Writing Tips: Being an Author: Pros & Cons

18 Jan

Yesterday would’ve been my mother’s 54th birthday if she hadn’t passed away on March 16, 2003.

My mother and I in 1992.

My mother and I in 1992.

Today, I’m dedicating this post to her, because she is the reason I have become so passionate about my writing dream. Her memory has pushed me forward, time and time again, ever since 2003, and my passion is very much driven by my inability to give up (as I want to succeed for myself and her) even when my career was looking nonexistent.

As a writer, you’ll have pros and cons, even after publishing. (In fact, this list will increase.) Some days, one outweighs the other, and that’s perfectly okay—temporarily—but don’t allow one to destroy the other.

So I’m going to share how I manage my pros and cons.

Writer’s Block: It happens. In this case, I truly believe there’s something wrong with your writing piece. It’s a matter of finding it. The best way I’ve solved it is to have conversations with my characters (or even the setting.) Figure out why they’d be unhappy, because your characters are very much your stream of subconscious, so if you’re unwilling—they probably are too.

Finding the Time: YOU CAN. I manage two websites. I’m a full-time college student, and I have family, friends, relationships, life, and my kitten to take care of on a regular basis. However, I still find time to write (a lot) and you can too. It takes sacrifice. You have to be willing to give up that Friday night every once in a while.

Overwhelming Passion: I’ve literally worked so hard on editing, writing, and organizing my vision was blurred. I’ve forgotten to eat, because I was so focused on writing (or too busy managing schoolwork with writing business), so it’s sometimes an art to put necessity before your passion (although you will learn quickly when you can’t see after staring at a computer screen for a week.)

Rejections/Criticism: Love it. I’m serious. There’s a difference between a “hater” and a “critic.” If someone doesn’t like YOU, they probably won’t EVER like your work. Don’t pay them any attention. However, a CRITIC is someone who gives you a fair chance. Even if you don’t like what they have to say, mentally take their side for a moment. Put yourself in their shoes to see if you can understand where they’re coming from. Chances are, you will, and you’ll learn SO much. Don’t feel hurt, because they’re essentially building you up to succeed in a better place.

Writing/Editing: Writing a novel isn’t easy. Writing an intelligible novel isn’t any easier. Writing will take a rigorous amount of passion. If you don’t have that, don’t write, because you’re writing for the wrong reasons. In regards to editing, it’s NECESSARY. End of story. A publisher won’t look at an unedited piece. It’s unprofessional and gives them a heavier workload. Edit to the best of your ability, have friends/family help you, and if you have money, consider hiring an editor.

Money: Not every piece of your writing will get published or make you money (Even if you’re already published.) In fact, you might write a 125,000 word novel, and your publisher doesn’t think there’s an audience. That’s OKAY. Concentrate on what you learned from writing it. Did you realize your characters aren’t differing much? Did your descriptions become more magical? If you can’t figure it out, give it time before returning. You’ll learn what that novel taught you.

Fellow Authors/Fans: This is MY FAVORITE PRO. You will meet so many bright and inspiring writers and readers to push you forward in your dream. The saddest part, for me, is running out of time to speak with all of you individually, but I try very hard (especially by e-mail), and I always will! By publishing, I’ve met authors: Elizabeth C. Bunce, Stephanie Meyer, Jodi Reamer, Greg Kincaid, Rosemary-Clement Moore, T.L. McCown, and more. I couldn’t be more thankful.

Writing Again: Have you ever read a book that was so good you almost couldn’t move on to the next one? This happens to writers too, except with their own work. You’ll get attached to your characters so much that it’ll be hard to let them go (whether you’re moving on to another piece or the next in a series.) Don’t be too hard on yourself. Write a small fun-piece in between. Give yourself a “writer’s vacation.”

If you have any others you’d like me to address, let me know!


66 Responses to “Writing Tips: Being an Author: Pros & Cons”

  1. Absolutely Write January 18, 2013 at 12:07 am #

    Wise words indeed Shannon. And I love the picture of your mum – what a lovely smile and such twinkly eyes!

