7 Lessons Related To Being a Writer

20141019_132341Eight years ago (almost) when I first started my novelist’s journey, I knew I’d be using my love of words, my English teacher knowledge of grammar and spelling, my research abilities, and even my computer knowledge. Piece of cake, I told myself.

I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Heard that before? The expression refers to being blissfully ignorant of not only the how-to’s but of the fact that the how-to’s even exist. And after those eight years of conferences and workshops, writing groups and editing notes, rejections and suggestions, I am on a totally different piece of ground than when I began.

Here are some of the tidbits that have made their way into my over-stuffed brain:

  1. Once  you have studied, followed, watched and emulated hundreds, nay, thousands of others in the writing field, you have to forge your own path.

  2. Whether you call yourself an author or a writer doesn’t really matter. Writing is what matters.

  3. Traditionally publish or self-publish questions relate as much to external factors such as your age and abilities as they do to taste or inclination.

  4. I can’t do everything. My ceaseless searching has yielded thousands of ideas on how to market my two novels. From offering to speak at historical group events to producing my own weekly radio show and book trailers for my books, ideas abound. I can only do what I can do so try not to get too frustrated at passing ideas by or getting bogged down in the one I’ve selected as a must-do. (Book trailers!–They’re coming.)

  5. Some people don’t read. Much as they like to support you and may even buy your books, especially the first one, they won’t actually read it. This is not because it’s not good or they don’t like you. Rather, it’s often because reading is not their thing.

  6. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Digg, Google+, Instagram, ipse lorem quantius tempos wastrels. Yes, that last bit is gobbledy gook. That’s how our brains react when we try to shovel in too much social media. I have learned to do what I can do and to ignore the rest.

  7. Do one thing to market your work every day. An article I read said to do this for at least three years. While I was busy finishing off and sending to my printers my second novel, I was still submitting my first to contests. Good thing I was as The Loyalist’s Wife was short-listed for a Canada-wide competition through Inspire! Toronto International Book Fair. Two weeks after the launch of The Loyalist’s Luck, I was in Toronto with its predecessor.

Of course many, many lessons imprint themselves on our writer’s brain if we let them. Just as the comments of critiquing partners are the author’s to use or not to use, so are all the other things we learn as we forge ahead. Remember you can’t experience the broadening joy of choosing your own way and words without having first waded through the soul-grinding experience of considering others’ advice.

So, this journey is not always a piece of cake; in fact, it rarely is. We’re lucky if it’s a morsel of that sweet confection. But when it is, take big bites!

For All Lovers of Historical Fiction, Just Out!

Book Two in The Loyalist Trilogy!

Purchase The Loyalist’s Luck Here.

The Loyalist’s Luck_cover_apr1.indd
John and Lucy escape the Revolutionary War to the unsettled British territory across the Niagara River with almost nothing. In the untamed wilderness they must fight to survive, he, off on a secret mission for Colonel Butler and she, left behind with their young son and pregnant once again. In the camp full of distrust, hunger, and poverty, word has seeped out that John has gone over to the American side and only two people will associate with Lucy–her friend, Nellie, who delights in telling her all the current gossip, and Sergeant Crawford, who refuses to set the record straight and clear John’s name. To make matters worse, the sergeant has made improper advances toward Lucy. With John’s reputation besmirched, she must walk a thin line depending as she does on the British army, and Sergeant Crawford, for her family’s very survival.

The Loyalist’s Wife, Book One in The Loyalist Trilogy!

by Elaine Cougler, winner of the WCDR 2014 Pay It Forward Scholarship


short-listed for Inspire! Toronto International Book Fair’s Self-Published Book Awards

The Loyalist's Wife_Kindle_1563x2500

When American colonists resort to war against Britain and her colonial attitudes, a young couple caught in the crossfire must find a way to survive. Pioneers in the wilds of New York State, John and Lucy face a bitter separation and the fear of losing everything, even their lives, when he joins Butler’s Rangers to fight for the King and leaves her to care for their isolated farm. As the war in the Americas ramps up, ruffians roam the colonies looking to snap up Loyalist land. Alone, pregnant, and fearing John is dead, Lucy must fight with every weapon she has.

With vivid scenes of desperation, heroism, and personal angst, Elaine Cougler takes us back to the beginnings of one great country and the planting of Loyalist seeds for another. The Loyalist’s Wife transcends the fighting between nations to show us the individual cost of such battles.

Purchase The Loyalist’s Wife here.


10 thoughts on “7 Lessons Related To Being a Writer

  1. Elaine, forget 7, let’s make it 10
    8- Social media is a way of connecting with people and NOT a way to sell your books. “Buy my book” on Facebook and Twitter, etc. turns people off
    9- Not every book is going to be successful. If a story isn’t going to sell, let it go. Put it away and move on.
    10- Writing is a lonely activity but not publishing. Actively seek to work with others: editors, beta readers, graphic artists. Don’t try to be an expert at all things or your book will suffer.


  2. and then you have friends….friends like me who know marketing and publicity (though I am more on the side of social media, it’s just “how” you do it–a way to make fans and friends, share interesting things surrounding your life and books, and create followers). I do agree with your list though, but there are those who will help authors (especially those who aren’t as go-gettting as you). It’s great that you offer advice from your own journey. 🙂


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