Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Writing Tip Wednesday--Writing Advice from Valley Brown

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! The wonderful Valley Brown is sharing her advice for new writers this week. And it's the tough truth.

Writing Without Illusion or Delusion

Writing. One of humankind’s greatest creative outlets. It epitomizes and gives tangible form to our best thoughts, but not all who embrace it are destined to have their words consumed and glorified. In today’s digital world competing for reader attention is a task akin to Atlas carrying the world on his shoulders. Millions of new books arrive each year. That’s a lot of newbie writers floundering in a cutthroat global market.

So what would ever make any writer hope they could outshine millions of peers? Perhaps it’s the pervasive myth that being a writer is a glamorous, wildly creative life. The physical and mental gymnastics involved in writing, while often arduous, are the undoubtedly the most enjoyable aspects. Everything else tends to become a necessary evil.

Hemingway, Faulkner, Steinbeck, Vonnegut, Tolstoy, Shelly – biographies abound with romanticized gatherings and carousing, bestseller limelight and grand literary awards, with bright careers occasionally ending in tragedy. Before you fling yourself into this abyss, consider what the personal cost of devoting your life – and that of your family, if you have one – is in actuality, for there is far more to writing than grand sporadic inspiration. Writing is only half the battle.

Marketing is a huge investment of time, energy and funds. It sucks as much of those resources as you allow and then some. Whether under contract to a traditional publishing house or self-published, expect to spend enormous quantities of time and effort toward generating discoverability and sales.

Today’s writer spends little time traveling for personal appearances. Today’s writer is tethered to online devices in continuous interface with social media and potential readers utilizing the virtual world. There are out-of-pocket expenses to all this jockeying for attention, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars every year, year after year. How prepared are you to do this?

How supportive will family and friends be when you: a) withdraw from everyday life to write intensively; b) start shelling out for websites, promotional copies, swag, contest prizes, and travel expenses; and c) if self-pubbed, take returns of trade hardbacks or paperbacks in quantity? (Yes, not everyone will love your work enough to not return it for a refund! Printed copies need to be returnable if you want vendors to agree to sell them.)

Are you willing to forego family and social events because of deadlines or marketing obligations? Are you self-disciplined enough, determined enough and hungry enough to treat writing and marketing as legitimate full-time jobs? Because that is exactly what they are. They are full-time occupation of your waking hours. Schedule your work, play, and personal maintenance. Includes time for decompressing with people you care about. If you can’t, chances are you won’t succeed.

Being a writer is a tough road to travel. Literally sit down with your family and have the discussion. Jot down the positives and negatives in front of each other and do the math. Even if the odds are nowhere near in your favor, take heart. It doesn’t mean you have to deep-six your dream. It only means you should follow it without any delusions.

Author Valley Brown and her husband live in Southwestern Indiana along the Ohio River. When not writing or working with art glass, she takes short road trips on her Honda Shadow, and makes art quilts. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Indiana Chapter of Romance Writers of America, Indiana ABATE, American Quilters Society, Raintree Quilters Guild, and the International Quilt Association.

The Rocky Road romantic suspense series is about one woman’s journey through trauma and tragedy, and how the power of love keeps her moving forward. It touches on the sensitive topic of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and the different ways in which people deal with wounds that never heal, yet somehow find strength and courage to love again. Speeding Tickets (Book One) debuted in 2011. Rough Piece of Road (Book Two) was released July 2013. Divided Highway (Book Three) is “under construction”.

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Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!


  1. Thanks for having me, Mellanie! Always great to be here.

  2. A great post, but oh, I want those delusions back! :-)