For Writers…The Paths Before You

The other day through a coalescing of feelings, reading old blog posts and considering the allegorical map of my work over the past ten years a post concerning the experiences, emotions and elements which drive of A Writer formed.

I have to admit to a measure of gratitude and a smidge (a small smidge) of pride at the response. There was definitely a sense gladness at having contributed to the collective swirl which is the WP writing community.


For there is always ‘An However’

Of course being A Writer one piece is going to agitate the Writing part of your being, concerns would bubble up.

Could I have phrased ‘that’ part in a clearer way?

Was there repetition?

Did ‘that’ part need qualification?

You know the sort of experiences, irrespective of how much positive feedback you get, you still fret and fidget. You wouldn’t be A True Writer otherwise.

Anyway, preamble aside.

Another issue appeared into my head.

Which Way. Alone or In Team

One of the many topics/aspects of writing which are relevant to your calling and even career as A Writer and so here is:

The Path You Choose.

The question arises after you have set about writing your work, revising it and attending to some editing and you have a ‘finished’ work in front of you. This ‘finished’ work is not necessarily a completed novel, story, poem or factual work it may well be ‘a part’

Before I conduct you along to much more mystery it is necessary to consider an excellent post raised recently concerning Bad Advice given to new writers. I attach the link for you to read and consider. Then I will move along

9 Pieces of Bad Publishing Advice New Writers Should Ignore – by Anne R Allen…

It is at this stage you stand where the roads branch out into misty places. To stay A Writer you will be taking one. Fear not this place is generous for there are myriad side-tracks at which point you can change from one path to another. None are wrong. For all are You, however no longer A Writer, now it is You, The Writer. For we are at this place of choice.

(For a while on I will be using ‘I’, because my choice is an example of going in one direction. This will be written without favour for one side or the other, will not advise you to go one way or the other. This will be written in the style practiced over 40+ years of working in the UK Civil Service, detached, reporting of a situation.)


I normally work alone. Independent of anyone’s advice or guidance. To pretend in doing this I have some admirable heroic element and an aura of Rugged Individualism would be on my behalf preening arrogance and insufferable vanity. I am practical enough to understand this is down to my own stubbornness at taking any advice in general and on my writing in particular. This is how I work. A place with space to engage with my characters, I like to examine the day to day human foibles and quirks not just the dramatic ones associated with Fantasy. A central character is just as likely to stumble out of bed in an ordinary sort of tizzy, forget where they left their shirt, stub their toe and find they have misplaced their hairbrush as they are to fight valiantly against heavy odds. Matters might never reach a clear conclusion….often they don’t seem to in Life. A wise and experienced editor or beta-reader might well throw their hands up in horror when they find this happening all over the book as it would be breaking up the narrative. I doubt if I would argue with them, I would respect their judgement, but I wouldn’t act on it. For me  the way I wish to write requires me to put these interludes in, the characters grow in my eyes, anyway and since I am the one writing it is how it has to be.

For me.

I have to accept this limits the chances of selling copies of my work. If I can’t work with people at this level I could be missing the first level as to how good my work is for the public in general. Well there is a paradox to be sure. I would like to have my work known, but I won’t seek out advice. Possibly a very bad move. Something I live with. For I must write the way I want to. There again many people write the way they want to and still have the ability to work with editors, friends, beta-writers and so forth.

So. Me. Hopeless case. Probably.

OK out of the First Person Single and back to the world of A Writer.

Layer Upon Layer

No one has to take a firm and unmoveable stance at every level or turning in their writing. Common sense, 45 years of marriage and also 45 years of working in the public domain indicates to me there will always be levels and areas of compromise which give freedom for a writer to maintain their independence, while taking on board advice and suggestions.

The challenge which faces You, The Writer is which way you feel you can go and what you wish to have from your writing.

As a profession. Of course we must leave aside the laughable notion of ‘riches’. There are many folk who make a living from writing, which is quite another thing and they will tell you is a lot of hard work and pain to get there. True there are a very few who hit the target with relative ease, whether they can keep that going is another matter.

