.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Windclimber, great points made and thank you. I always struggle with those points when I write articles about writing. Writers come in all shapes and sizes, and so do their motivations. In the old days a writer was either an author or a newspaper hack....now I don't even know how to describe all the categories.

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      Windclimber 3 years ago from my boat somewhere on the Chesapeake Bay

      Billy, don't forget to draw a distinction between (a) people who love to write, (b) people who truly do put serious time and effort into their writing with dreams of profit, and (c) people who want to write for a living, for a career. My guess is that group b has many more members than group c. Just like musicians who make it big for awhile and then spend most of their lives doing something else (not the once who used to pack stadiums and now tour second-rate bars), some of us want to publish at least one book that is at least mildly popular, at least once in our life. It's just like searching for a good love, a real love: you know it might not last forever, but having it at least once in your life will warm the rest of your days. (Think of Mary Shelley and Frankenstein, Margaret Mitchell and Gone with the Wind, and others.)

      This isn't just theory: I know the drummer of a popular band from the early 80's, and he lives in a modest house, doesn't brag about his "good ol' days", and hasn't played music for pay in a long, long time, but when you go into his house, if he shows you past the public areas, there are some mighty cool "trophies" to remind him he has been a do'er and not just a dreamer.

      Also, last year I published my first book, and although it hasn't sold like crazy (YET!), it has brought me great fun and satisfaction. So I'm working on my second and third concurrently, both of them much more ambitious than the first. I can see that although writing may be a way to make money, it's a mighty hard and risky way to make a living.

      So, the difference between group b and group c might be that group c has stories to tell, books inside that demand to be written. And maybe they also have a little luck with timing and marketing . . .

      Write on!

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      Alan R Lancaster 3 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      It's not the sort of occupation you take up if you're the type that likes a regular pat on the back from an appreciative boss (what's one of them?I haven't had that many of them in forty-odd years of working under bosses for 'faceless betters' anyway! - one of them was dear old Conrad Black, he got his cum-uppance anyway, eh!

      You have to have skin like a rhino in this game, and I had some of the best training for it, courtesy of teachers with canes and bosses with verbal whips. Who needs colleagues? Spent too much time looking at people's backs at office parties.

      I'll do the 'farmer' bit now, thanks, following my own plough. We'll learn 'em!

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      Annette Hendley 3 years ago from London, United Kingdom

      Excellent as usual. When I am not procrastinating, I actually do enjoy writing. Will never be a job, I think.

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      sheilamyers 3 years ago

      Very well said! I can't tell you how much I'd prefer to make enough money to be able to sit at home and write all day, but I'll be keeping my day job for a while. Even though I don't make big bucks, I can't stop writing because it's what I love to do. Not many people have read my books; however, those who have say enough good things to keep me going. One of these days I may become a full-time writer.

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      Susan Ream 3 years ago from Michigan

      Hi Billy, Another straight forward helpful hub to all who aspire to write. I love your unique writing style - you've got what it takes. Your drive is evident. I appreciate your no nonsense directive regarding time management and perpetual research.

      I still have a lot of growing to do as a writer. I appreciate your heart and your wit. You are one of my favorite and most helpful writers.

      Mekenzie

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Evan. I appreciate you taking the time to visit me.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lesley, it's a date. :)

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      Jane Arden 3 years ago

      .. and when you do strike it rich I will meet you at the airport.

    • Evan Smiley profile image

      Evan Smiley 3 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Awesome hub, very honest and necessary!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Brian, I think we all thought that when we were younger. Boy oh boy, did we ever get a surprise. LOL Thanks for stopping by.

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      Brian Prickril 3 years ago from Savannah, GA

      When I was a younger, I thought that writing for a living would hands down be the greatest career ever. The first piece of advise I got was much like yours, "Making a living as a freelance writer is a hard buck!"

      I scoffed at that back then, but boy do I get it now.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Annette, thank you so much for the visit and for Tweeting this. You are appreciated. Good luck with your writing in 2014.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lesley my friend, you changed your profile picture. I like it....very studious and intellectual. :) Thank you for the visit; I love seeing you pop up once again. Friendships should be for a lifetime, don't you agree? I look forward to many more years of us sharing our works with each other. That will have to do until the day I strike it rich and travel to London for a cup of tea with you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...Lifegate, I'll have to get busy on that one. Thanks for stopping by and for the laugh.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Donna! I know my first novel took two years; if I wrote it today it would take half that long. We learn as we go my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I believe it will, Sha!

    • Annette R. Smith profile image

      Annette R. Smith 3 years ago from Grand Island, Florida

      Thank you for this, Bill. You've given me a few things to really think about. May your new year be prosperous and blessed!

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      Jane Arden 3 years ago

      Excellent counsil as usual. Well, I reckon I'm made of the WRITE stuff. - Ha ha.. excuse the pun...I definitely have no need to meet the colleagues around the water cooler and I also love writing! Whether I will ever write the big book deal that blows everyone away, well ..... lets wait and see shall we.... (joke)

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Another wonderful hub Bill, with a lot to think about - oh, and I can hardly wait to read “Why Therapists Fail”.

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      Donna Brown 3 years ago from Alton, Missouri

      Hi Bill,

      Another great hub! A lot of meat in this one! I would definitely say that writing a book, especially the first one, takes years to finish.

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      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      I forgot to mention, I'm also active in several writers groups on LinkedIn. Getting my name out there has resulted in many new connections, which will pay off one day (hopefully).

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, all great career moves and bravo to you for taking them. There is no doubt in my mind that you are going to be successful in time; if hard work is proof of success then you are already successful. Well done my dear.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, I have a plan and am taking steps to better market myself and hone my craft of writing fiction, which I've discovered, is my true writing love. I've recently become a Beacon member at Danny Iny's Firepole Marketing. He's said to be the best. He's already helped me. He answers every email and has sent me several free e-books and even a paperback book surrounding marketing for writers. Additionally, I've signed up for Dr. John Yeoman's fiction writing course. If you don't know him, he mans The Writers Village and has many publications under his belt. I've been communicating with him for quite a while. He, too answers all my emails. I've decided $27/month (1st month is free) to go thru his tutorials, have access to his forums and have him critique my work is well worth the price and a necessary investment if I intend on becoming a published author of fiction. I've just received the first 'lesson' in the Writers Village Academy. I'm excited about having joined both of these leaders in their fields.

      In the meantime, I plan on continuing to market myself as a proofreader/editor - just waiting for my new business cards to come in.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kathryn, productive and relaxing is a great combination. It's so nice to see you happy again. Bravo to you my friend and thank you.

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      This is a very important subject, and I think you hit the nail on the head. I love how you are so straightforward!

      Fortunately writing is not my source of income right now. But my long-term goals require more dedication to my writing, and I am getting there. In the meantime, I am having a blast, and really learning a lot from you (and from the community).

      Thanks, teacher!

      I hope you had a great weekend. Mine was both productive and relaxing, so I think it's a success.

      Have a great week, my friend.

      ~ Kathryn