Discussing Writing with Non-writing Friends and How Angry Thoughts Can Make a Fighter

March 26, 2012

At a wine-fueled dinner, where my fiction writing was a topic, a friend exclaimed, “We need to get you to be more creative.”




Holy Shitake mushrooms, I’m a writer, a fiction writer, how much more creative do you want me to be?

While another friend defended my work and my slow pace to publication, I sat and stewed, guzzling my wine and spitting ugly accusations in my head. These people don’t know my writing. These people don’t know the industry. These people have had way too much to drink.

But then, like always, I started to wonder why the universe had manipulated events such that I was sitting there, being subjected to that. (In case you don’t already know, I’m not a big believer in chance.) It took a couple days before I gained clarity. And you know what?

She was sorta, kinda right.

She wasn’t talking about me being more creative with my writing. She was talking about submitting and pursuing publication. While her call to action vacillated between becoming a blogging sensation and a fan-fic super star, her motivating factor was much simpler: Think outside the publication box.

While I see my years in non-fiction publishing as a benefit, she saw it as a liability, essentially calling me a creature of habit.

“Throw a chapter online,” she said. “Post the next one, next week. You’ll be published before you know it.”

I rolled my eyes. “It doesn’t work that way. Trust me. I know this business.”

The more I think about it, the more I get what she was trying to say. I said “I know this business,” but I don’t. I KNEW an entirely different business. Writing isn’t writing isn’t writing across the board.

This fiction thing is a whole new ballgame. (You’re going to have to put up with some baseball references, cheesy or not. It’s almost April, people.)

So, to my dear friend, who shares with me a love of wine, a worry for our kids’ futures and pride in being a strong, capable woman, thank you. While you won’t read a chapter a week anytime soon, I am forcing myself outside the box. Don’t fault me if I jump back inside, though. It’s scary out here. 🙂


5 Responses to “Discussing Writing with Non-writing Friends and How Angry Thoughts Can Make a Fighter”

  1. hannahkarena Says:

    I’m glad you’re thinking outside the box, but don’t ever throw your chapters online! You might be unfamiliar with fiction publishing, but your friend is definitely unfamiliar with publishing contracts. Most publishers want first time North American rights–if you publish the content elsewhere first, you’re already shortchanged them the opportunity. It’ll make your path to getting published even harder!

  2. taristhread Says:

    Elley, I agree with you and hannahkarena, don’t throw any chapters online!! (Although you can feel free to send them my way!) But, I also agree with you that fiction writing is nothing like non-fiction writing, and we do have to think outside the box about our writing, submitting and the business end in general, and IT ISN”T EASY!!

    Good luck, I’m in your corner!

    • Didn’t we have an email conversation with Cynthia about how much we miss the non-ficiton notion of querying and receiving an assignment before you have the story completed? Yeah. That’s still something I miss. 🙂


      • taristhread Says:

        Yes, we did have that conversation!! And, it’s still true. The thing I miss most about non-fiction is that I already had an assignment before I wrote the piece. Well, that and seeing it in print….okay the paycheck was fun too…..

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