You may just wish to write, because you want to, but understandably you would like to have folk know you are doing it, maybe in the upper reaches of three figures or possible scraping four figures would be nice. That’s all you ask for. Just a smidge of recognition. No more.

And there are between the two, those variable levels of emphasis.

Evidence suggests whichever of the two you take would be advised to reach out for some level of support to get wherever you are going.

Common Denominator

Whether you work alone, or whether you are able to work with others a few sensations or experiences will be encountered in either.

There will be measures of sacrifice. Either accept do as you wish and maybe never find out how well you are writing. Or understand people are always ready to give advice, in most cases this will be well-meaning and useful, and you will have to change some of your work.

Nothing is simple. There is no magic day when you create your work at the first try, place it into public domain and it promptly draws attention. No matter how much we all would all like it to be so.

Even if you endeavour to seek a middle ground of semi-indepenance you run the same track


The choices are yours.

Both carry elements of risk. Both carry the danger of one form of rejection of another. And this cannot be avoided. You yearn to be A Writer. You are willing to take the chance either way, because the words will not stay there in your head or heart, they are bursting to be free into print.

And so unto yourself say

‘I will,’

This is sufficient to raise fire unto your cause and your course.

I wish you well

About Writers…Slouching through the Mire.



31 thoughts on “For Writers…The Paths Before You

  1. Roger, “nothing is simple” rings true. I saw one writer interviewing another one. The interviewee happened to be in a band with some other successful writers. I mention this, as he said there are different styles of writing in the band. He called himself a lazy writer who would wait until the last minute and let it flow. Now, he had a clue before hand, but wrote before deadlines. I recall Malcolm Gladwell saying he would do a little research and then write. He said he would get bored if he did all of his research up front. It fit his style.

    Thanks for all the encouragement you give. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Keith.
      There probably are as many styles as there are writers (and I daresay more than a few have more than one style depending on circumstances and mood).
      What concerns me are
      (1) Talent being stifled because new writers might be lead to believe there is ‘a true and only way’
      (2) New and/or sensitive writers being discouraged by unnecessary barbs by small-minded folk who fancy themselves has having insightful ideas on writing…when nothing could be further from the truth.
      Happily the WP writing community is spared these dread dogmas.


      1. Hey, ya wanna be a writer, kid? Let me pinch your cheek, see how thick your skin is!!! If you have a story you are sure is worth telling and it hasn’t been told a million times already; if you can handle criticism and sarcastic put-downs like you handle that bit of uncooked meat by pushing it to the edge of the plate; if you are sure you know how to write at least in your mother tongue without making a total fool of yourself; if you are passionate – scratch that – if you know you can put in the time, then… think seriously about writing some letters to the editor of your local newspaper. If you want to change the world and are willing to put your life on the line for that very reason and if you don’t care at all how your thoughts are received then by all means, write something serious.

        I can be a writer if I’m willing to say what I mean and mean what I say as demonstrated by my daily life among those who know me as “me” and not as “the author of that novel they made a movie out of.”

        Liked by 1 person

      2. And there speaks A Writer.
        We chose our path. We hit the road. We wonder from time to time what the Second Hell we are doing there, we shrug say ‘because…’ and stride ( sometimes stagger) on.
        My mission statement has been to entertain while also annoying those who deserve to be annoyed.
        Pausing for ‘a smidge’ of self-belief.
        I think The Precipice Dominions would make very good movies……but what do I know? I’m only a writer, after all (sarcasm). One who watches films on the basis that if the professional critics dislike them they must be worth watching….

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m kind of with you, Roger – mind you I do take advice, and do act on some of it, then think sod it, and go back to what I first thought of, more enlighten I kid myself, but weeks,okay months, possibly a year behind where I could have been – likely outcome much the same I reckon, selling 100 to 500 books if I’m (very) lucky, mind you, I’d take that – blimey, this has become a very long sentence. Right, back to trying to get the Sam & Erin thing on a Kindle soon. Power to you, Roger, Eric.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Eric.
      Sam & Erin on Kindle would be a treat indeed. Shout it from the allegorical rooftops when it’s ready.
      Me, I’ll never change…maybe I’ll be discovered by some literary historian in a century or so and my great-great-grand kids will clean up on the proceeds!


