There’s No Business Like Writing Business

So, some of you know I finished the Superstars Writing Seminar this weekend, which is why this will be a very short post. There’s a field trip today and I’m going. (And yep, this afternoon will find me typing away on Through Fire, because I was writing by hand at the Seminar.)

Anyway, it occurred to me that writing is such a strange avocation, pulling things out of non-existence and putting them in someone else’s head that writers – by which I mean true writers, not people who write so that they can get their next promotion in academia or what have you, but people who are compelled to tell stories – need these seminars and workshops, even if they learned nothing new at them. Why? Because we spend three or four days in the middle of a bunch of our peers and we start thinking we’re not the cursed outliers of the human race.

Now this is the third year I’ve attended Superstars. I’m not going to say there was no information. Among other things, we had the inimitable Kris Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith as speakers, and even if you know the information, you always catch some nuance in what they say that lights up a lightbulb.

There was also a lot of info I’m not ready to use yet, and might never use – Hollywood, comics – but which is good to have in my quiver because one thing in this business your career is likely to do is take a sudden turn to the weird when you least expect it.

That’s all fine.

But the most important thing about it for me, this year, was feeling energized by knowing I wasn’t alone and even my peculiarities (writing a book while listening to talks) were shared by some of my peers.

After the seminar yesterday, a friend asked how she could finish her book really fast, and ramp up on her career (she writes romance) to where she’s making money.

I wished she’d taken the seminar (I tried!) but since she couldn’t this year, I am going to distill some stuff from the seminar for her.


  • Don’t stop. You can’t sell books you haven’t written.
  • Write through the distractions. There is never going to be a distraction free life while you’re alive and in the world.
  • Keep writing. Particularly in the indie game, but really in all of it, you need productivity to make actual money. As in, living and buying groceries money.
  • If at first you don’t succeed, pick yourself up and write again. This business is WEIRD and even the best get knocked down. The long-terms continue working through everything.
  • There is money in them there hills, but it is work to get there. So – as Kevin Anderson says – the books ain’t gonna write themselves.
  • Vary what you do. You never know what will hit. The more tickets you have the better the chance of winning the lottery.

And now, I’m going to go to my field trip and to write. I’ll be back on Tuesday with more reasoned commentary.

Meanwhile behave and ix-nay on the pink walls hey.

86 thoughts on “There’s No Business Like Writing Business

  1. Red and white make pink? But, gee, I heard a Navy chief swear that red and white made grey. OK, so it didn’t work out so well in the movie, but maybe this time . . . No?

    1. IIRC, because they didn’t have grey, and didn’t have enough of either white or red, they mixed them together, because the rule was to be grey, red, or white. And I think that was for the primer color. So if they ever actually got the top coat, it would no longer be pink.

        1. If it works, don’t take it of— Um, let me try again. If it’s working, don’t remove— Er, leave it where it is until we get to port. Third time’s the charm.

  2. I was thinking of something more like a paisley pattern. Stencils, or maybe wallpaper.



  3. That’s an excellent list for writers. You’re right, this is a crazy, tough business, definitely not for sissies.

    I’ll be guest-blogging tomorrow at, where I’ll discuss ways to get your story going when you’re stuck.

      1. Oh mannn, don’t you just hate it when your guns catch fire? Even if you have fancy grips they heat up and aiming (never too accurate with a six-gun even under favorable conditions) becomes impossible what with waving your hands in the air to try to keep from getting scorched.

        Then there are the bullets exploding in the cylinders and the fire ruining the tempering of the metal? Shucks, best thing to do if your six-guns are blazing is to jam them into the rain barrel or the watering trough without delay.

  4. Time to quit daddling and start writing again. I talked to several of my family members lately. My uncle and sister has been reading my books. My one sister requested more short books lol…

    1. My uncle told me that he wanted to see more books up there with my name on them.. I had no clue that any of them were even picking up my books — let alone reading them.

  5. Paint? Sarah, that wasn’t paint.

    And now comes the part where you don’t ask questions you don’t want answered.

      1. And no matter what happens, nobody goes into the sub-basement.

        We’re definitely going to need a bigger boat.

  6. I’ve thought of going to a writing seminar, but I’ve never heard of one close enough, and reasonably-priced enough to go to.
    It’s like trying to form a writer’s group. I’ve tried for many years to do that, but I’ve never been able to find other writers in my area who wanted to do one, so I just gave up on it.

    1. Superstar writing seminar… I think you can get the DVDs or audio CDs after the fact, but I think you probably lose something (a lot) by not being around the other attendees.

  7. There is money in them there hills, but it is work to get there. So – as Kevin Anderson says – the books ain’t gonna write themselves.

    You know, during the gold rush the most sure-fire way to get rich wasn’t to randomly try to find a mine– it was to either do good, hard work, or to be providing services to the miners.

    The Kevin talk seems to be instructing you on how to do the former– hanging out here, folks who can’t manage to finish a story might teach themselves how to do the latter, which will also have the lovely side-effect of making it so writing folks have more time to WRITE!

  8. Write through the distractions. There is never going to be a distraction free life while you’re alive and in the world.

    This applies to way more than writing.

  9. Most people won’t succeed because real success usually looks like a lot of hard work. As you intimate, the hardest part is to just make time to sit down and write. Those who make excuses – kids, school, tired, etc – will never succeed.

    1. I dislike being the one to tell you this, but you really do need to know: the advise wasn’t to “go fuchsia yourself.”

  10. *paints one wall black
    (true black(tm) that absorbs all light sent against it)

    just don’t stare at it too long

        1. Not for most guys, no. As long as she’s bathed recently and her teeth are more there than not…

          1. I . . . wow, I’d like to say that’s a new record in the ongoing pun-limbo contest that is the AtH comment sections, but I’m sure someone will lower the bar. But it will take effort.

    1. Does it feature The Torpedo Bureau? Gen. Forrest’s elite unit of negro commando, The Green Berets? Cannon-sized revolvers? Somewhere I have filed away an old Ordinance magazine of some of the ingenious weapons of the war, and another focusing on the Rains brothers (of the Carolina Rains). The Civil War already comes pretty much pre-Steampunked.

  11. “And yep, this afternoon will find me typing away on Through Fire, because I was writing by hand at the Seminar.)”

    And you sound like me, I have officially given up on Dragon, so I am listening to dictation I have recorded while driving and am typing it up.

    Well I was until I finished typing one story, and decided to take a break and got sidetracked here. 🙂

    1. There’s the “Crystal Singer” and “Dragon’s Hall” series by McCaffrey.
      The “Spellsinger” series by A.D.Foster

  12. Great seeing you there, Sarah. It was a great seminar. Came in expecting to accomplish some things and didn’t, and some other opportunities arose. With networking, you never know what’s going to happen.

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