  2. 1yeartofixmylife January 18, 2013 at 12:11 am #

    I love reading your posts. I would love some feedback from you (if you have time) regarding my first two chapters. Both can be read at http://www.OneYearToFixMyLife.com
    I don’t write YA stuff, but I’m more looking for tips on style than content at this point.

    • Shannon Thompson January 19, 2013 at 5:02 am #

      I’m currently in the middle of a move and returning to college on Wednesday. I will do my best, but it may be a while. I’ve swung by before, as I remember following you for that reason.

  3. Leisa January 18, 2013 at 12:22 am #

    Awesome Post Shannon!!!!

  4. Gemma Rolleman January 18, 2013 at 12:32 am #

    Great post Shannon and I’m so sorry about your mother – she would be very proud of you. Well done for being so courageous and persistent ;)

  5. elizjamison January 18, 2013 at 5:19 am #

    I absolutely love this post. This statement you made is also so so so true: “Writer’s Block: It happens. In this case, I truly believe there’s something wrong with your writing piece.”

    I try to tell myself and my students that if you are feeling like there’s something wrong, if you have a “gut” feeling about it, then don’t ignore it because you don’t feel like going through the pain of editing. If you think there’s something wrong, there probably is. Also, I have found that writer’s block often happens when you haven’t read enough or thought through what you were doing enough. Anyway, fantastic post. It is inspiring to see someone so passionate.

    I love having the passion to write – dissertations and blogs! It gives me another purpose, which feels great.

    Sorry about your mom but glad you have taken her death and turned it into something hopeful and beautiful. I am going to buy your book on Amazon.

    • Shannon Thompson January 18, 2013 at 6:30 am #

      Thank you for all of your kind words–truly touching–and I’m very glad that you enjoyed the post (especially since we share the same passion.)

    • Shannon Thompson January 18, 2013 at 6:31 am #

      P.S Thank you for reblogging my words as well. I hope your readers can also enjoy the post.

  6. elizjamison January 18, 2013 at 5:20 am #

    Reblogged this on A Daily Journal of my Comp/Rhet Dissertation and commented:
    Fantastic writing advice by an author who is passionate about her work.

  7. jimgramze January 18, 2013 at 5:32 am #

    I particularly liked your comment about writer’s block being related to the piece being written about. On some topics or through certain character’s voices the words gush out faster than I can type, and at other times it cannot be forced out by threat of the most horrible torture. The author and the piece need to match up or nothing is going to happen; nothing good, at least.

    I do try to tell people that everything they write matters, that every little memo is an exercise and example of their craft. Your words, in this article, ebb and flow with a pleasant rhythm even though you are being instructive. I don’t understand how people can be sloppy in a blog article and then think their book is all that matters. An article is a brief chapter in a large body of work that is your entire blog.

    Twitter is much maligned on talkshow monologues. As they poke fun I sit there and think of the many famous and witty quotes that would fit within 140 characters. If one is to be a writer then one should carefully craft and experiment always with written words, perhaps spoken words most of all. How do people react to the exact phrasing and tone of your words face-to-face? If your spoken words are effective, how do you reproduce the music of your tonal inflection into your written words.

    It’s all art. The art of communication. To project understanding and emotion in a fun and clever way, to spark realization in someone, that is what is special to me as a reader and when I’m lucky as a writer as well.

    I so enjoyed your little tutorial here. I look forward to pouring over more of your work. Thanks so much for the “follow” because it then caused me to follow you back and discover something special.

    • Shannon Thompson January 18, 2013 at 6:34 am #

      I really enjoyed what you had to say about communication with writing, twitter, and talk shows, because they’re all under the umbrella of communicating but completely differ. Being able to communicate effectively is one thing, but making it enjoyable is another. I’m glad we connected!

