Thirty-Seven Questions For Writers

3534516458_48e4e8595f_z The questions came to light from my reading of BD Hesse’s blog. They originally came from

  1. Why do I want to be published? For me, being “published” doesn’t necessarily mean being published by a traditional publisher, as some of the next questions indicate. The reason I want my stories to be out there in the wild, is because I believe that I have a gift to share. That’s not meant to sound pretentious, but it might. I come from a long line of story tellers and I want to continue that tradition. Publishing allows me to do that with a larger group of people. I also want to make a living from these efforts. Thus, publishing. Where many of these questions say “publishing” for me I will be thinking “a successful career as a published author”.
  2. What type of writing will I to focus on? I love to play in a variety of genres and mix them up. So, I guess the answer to this is the big umbrella of fiction. I don’t really have a desire to write non-fiction on a regular basis. Though I would, given an opportunity.
  3. What expectations do I have for myself as a writer? To improve and increase my output until I feel that the latter isn’t possible any more. The former is always possible.
  4. Are my expectations realistic? So long as I continue to write on a fairly regular basis, yes.
  5. What is my ultimate goal for my writing? My ultimate goal is to please a whole mess of people with my stories. Somewhere between now and this ultimate goal I hope to make a living from it as well.
  6. What knowledge do I have about the publishing process? I was once upon a time part of a small, ragtag bunch of rogue publishers. Thus, I know a fair amount. I have a lot to learn.
  7. What areas of the publishing process do I need to research more? I would say the marketing end of the publishing process.
  8. What time of day am I the most productive? Mid-day and provided I get enough sleep, between nine and eleven in the evening.
  9. What kind of writing schedule will I keep? I write at lunch nearly every day during the week and try to carve out some tiems on the weekend.
  10. Which authors do I most admire, and why? Of the ones in my sphere, I admire Paul Cooley, Terry Mixon, and Jake Bible to name only three of many. They all have the workmanlike approach that I strive to achieve and they’re great storytellers.
  11. How would I describe my writer’s voice? I think I’m still finding it, but I like to blend humor and realistic characters and put them in situations that challenge them as human beings. They may fail or they may succeed, but in striving they learn what it means to be human.
  12. What do I really know? How can I apply my real world knowledge and experience to my writing? As a career IT professional and a person who’s had many jobs and a rich life, I find it easy to think outside of my own head. I still have a long way to go in writing believable characters that are “other” than me, but I will always try.
  13. What skills do I have that will help me move toward publication? I know a lot about what it takes to make and put out a good story. I’m learning what good covers and layout look like.
  14. What skills do I lack that I must improve if I want to be published? My writing craft must continually evolve.
  15. What kind of professional development will I pursue? I will go to workshops, continue networking with other authors, and read, read, read.
  16. What roadblocks am I likely to face in my road to publication? Dedication. Making the time I have count.
  17. What is my contingency plan if I can’t get published? I don’t have a plan B. Self publishing isn’t a plan B and it shouldn’t be for anyone. It should be part of plan A.
  18. How will I build a platform–for either fiction or non-fiction? I’ve been working on that through podcasting and social media, but mainly it’s write, write, and write some more.
  19. What goals will I set for today? This week? This month? This year? I suck at setting goals and hitting them. My goal for this year is 350,000 words. That means I need to write about 30,000 words a month, 7,500 a week, a little over 1,000 a day.
  20. What am I doing to increase my exposure, even before I am published? Hosting podcasts, interacting with other writers, blogging.
  21. How do I plan to maintain my motivation during the rough times? My family is a big help. And having Patrons and fans who already believe in me.
  22. How will I deal with friends and family members who are not supportive of my writing? I don’t have this problem, but if I did I’d love them anyway.
  23. How will I financially support myself (and my family, if applicable) while I pursue publication–and even afterward? I have a day job and will continue to leverage those skills until I don’t need to anymore.
  24. Where will I go for writing support–critique groups, forums, etc.? I have a couple of Facebook groups that I’m part of and I have many good friends that are creative. I do want to find a local group.
  25. What might I need to give up to make this all happen? I need to at least reduce my TV intake and “lazy” time.
  26. Where will I/do I write, and is it the most effective place? I really find that I’m able to write anywhere, though having a writing shed would be nice.
  27. How do I plan to take care of myself physically and mentally during my writer’s journey? Get plenty of sleep, eat well, and maintain some level of down time.
  28. Am I a plotter or a pantser, and is my current system working for me? I do a bit of both. For short stories I pants. For novels I plot more. I feel like that’s working for me.
  29. Will I focus on gaining minor publishing credits first (short stories, poetry), or jump right into full-length books? I do a mix of both right now.
  30. Under what circumstances, if any, will I decide to give up? I hope to never give up.
  31. Will I consider self-publishing? I’ve considered and done it. See my links at the top.
  32. What feeling do I want readers to get from what I write? It depends, but I always want them to identify with the characters.
  33. What are the most effective ways for me to get inspired? Reading, people watching, listening to everything around me.
  34. Will I write by hand or on a computer? Will I use a word processor or specialized writing software? I’m a computer geek and find writing longhand to be tedious. I have had some success with keeping an idea book.
  35. What are the biggest struggles I face in this journey, and how do I plan to overcome them? My own personal demons; self doubt, laziness, and depression. I’m overcoming them with help from family, medication, and good self care.
  36. How can I make my writing more authentic, more genuine? I don’t want to chase trends. I don’t want to win awards. I just want to tell the stories that come spilling out. That may result in my being part of a trend or winning an award, but those aren’t my goals.
  37. Will I enter writing contests, or not bother? I don’t see the point in them.

How would you answer these questions?


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2 thoughts on “Thirty-Seven Questions For Writers”

  1. Great thoughts, Scott. I’m going to fill this out, print it and hang it above my desk! I’m thinking it’ll be good to see a daily reminder of my goals.

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