The Busy-ness of Writing

Word count: 376                        Reading time: 1-2 minutes

When I qualified as a Certified General Accountant I knew my education didn’t stop with the parchment handed out at the graduation ceremony. Being a member of the CGA Association meant that in addition to the usual long work week, I was expected to complete defined courses of professional development every year to keep my skills relevant. Then I chucked it all to become a writer.

My second career evolved slowly because there was no clear route to what ensures success as a writer. After a lot of time invested and an enormous amount of trial & error, the only thing I know for sure is that a writer needs, at some point, do some or all of the following:

  1. Write
  2. Research
  3. Read extensively
  4. Go back to school
  5. Find a trusted writing partner or two and share your work with them
  6. Rewrite
  7. Give generously of your time to other writers who need help and encouragement
  8. Revise
  9. Polish the revision
  10. Submit and track your submissions
  11. Repeat steps 1-10 – stick with it
  12. Join at least one writers’ group
  13. Attend writers’ talks (local library, university, writers’ festival – wherever)
  14. Build an online profile
  15. Build a profile in your local community
  16. Stay healthy
  17. Play; renew the energy that brings freshness to your writing
  18. Track related income (if you’re lucky) and expenses for your tax return
  19. Repeat any or all of the above as required.

Once my first novel is released, what then? Well I expect there’ll be a whole 'nother list that comes along. I’ll post it later, when I have a better sense of all that's involved.

When I did the mind map for this blog (thank you Daphne Gray-Grant), I was astonished at the commitment of time and resources involved in writing. My CGA training pales in comparison to what it takes to be a writer, but this is so much easier. You know why, don’t you? Because pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work. Aristotle said that and he knew a thing or two.

What's on your list and what's missing from mine? Is there something I should be doing that I’m not?  


Photo by: Uschi Hering

Falling In Love


Word Count: 227                                                                    Reading time: 2 mins

Autumn is dragging its wild cloak across the landscape and every day the scenery changes. Rain-drenched soil sweetens the air with rich composting fragrance. Our neighbour’s chestnut tree sheds a few more leaves and opens the view of the city just a little wider. The streetlights flicker on earlier each evening.

The closing season is on us and the earth is preparing to sleep. Do you dread fall as a harbinger of winter? Does it fill you with anxiety about the approaching cold and the long dark nights?

For me, George Eliot said it best:

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”

I love the smell, the light, the gentle chill in the air. And I love what it signifies metaphorically to writing. When the last breath of life seems sucked out of a piece I can bury it for a while and wait to see what rises from the humus.

Do you rest your work? Is there an autumn or fall in your creative process? When you take it out again and turn the soil, has life regenerated?


Thanks to writing coach Daphne Gray-Grant for the helpful technique of prefacing posts with word count and reading time.