  8. hawleywood40 January 18, 2013 at 5:52 am #

    I loved the last point about it being hard to let your characters go when you cross the finish line. I decided to take a one-month hiatus from going back to the draft of my novel before I begin the editing process, so that I would come back to that task with a fresh perspective on the book. Although I am loving blogging again and beginning to brainstorm new projects, I DO miss my characters!

  9. Ed Raby Sr January 18, 2013 at 7:23 am #

    I am planning on writing a similar post about my dad at the end of the month. Good advice in this one. Blessings.

  10. coastalmom January 18, 2013 at 8:12 am #

    A friend (jim) recommended you blog! So glad he did! Can’t wait to come back and wander through your archives!

  11. Lisa Mae DeMasi January 18, 2013 at 8:16 am #

    Excellent advise coming from a fellow writer. My sympathies for your mother’s passing. I’m sure she left a hole in your heart that can’t be filled. My mom, unlike your mom, has not encouraged me to write, she’s waiting for me to return to the corporate world. I wrote a post on our relationship and the writing topic on my blog. Support is so important.

    Warm wishes to you from a chilly Boston! Lisa.

  12. R.A Marsh January 18, 2013 at 9:48 am #

    It should be said that anyone who wants to write SHOULD write. It’s important to not be discouraged when thinging, or beong told, that your witing isn’t very good. Writing is very much a skill, rather than a talent. Just like sports or athletics, when you train your writing muscules you will get better and steong in your development.

    • Shannon Thompson January 18, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

      I didn’t mean that they SHOULDN’T write. I apologize, because I can see how it could’ve came across that way. Instead, I meant that one shouldn’t write if their only reasoning is to become rich or famous, rather than writing for passion.
      I hope that clarifies what I was trying to say. If it’s still offensive or somehow discouraging, then I’m sorry again.
      I’ll try harder to be clearer in my messages in regard to publishing.

      • R.A Marsh January 21, 2013 at 6:00 am #

        I totally didn’t it read it that way, my reasoning for saying that was, I think everyone should be writing, and just to know that writing is a skill like everything else and with practice everyone will get better (with various degrees of improvement).

        I didn’t read it the way you thought I did at all! It was a great post.

      • Shannon Thompson January 21, 2013 at 11:10 am #

        Okay! I was afraid I offended you. Unfortunately, the internet can be like texting sometimes. The emotion isn’t there, so it can be read differently.
        I agree with your statement completely :D

  13. gooseyanne January 18, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    I admire your work ethic and I am sure your mother would have felt the same. Shame you lost her so young.

  14. barbaravaranka January 18, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

    Great post, Shannon! You’re a great writer. Thank you for connecting.

  15. barbaravaranka January 18, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

    Great post, Shannon. You are a great writer. Thanks for connecting!

  16. ifeomadennis January 18, 2013 at 7:11 pm #

    awww Shannon this was a great post! And I’m glad you’re keeping your mother’s dream alive. Best wishes :)

  17. simonreadbooks January 18, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    A great post, Shannon. You’re absolutely correct, by the way . . . the cons of writing actually increase once you’re published–but if you have the passion, you just KBO (“Keep Buggering On” . . . to quote Churchill).

  18. sweetmelonberry January 19, 2013 at 6:59 am #

    I wish you luck on your journey to become an author If you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.

    • sweetmelonberry January 19, 2013 at 7:00 am #

      Haha, I seemed to have forgotten the period after author.

  19. David Fernandez January 19, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

    Hi! I’ve really enjoyed reading your work, so much so that I’ve nominated you for a Very Inspiring Blogger award. Here’s my post if you’d like to check it out: http://dlfwriting.com/2013/01/19/very-inspiring-blogger-award/

    • Shannon Thompson January 20, 2013 at 7:41 am #

      Thank you for nominating me for the Very Inspiring Blogger award.
      I’ll check it out soon!

  20. jhobellkristyl January 19, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

    How sweet of you to dedicate this wonderful post to your mom. Thank you for sharing this post!