  3. If I ever manage to write anything beyond my humble blog, it will be nothing short of a miracle, but I always appreciate your encouragement and advice. But … are you saying that my first attempt at writing a novel won’t bring in enough to buy a mansion on a hillside in Tuscany? Drat. 😉 Good post, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah well … I don’t want to write just for money anyway. Not to say I would turn down a check from a publisher, but … I wouldn’t do it for that purpose. I have had offers to publish pieces to the Washington Post, but they require that it not be published anywhere else first, and I write for my blog, for myself first, and for my readers, so … sorry ’bout your luck, Washington Post … keep the money and I will continue to write as I please. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Roger! I kind of think that way too, but … I have a number of friends who tell me that the amount of time I spend on my blog is “silly”. I’ve come to hate the word “silly”. 😤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Pffffft!
        What a load of tosh!
        Talk about trying to supress your pursuit of ‘Life, Liberty etc’.
        Wrong! Wrong! Thrice Wrong!
        In one of my more creative moods (thunder, wind, rain, stone tower) I could go around making most folk miserable by saying what they do is ‘silly’ (irrespective of the amount of time they spend on it- I am very creative).
        Your blog is ‘your thing’ and that is the end of it. It is what makes you, you and there it is.
        There is a world of difference between doing a thing because you feel you ‘ought to’ and because you ‘want to’.
        Blog on dear Lady. Blog on.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thank you, kind sir! I typically don’t listen to the naysayers who ought to be more concerned about taking care of their own business than worrying about mine. Admittedly, though, there are days when they make me question whether what I’m doing hasn’t much value.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Quite! Take care of your own business.
        Y’see the point is this Jill.
        As I am fond of saying currently the USA is lurching towards a crossroads and the paths have crossraods of their own. Most of them are Not Good.
        Any american with a sense of true history and perception has a duty to stand up and say their piece and engage in the voting processes avaiable to them, while encouraging folk to vote.
        Anyone else is either supporting the path to the end of the USA by acqueiscence or by apathy….a great friend of intolerance.
        You are one of the patriots, one of the 21st century Minute Men. Make no mistake your nation hovers on a preciepice. Engage Jill, Engage.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Yes, this nation is indeed headed toward a crossroads and as I told somebody yesterday, nothing will ever be quite the same again. It may end up better, or it may end up worse, but never again quite the same. My fear is that it won’t end well, but … I shall keep trying to open people’s eyes, for that is the only power I have. That, and of course my vote! Thanks for your encouragement, my friend! The moggies send their love! 😸😸😸😸😸😾

        Liked by 1 person

  4. See that’s what’s so great about the current situation for writers: we have an enormous range of choices. If we want to be traditionally published by one of the Big Five we can “hone our craft” and submit and wait, and submit and wait, until one day a door opens. Or we can publish ourselves, using services of editors, cover designers, etc. Or following the DIY path. We can study marketing and experiment with different approaches. Or not. Maybe our goal is to earn a living by writing, or merely to supplement our income a little. Maybe we don’t care at all (or not much) about making money; we just want our books to be read. Or maybe we just want to be able to say “I wrote a book and published it,” never mind if anyone ever reads it. The only thing we need to do is figure out which of these options is for us, and adjust our expectations accordingly.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Simon
      Very true. It’s all hard work and often scant reward….Apparently. But you never know, really.
      Ripples in a pond?
      And there’s the fun. The two books to date (still waiting for that cover, must be patient, not the only client) have been so much fun.
      I have to admit to that smidge (just a smidge) of pride and think ….’Yeh…not bad. Won’t beat George R. R. Martin, Joe Abercrombie or Brandon Sanderson (to name but three!), but…not bad’


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