Bio News Books Writing E-mail Guestbook

Five Things to Remember
© 2001 by Robyn Amos
This article may not be reprinted or distributed without the author's permission.


5 Reasons Being A Writer Is Tough

5. That whole starving artist thing. They were not joking. We an advance, and then royalties twice a year. Consider this, could you can make it on two paychecks a year if you needed to? For me, there are two keys words to survival: Day job. I have one.

4. Constant rejection. Yes, I sold the first book I ever wrote, 3 months after I wrote it. So I had the added embarrassment of being rejected after I was published. Then of course there's that woman who wrote me and said, "You had suspense in your novel. I only like straight romance. Needless to say I've sent your book back to the publisher." Hey, thanks lady, tell me where you work, so I can come make your day, too!

3. Forcing creativity. It would be lovely to court the muse, writing only when inspired. I'll write for a half an hour this afternoon and again in six months when the mood strikes me. Unfortunately, to be a published author or a writer seriously pursuing publication, you must write all the time whether you want to or not. Fortunately, you learn that creativity is always there. Unfortunately, finding it is work.

2. Booksignings. Yes, for everyone one hundred fans that come up and say that my books are wonderful and inspiring, there's only one that turns her nose up at my books and announces loudly, "I don't read those books." But ask me which encounters stick in my mind.

1. They don't let you keep the cover models. Yes, I know that's more of a personal problem. But, the reality of it is, authors don't have any control over who or what they put on our covers. I'd think a nice consolation to that fact would be at least letting me, I don't know, meet them. Nothing formal . . . dinner, dancing, a 6 month engagement, society page wedding. I might be inspired to write more books if I could date the cover models. But I digress. Next time you see an ugly book cover, don't blame the author, blame marketing.

5 Reasons Being A Writer Is Great

5. Work from home. For those fortunate enough to write full-time, you don't have to set the alarm clock, get dressed in the morning or put on makeup. You can write at whatever hour you choose, wearing pjs or sweats.

4. Reaching out to the world. All of us think we have something to say, how many of us actually get heard? My books reach people I've never met, all over the world.

3. Not everybody get's to do it. If I had a nickle for everyone who has told me, I don't know how you do it. I'm not creative at all. First of all, I don't believe that. Everyone is creative, but if you've gone so far as to say that you're not, digging for that creativity would probably be more painful than rewarding for you.

2. I know all my favorite authors, personally. How many people can walk into a bookstore, stand in front of whatever books you enjoy reading most, and say, "I know her, I know him, went a pool party at her house."

1. Ultimate control of our career.

We control the words. I can make the sun rise and set. Build worlds. Control destiny! Before you start thinking I have a "god" complex. Let me mention, that in my long (and I mean long) list of day jobs) I worked for the American College of Cardiology. An organization I really enjoyed working for and one that does really important work. But, if you want to talk to some people who believe they control life and death, talk to cardiologists. After that, I went to work for a while for the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. Eye doctors. Now, I realize that heart doctors don't have the market cornered on complexes. When I interviewed for this job, I told them I was experienced working with doctors, and if you could work with heart doctors you could work with anyone. They said, you know that's the running joke around here. The heart doctor says to the eye doctor, I've held the human heart in my own hand. I perform delicate surgery that changes the quality of life. The eye doctor says, Oh yeah, trying doing what you do blind.


That puts it in perspective doesn't it? But, back to me. What does that story have to do with writing? Nothing, other than who wants that kind of pressure? I can control the rain, I can control destiny and at the end of the day, no one's going to die and no one's going to go blind. If I make a mistake, I just hit the delete key. That's the kind of pressure I can handle.

5 Things Writing Has Taught Me About Life

That's right folks, listen carefully, I am about to impart important life lessons. But, before you get out your pen and pad, let me warn you that I'm not going to tell you anything you don't already know. But, before you doze off, let me say that there are a lot of things in life that we've learned and know. But, we don't always remember them, and therefore, need to be reminded of them.


5. Believe in yourself. It takes a certain amount of audacity to think you can be a writer. If you can't stand up in front of a crowd and say with pride, honesty and full-on conceit that I'm a damned good writer, then you won't make it. If someone else's opinion matters so much to you that you can be talked out of doing what it is you want to do, then you've already lost. Rejection is a way of life, especially for a writer, and you have to believe that you will get published. Or if that's not your goal, then you need to believe you're good enough to do what ever it is you truly desire doing. Whether or not it's true is another story. I'm here to tell you it's about believing in yourself. Whether or not you have talent . . . I'm not even going to go there.

4. Just say no. No, this does not refer to Nancy Reagan's war on drugs. And, no, I'm not giving you advice on what to say to your teenage daughter embarking on her first date. No one tells you, how to handle it when success comes too soon. What do you do when you get handed everything that you've ever wanted right away? No one told me I could say no to opportunities. When the publisher I'd been writing for asked me to turn in my next book on Dec. 1, I said, "Sure no problem." But, then, when a second publisher that I'd always wanted to write for accepted my proposal and said, "Can you turn it in Dec. 1?" Of course, I said no. Right? Wrong. I said yes, of course! Did I turn in two books on Dec 1st? Yes I did. Was that the most stressful 6 months of my life? Probably. I forgot the first lesson I learned. You can say no to opportunities because there will be more where that came from. Believe in yourself enough to only take on what you can handle.

3. The world doesn't end when you make a mistake. This time, when I was out of contract, one of my publishers offered for me to participate in a series. It's such an honor for the publisher to ask for you, that I overlooked the fact that they got to dictate what the plot would be, and I accepted without finding out the storyline. Then when the publisher I really wanted to write for offered me the contract of my dreams, I was smart this time. I asked for more than enough time to write both books. But the plot was so dreadful from the first book, that when it came time to write the book of my heart, I had nothing left. And I mean, nothing. I missed my first deadline. But, they were kind enough to give me another one. I missed that one too. I thought my world was going to end and my writing career was over. I spent a month with the shades, pulled down, deeply depressed, with the phone off the hook, worrying that they'd call to ask for the advance back. Fortunately, my editor was very understanding and they gave me a third deadline, and I'm happy to tell you that I finally finished that book. I relearned lesson number one, believing in myself. I didn't lose that special thing that allows me to write, and my career isn't over because of one or, in this case, two very big mistakes.

2. Friends. I became a writer believing the expression that writing is a solitary profession. You write alone at your computer with noone around to help you. The opposite is true. I never made so many friends until I became a writer. The romance writing community is the most supportive in the writing community at large. Maybe that's because we're predominantly women and nurturers at heart. But noone understands what I've been through more than my fellow writers. And in good times and bad, noone is there for me more than my community of writers.

1. Love is the answer. Yes, I know, it's very trite, and, oh, so cliché. But, hey, I'm a romance writer, and, it's true. Love is the answer. What was the question? What is the only good reason for becoming a writer? Because you love it. If you're writing for money, success, to be on the New York Times bestseller list, to see your name on a book jacket, or to get dates with cover models, then you're really wasting your time. The only reason to be a writer is because you love it. Many writers are neurotic, many writers are clinically depressed, all of us are those things at some point in our careers. Many of us confuse rejection of our work as rejection of us as people. The only good reason to put yourself through that is because you love it and you can't see yourself doing anything else.

| Bio | News | Books | Writing | Guestbook