    Jhobell Kristyl

  21. kwalitisme January 20, 2013 at 8:27 am #

    Reblogged this on kwalitisme and commented:
    Sounds familiar. I want to write a book but somehow I just cannot start…

  22. Kathryn Craft January 20, 2013 at 8:36 am #

    Great post Shannon. “Overwhleming passion”—amen. When all else fails this will see you through every other challenge. And thanks for stopping over at The Fine Art of Visiting!

  23. Julie the Workaholic January 20, 2013 at 9:10 am #

    Great post! I’m in the process of a novel of my own, and this was a timely blog for me. Thank you!

  24. slepsnor January 20, 2013 at 9:16 am #

    All of this is good advice, but I especially like the writer’s block and writing again. I have constant discussions with my characters when it seems they are resisting what I want them to do. It usually boils down to a misunderstanding or me not realizing that it isn’t in their nature to go through with what I’m requesting. As for writing again and saying ‘good-bye’ to characters, there’s always the option of cameos if the previous characters can be slipped in. Though, I’m writing multiple series in the same fantasy world, so it’s probably easier for someone like me.

  25. inspirationbyjuly January 20, 2013 at 11:30 am #

    Such a good post. My biggest drawback is making time for writing and writers block. Thanks for following my blog. I look forward to more of your posts.

  26. fortyoneteen January 20, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

    Wow, great post thank you. I think I can link my writers block to the final point. I’m almost finished my novel and I just can’t bring myself to do it. I know what’s coming and that is saying goodbye (until book two that is). Ha!

  27. evelyneholingue January 24, 2013 at 5:29 pm #

    Just love the passion of this post. Feels good to see that other writers share the same struggles and joys. Best to you.

  28. Rachael 'Honest' Blair January 27, 2013 at 6:56 am #

    Great post Shannon! The one I struggle most with is time… I have all the same commitments as you (except the kitten), and an (almost) two year old son! I do everything while he sleeps (which isn’t as much as I’d like) but I somehow still manage to fit writing in. Like you say, if it’s a passion, you can’t not write, I find. My novel is taking a very long time though, which can be a little frustrating. However, my Mum (who died in 2007) inspires me to keep going too, so we have that in common. Thanks for liking my recent blog post and following my blog… I’m following you now too!

    • Tim Vicary February 2, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

      Lots of wise words here, Shannon., particularly about writer’s block. I’ve been stuck with a story for a while, and I was just coming to realise why -i didn’t really like it, and my characters wouldn’t fit into it either, just as you say. and because I didn’t like it I was constantly thinking about all the other things I had to do urgently instead, and so no progress was made.

      But sometimes you have to get away from the thing for while, and let it work in your conscious or those apparently idle moments when you’re not apparently doing anything very much, until suddenly the solution pops up and you see your way clear. Until next time, anyway.

      Good luck to you.

  29. Google January 29, 2013 at 10:54 am #

    Every once in a whilst we pick out blogs that we study. Listed beneath would be the most up-to-date web sites that we select

  30. barbarastanley February 2, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

    Great tips. Congratulations on becoming so accomplished so early in life. Your passion shines through.

  31. drewdog2060drewdog2060 February 3, 2013 at 4:47 am #

    Thank you for these very helpful tips. I’m considering an editor for my latest book, Samantha as I want to produce a quality work of fiction.

  32. Jennifer Wilcox February 3, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    Hi Shannon,

    Enjoyed your post and look forward to reading more of your blog. I especially liked your thoughts on writers block. So glad you stopped by my blog and decided to follow me, thank you!

    I am a writer, unpublished, but a writer none the less, and I enjoy it so. Everything I have written relates to days of old or children, inspired by grandparents and my three huckleberries.

    I love that your momma’s memory is such an inspiration for you and glad she remains so close to your heart.


  33. SO! What? SOcial February 3, 2013 at 2:16 pm #

    Very informative post! I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks for the information :)

  34. leamuse February 4, 2013 at 7:43 am #

    I believe it was Natalie Goldberg who said “The best cure for Writer’s Block is to write. It is true.
    Have you ever read her book, Writing Down The Bones? It was, I believe, her first book about writing but also the best.

