How many times have we heard someone say that? In my ten years of writing experience, I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times those words have assailed my ears. People go to a bookstore or order a book online and, after reading a few, they say to themselves, “I can do that. It doesn’t look that hard.”
How many get past the first page or two? I’d wager, not many.
Many years ago, I heard someone say, “Don’t ask me who or where, I can’t remember. One thousand people will say they are going to write a book. Of that number, one hundred will sit down and start to write. Of them, ten will complete the project, and then only 1 will either seek out a publisher or self-publish their work.
Yes, these are simplified figures. But when all is said and done we, authors, comprise less than one percent of everyone who wants to write a book.
When someone tells me they want to write a book, I strongly recommend they join an organization, such as Romance Writers of America (RWA). Another tip I give the perspective writer is, “Don’t choose the genre you want to write. Try different ones. Only then will you be happy”.
A Christmas Wedding from TouchPoint Romance is the eighth regency romantic suspense I’ve written. Then there are six novels that I self-published after having them professionally edited. Currently, I have another out to a publisher and I’m waiting to hear back.
So folks, if you wish to be a writer, you need to consider it a job. If you think of writing as a hobby, you’ll never make it. I write and edit six to eight hours a day, seven days a week.
If you have a job you love, you will never work a day in your life. That is me.
I’ve been an avid reader ever since I was old enough to hold a red leather bound first edition copy of Sir Walter Scott’s “The Lady of the Lake” in my lap.
It only seemed natural at some point in my life I take up pen and paper to start writing. Over time, my skills slightly improved. This is largely attributed to my English teachers.
My breakthrough came about in the mid 1970’s when I read a historical romance written by Sergeanne Golon, “Angelique.” This French husband and wife team opened my eyes to the real world of fiction. Stories about romance, beautiful damsels, handsome heroes, and plots which kept me hooked. Of course, being a man, I had to keep my reading hidden from others as that wasn’t appropriate reading for men.
With this new found appreciation of the written word, I took up other books and devoured them as a starving person would a plate of food. I then attempted to write again, but I still wasn’t satisfied. I ended up having to put writing aside for years as other events entered my life.
Finally, in the early years of the new millennium, I tried to write again. I was once again met with limited success, but at least now I was able to get past the first page or two. In 2006, a life changing event brought me back to my love. I took a job as a security officer. This allowed me plenty of time to read different genres. My favorite was regency. As I poured through every regency novel I could get my hands on, I knew this was something I wanted to attempt.
My debut regency romantic suspense novel was published in 2012. Since then, I’ve been hooked and have, except for a few contemporaries, focused on this genre.
I moved to central Texas in 2012. I’m a member of Romance Writers of America and the Austin, TX chapter.
Where you can find me-
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Author Pages: Goodreads | Lindsay Downs-Romance Author | Amazon
I loved your essay, Lindsay. It’s so important for people to realize that becoming a good writer takes time and life experience. You are also so right that the work is demanding, but it’s not exactly wok when you put your heart into it. It’s also so important, as you point out, to read. You become inspired to write. You, at first find styles and techniques that you wish to emulate, but as you practice your craft, you find yourself maturing into your own style that transcends what you have read before.