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So, you want to be a writer

Updated: Feb 25, 2022

Ernest Hemmingway once said, "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."

When I first read that many years ago, I took it literally as when I first started playing guitar, my fingers did bleed. Then I realized Hemmingway was speaking figuratively. While bleeding means you have a raw wound and your life's liquid is leaving your body, it is the same with writing. You are opening yourself to the world. You are releasing your emotions, traumas, adventures, heartaches and joys upon the world. And after months or years of writing it all down, what if no one likes your story? It hurts!! Eliza Jane was 10 years in the making. Between developing, researching, and writing, I was also raising my daughter and working full time. Each rejection was a stab in my heart. Each rejection made me question my ability as a writer. Each rejection made me want to give up BUT after 13 rejections, Dorrance Publishing picked it up. Oh boy, what an experience that was, but that's another blog.

So, back to bleeding. You put yourself in your characters and build from there. There is a little bit of me in my protagonist and my antagonist. There is a little bit of me in my supporting characters. One outstanding tip I have learned is to "sit down and have a cup of coffee with your protagonist." (

Get to know your character. How does she think? What are her goals? What are her interests? What does she do when she gets angry? What's on her nightstand? And any other questions you'd ask to get to know someone. In my fiction workshop, I did just that with my protagonist. I really got to know him and developed a character worth writing about. It almost felt like an autobiography.

You might think that you have to develop the plot first, but does it really make sense to develop a situation that would not fit your character? Would you pack for a beach vacation only to find out your destination is hiking in the mountains? Don't put your cart before the horse.

You will find your story flows smoother once you really know your character.

So, go ahead, 'sit down at your (computer) and bleed'.

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