    • Shannon Thompson February 4, 2013 at 7:54 am #

      I haven’t, but I’ll be sure to check it out. Thank you,

  35. Casey February 4, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

    This is awesome. I love that you acknowledge that writing is hard. A lot of people want to be writers because it’s romantic or whatever until the actual writing part turns out to be REALLY hard. Congrats that you’ve been able to push through all the excuses and have shipped a product.

  36. John Rogers February 9, 2013 at 11:32 am #

    Very well said. Glad to hear about the agonies of leaving a good character who has grown better and better through one book but who maybe really doesn’t belong in the next one

  37. Alexia Casale February 16, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

    Thanks so much for following! Really enjoyed your post, especially the bit about rejection and criticism. This is such a crucial thing to grasp – not just for writers, but in general, especially when you’re studying. It applies just as much to my Literature students as my Writing ones. And, once you get your head around critical feedback as a compliment – as someone saying ‘I’m taking the time to tell you what I think you need wrong because I you’re good enough that I want to help you get better if I can.’ – it really makes such a difference. Really looking forward to reading your next post!

  38. Mike February 16, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

    Very inspiring and well-written piece. Thanks!

  39. amuteforamuse February 18, 2013 at 4:05 am #

    Hi, thanks for the like and the follow. I am looking forward to catching up on your older posts.

    PS: congratulations on the published novel. :)

  40. paullosada February 18, 2013 at 11:17 am #

    A quick and inspiring read… very thankful to come across your blog, Shannon. I particularly like your thoughts on writers block and overcoming it by having conversations with the characters and setting. I found myself doing this with a character last night… writing almost two pages of him doing things in a single room just so I could figure out what was happening in his head. I don’t know how much of it will survive the re-write, but taking that time certainly helped me move the story forward eventually.
    Keep up the posts! I wish I took my craft as seriously as you do when I was in college. You clearly have a long and fruitful career ahead of you!


  41. pollysentrick February 18, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    Love the post, Shannon! Thanks for connecting, I’m definitely a “follower” now. I must confess that I am absolutely TERRIFIED at giving fiction a shot. It’s on my bucket list. I am totally consumed with the wordsmithing and crafting my thoughts with lovely letters and symbols. It’s addictive. It’s wonderful. I feel like I can’t breathe when I am not writing. Fiction — I hear it calling me and I respond by standing there with my mouth hanging open, totally unsure of how to start. Any wise words?

  42. Sue February 19, 2013 at 5:32 am #

    Good tips, Shannon.

    My mother also passed away on March 16th! It was 2004 at the age of 72. 54 was much too young – you have my sympathies.

    • Shannon Thompson February 19, 2013 at 6:00 pm #

      I’m sorry for your loss. My mother was, unfortunately, 44 years old, and, yes, it was much too young.

  43. Margaret Lynette Sharp February 24, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

    A good, informative, and positive post! You obviously work hard at becoming a successful author, and have evolved an attitude that sparks success. Best of luck!

  44. McGirl February 26, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    I really enjoyed reading this. It gets me excited about writing all over again.

  45. rhonda February 26, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

    Great information. I’m loving your stuff so much I’m feeling pretty special that you are following my (very new) blog. And thank you, by the way. :) I look forward to reading more of your stuff.

  46. Barry Wright February 27, 2013 at 9:41 am #

    Good Morning, Shannon! “Memories do become treasures.” And they often bring much joy. Concentrate on the joyful parts as you approach March. Thanks for your Pros and Cons. Very Useful!

  47. Mira Prabhu September 22, 2014 at 4:03 am #

    Reblogged this on mira prabhu and commented:
    Being an Author: Some Pros and Cons from Shannon A. Thompson, courtesy The Story Reading Ape…onward, scribe!

  48. theowllady September 23, 2014 at 6:50 pm #

    Reblogged this on theowlladyblog.


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