Plot Lines in a Writer’s Life

Do you see your writing journey as concrete as the output of this plotter? Or is the ink all smudged with erasures and restarts?

I’ve met a lot of writers, some early on in my life and many more in the last five years since I really got serious. And  I often wonder if they have all gone through the journey that I have or was it just, write the manuscript, edit, and publish?

What I do know is that there are plot lines in a writer’s life, elements of similarity which we all experience, and they resemble a plot diagram with publication the final climax.

Here are some of the steps which I have taken, steps which might be construed as crisis points on that plot outline of my writing life.

1.  Write the initial first draft manuscript.

2.  Put it aside for 3 months before doing an edit and revisions.

3.  Take a number of writing classes which initially confuse, but eventually help to know what to do next.

4.  Join or create writing groups, hopefully with like-talented and similar genre writers, some of whom must know more than you do.

5.  Step back and look at others’ criticism of  your work and follow what is pertinent and helpful. (Ay, there’s the rub.)

6.  Figure out how the writing world works re querying agents and editors and apply your knowledge over and over again.

7.  Get positive response from said professionals.  Yay!  And publish.

This all might take years.  Or it might never happen.  Or you might be extremely talented, lucky, and clever and it happens overnight.  Whatever your outcome, remember that having other writers in your email address book is crucial.  Their advice and commiseration are absolutely necessary.  And I find that as I listen to others’ success stories and take their advice, my dream gets closer and closer.

I feel my plot graph edging toward the final high point with every bit of knowledge I gain and work I do.  You can, too.  Don’t get discouraged, writers!

Can you relate to any of these points?  Take a moment to leave a comment about your struggles, your success stories, or your advice. 


14 thoughts on “Plot Lines in a Writer’s Life

  1. Yes, Elaine, that about sums it up. I’ve lost count of how many years it’s taken to get a publishing contract. I know that perseverence and improving our craft pays off.

    I can edit a manuscript forever and I’m a little apprehensive at the thought of producing books within deadlines. I am in awe of writers who write and also have day jobs.


    • But don’t you start to get a little impatient and maybe even bored as the editing drags on and you learn more and more about what you should have done? Do you ever want to say enough already?
      Thanks for your insight, Sharon 🙂


  2. I think I’ve discovered the more I read about writing the more it confuses me as there often seems to be no rhyme or reason. There are certain rules and guidelines, but a lot is left up to personal opinion and often the rules are broken on purpose.


  3. Sometimes I feel like I’m on writing information and social media overload, but I try to have positive thoughts that it is all a necessary part of the journey. My more negative thoughts veer toward really disliking the writer who sits down and writes a first book one month and gets a terrific publishing contract the next.


  4. I’m a virtual hermit, live in an out-of-the-way place and haven’t access to the usual “writerly” outlets that you’ve mentioned. Hence I’ve been writing in a vacuum for almost my entire life (and I’m 59 now). But the Internet and Twitter have opened a few windows, and I’m liking the fresh air.


  5. Hi Elaine,
    And this cycle repeats after publishing! Take more classes, write another book, put it aside, edit it, send it off, hope the editor accepts it, start the promotional cycle. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head when you say you need fellow writers for support, because who else understands the craziness?


  6. I think there is a comon thread linking the comments together. Yes frustration can set in, especially when life overtakes your writing time. The lather-rinse-lather cycle will continue as you progress, but yes, you do eventually have to say enoough! and take a leap of faith.


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