Being a Writer is Like Being an Alcoholic

Once at a writers conference Sue Grafton ended her talk by saying a writer isn’t a real writer until they realize not everything they write is good. It’s true. Being a writer is like being an Alcoholic. An alcoholic can’t start on the road to recovery until they admit to having a drinking problem. But once they begin getting help and work on staying sober, they get healthier and healthier. Once a writer admits they need help and attends a writers group or conference, their writing will get better and better.

Like working the 12 steps, getting your writing critiqued regularly can lead to serenity. It’s hard being a writer. We have our own 12 steps to learn.

1. Write, write, write
2. Hook your reader
3. Show don’t tell
4. Flesh out your characters
5. Chose the right POV
6. Build the story up with tension and unanswered questions
7. Make each of your characters sound distinctive
8. Use appropriate grammar and spelling
9. Get critiqued
10. Read work by other writers
11. Give your readers a satisfying ending
12. Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite

They work, if you work them! We may not be recovering, but we are rewriting.