Your dream of being a published author and things you should give up

Most writers dream of being published.

That’s a given. Sure, there are a few people who just love to write with no intention of getting published. That’s fine. I have written many things which will never reach another reader in my lifetime. An example of this is my private journal. I use this to record events in my life, reflecting on how these events have shaped and influenced me. This journal is just for me but it might be read in the future by my children or even my grandchildren, but I doubt if they will have the stamina.

Getting back to my theory that most writers dream of being published I realise that many aspiring writers will inevitably be disappointed. It is a tough gig and getting tougher to break into the established publishing world. Ironically it is also becoming easier – if you consider blogs and ebooks. That is a topic for another day.

Some unpublished writers love the idea of having written. They dream about someday writing a book. The problem is – they don’t realise the effort it takes to write a book. It takes enormous discipline and single-mindedness to finish a book. My latest children’s novel went through 17 drafts. Significant portions of it were rewritten many times. Large slabs were written – only to be deleted later. Most people don’t have that sort of patience. Mind you – I had some help in the discipline side of things. The novel was for my Masters degree and I had two supervisors gently pushing me along, not to mention an insistent wife.

If you want to be a published writer you have to do two things: read widely and write daily.

That’s it.

Oh, I forgot… those two steps may take you five or ten or twenty years – or even a lifetime before you see your name in print.

But, I hear you cry – I don’t have the time to do that. So the only solution is to make the time. You can’t be a published writer with a string of publishing credits if you spend five hours a day watching television. It won’t happen. In fact, there are many things you will have to sacrifice to be successful as a writer. An article I read recently lists 7 things to give up so you have more time to write. The author makes some great points, but for me I’d add several more:

  • Severely control how often you access social media. They will suck the time out of your day.
  • Sacrifice some sleeping time. On a cold winter’s morning it may be tempting to sleep in. Don’t.
  • Housework. Sure, some housework must be given attention, but would you rather have a reasonably clean home and be published – or a spotless home and nothing written.

I’m sure you can think of time and energy thieves in your life.

Further reading:



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