On Writing,  publishing

My Beliefs to Help New Year Perspective

(I wrote this post first off as part of a daily post just over a year ago. But I think bringing it back now might help a little here in the middle of these posts geared to help you all make decisions for the new year and set goals. Might want to figure out your own beliefs about publishing and writing before firing up in 2017.)

I thought I should quickly just put my beliefs on the table about writing and publishing. I hope these are clear here on this blog most of the time.

1… I believe anyone with the desire and drive can learn how to write and sell professional-level stories. It takes time, there are no shortcuts, but it is possible. Everything I talk about is toward long term career writers and helping writers make sane decisions in that direction.

2… I believe that education on business and craft is a continuing process that never ends for writers. Sadly, many writers get to a place where they think they don’t need to learn anymore, usually prefaced with some excuse like “it will hurt me.” I believe those writers are doomed in short order.

3… I believe writers should write what they want. If that is chasing the most recent fad, fine, if it is what the writer wants to write. But most times writing what we want is from our passion and often doesn’t match a recent trend in sales.

4… I believe that if you don’t quit, keep writing to passion, keep learning, eventually the money and career will come. The learning along the way has to be in both the business and the craft.

5… I believe that any writer who wants to be taken care of by someone else in publishing is a fool and will be taken care of eventually, but not in the way they want. If you don’t want to learn the business you want to work in, I believe you have passed from fool to pure idiot.

6… I believe a writer’s dreams are very, very important and worth time, money, and energy to help along. I believe that people around us who try to hold us back should be booted out the door, even if they are family. Sometimes a writer’s dreams, in my opinion, are worth more than the family who want to hold you back. (see #7 below before you yell.)

7… I believe children are more important than anything, including your writing dreams. Pay attention to your children. You can write when they are gone. Writing will always be there, children will not be.

8… I believe in helping other writers move along the road they want to walk. I have no desire to have people walk the road I have walked. I did it my way in my time. Do it your own way in your time. That’s what I try to help you with.

9… I believe a writer should be paid for their time and skill and craft and years of learning. In the same breath, I do not think a writer should ever devalue their own work, even as a beginner. Actually, especially as a beginner.

10… I believe the saddest people on the planet are the people who have not had the courage to move toward their own dreams and have let crappy jobs and bad friends and family hold them back. Fear of learning, fear of change, fear of risk are tragic when they get in the way of chasing your dream.

All just my beliefs and opinions. For what they are worth.

Hope they help you in setting goals for 2017.


  • J.R. Murdock

    #7. So much #7. And now that my favorite daughter is in college, time to get back on track with my writing dreams 🙂

    P.S. thank you for another year of writing inspiration and motivation!

  • Linda Maye Adams

    On #9: Years ago, I’d get the Novel and Short Story Writer’s Guide, which listed all the markets, paying and non-paying. I’d look through to find a place to send a short story. On each entry, the book listed the average number of submissions and the percentage of writers who got. I’d look at the pro markets, see those numbers, and went, “I’ll never get into that.” And I went for the ones that had better numbers, which were the non-paying. It wasn’t until I came here and started reading the blog that I came to realize that I was telling myself subconsciously that I wasn’t good enough to get into the pro markets. I took the short story workshop, sent a story to F&SF, and got my first personal comment from a pro market (and every story since has gotten some personal comments).

  • Dale T. Phillips

    Dean, thanks once again for being an inspiration. My path owes much to your encouragement and advice. Am seeing a steady increase in success, because I’ve built a foundation as you’ve advised, and am always adding more work and more value. When asked for advice, I point them to you and Kris. Bless you both for the help to us in becoming pro writers.

  • Sheila

    I agree with every point. That may seem really odd, and I looked for something that didn’t jive with my own thinking, but it just wasn’t there.

    It’s going to be a new year very soon, and I’ve been taking the time to evaluate what happened in 2016 and see where I need to focus next year. Your articles have helped immensely, Dean.

    May 2017 be as awesome as you!

  • Dianna Dann Narciso

    Very inspiring. I’m not completely sure about number 4, and I just got through a very bad year full of self-doubt. But there’s just no giving up. I may never be successful in the way that I’d hoped. But that shouldn’t stop me from doing what I love doing.