Writers Never Quit

“Many paths lead to the same destination; it doesn’t matter how you get there.”

I’m sitting here feeling shame because although I have been busy writing blogs for other people and working on my next novel (I just finished the messy first draft – VICTORY DANCE!) I realized I haven’t written a blog post in over a year.

I have fallen off the blog horse.

The horse has gone on without me, probably to greener, more reliable pastures. I pour some hot water onto my YOGI tea bag and the little quote on the paper tab twirls before me. I grab it with my thumb and forefinger to stop the spin and read it. The quote is what I’ve written above and I have to laugh. Well, yes.

I’m pretty sure this blog is not my path. But, it does get me writing and it does get me thinking, and it does make me feel like I am helping some beginner writer somewhere maybe hold on a little longer.

There are so many paths to being a successful writer, the world cannot contain them all.

There are so many ways to become a successful author – and you just need to find one. For me, the first step was to start calling myself a writer. Do you write? Good. You’re a writer. You don’t need to be published or famous. A writer writes. Period.

There is a lot of talk about defining what success means to you, and for the most part, I feel like rolling my eyes and chasing that butterfly out the window. But, there is some truth to this. Think of it as climbing a mountain and at the top is that thing you’ve always wanted. What if you get there, and you realize what you ACTUALLY wanted is up that other hill? I mean, no worries you can start climbing that other hill, and maybe that’s your path. I’d rather just figure out what it is I actually want and then climb that hill.

There are a lot of writers who make their bread and butter by ghostwriting, freelancing, editing, copywriting, or coaching other writers. I’m not knocking it – if that’s your jam go for it. It means you get to stay creative and your day job is working with and for writers. How awesome is that? But it is a business and one you need to build. Like I said, so many paths to being a successful writer, or authorpreneur!

Seriously, I am not knocking it – I work for diymfa.com and I love, love, love it. I get to work for and with writers from all over the world. Unless you are financially independent (always a worthy goal) you’re going to need to pay the bills. For a list of authors who also worked full or part-time, click here: The Day Jobs of 10 Famous Writers

Success, to me, means finding a job that pays the bills while allowing me the freedom to create and to be there for my kids when they get off school. That’s the dream. That’s success for me. If I end up making enough on the books to pay the bills – great – but I won’t put that pressure on myself or my creativity. I want the joy – that feeling of flow when I write and I want that forever. I will follow that ‘time-has-no-meaning’ feeling until I croak and you know why? Because real writers never quit.

What are you doing still here? Go write something amazing. (Or write rubbish – but keep writing).

Angela Yeh is an East Coast Canadian native that lives and works in the great state of Texas. Angela is a black belt wanna-be who loves to garden, write about magic, and eat cake. If you’d like to check out her first published novel, A Phoenix Rises, she will send you cookies (not cake – she’s already eaten the cake). She lives with her husband, two lovely human children, and three cranky fur babies. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram or on her website.

Inspiration is for Waiters

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I recently heard a writer friend ask another writer friend what she did to get ‘inspired’ to write. The question threw me off guard. Who are these writers who wait for inspiration? In my experience inspiration only happens once I’m warmed up and that only happens when I sit down to write on a consistent basis.

The Secret is Consistency

The secret to finishing a book or a writing project is not a terrifically held secret. The secret is…consistency. As it is the ‘secret’ to success in any endeavor. You make a daily or weekly habit of writing. Not researching, not editing, not staring out the window (although there is a lot of all those things that happen). Not outlining or planning or vision boarding or plotting or structuring your three acts. These can happen at any time.

What you need is a dedicated time that you set aside just to write. Even if it’s noodling in your journal or free writing about that cat you saw in the window you walked by. Taking the time to prioritize your writing over all the other demands in your life will serve you well. Will this make you an instant best seller? Maybe. It will make you a finisher of projects and that is one step closer to authorship.

Angela’s Writing Habit – Better than Wheat Grass

My writing habit needs to be in the morning, before the kids wake up, or at night, after they’re in bed. I can’t write while distracted. It’s not just harder, it’s frustrating to be constantly pulled away from the thought and then I’m being not just a half-assed writer but an inattentive mom and both feel bad.

Writing should be all good. I had to experiment a few different times and days, and I found the best time for me is 5am, five days a week. I don’t recommend this for everyone but for me, with two young kids who are often awake by 6am for the day, and two part time jobs, this is what works. And I carry that satisfied, I admit it, smug-I-got-stuff-done attitude all day. Try it – the feeling is better than eating wheat grass for breakfast and recycling all your plastics.

A Sacred Space

Try making your writing time a sacred meeting with yourself. Light a candle, listen to your favorite music, it isn’t a ‘have-to’, it’s a ‘can’t wait to wake up and do this for myself’ thing.

Everyone who knows me knows I am not with the self-discipline. The only reason I’m not 600 pounds overweight is because my stomach is a delicate flower. Cake is my nemesis. And I love, love, love to sleep. Sleep is my favorite. So what pulls me out of bed and into the chair isn’t sheer will power. It’s that I know I’m going to enjoy this calm, quiet time to indulge in creating something all to myself. It’s my ‘me’ time. Writing isn’t a choice with me it’s a need, and I’ve learned to incorporate it into my life like all the other self-care things I do. It’s okay to need these things girls (and guys).

So, sorry for the dramatic title. But don’t wait for inspiration okay? You’ll be like skeleton guy in Raiders of the Lost Ark, the arrow of time through your heart. It’s never too late to start writing but life is better if you just give into it now. Right now. Off you get!

“If you wait for inspiration to write you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter.” Dan Poynter