Why should writers write?


Why do writers write?

More importantly, why should writers write?

American author Charles Bukowski  (b. 1920 – d. 1994) tells it like it is:

So You Want to Be a Writer
by Charles Bukowski

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

Sage Nuggets of Wisdom from The Smartass Marketer’s Handbook


For those of you who hail from the B2B marketing world, a new handbook is just hot off the press.  Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a novice in marketing communications – you’ll find some great nuggets of wisdom that  will help to make your work a whole lot easier.

Written by smartass marketer extraordinaire, Carro Susan Ford, The Smartass Marketer’s Handbook contains a toolkit of tips and advice on anything and everything – from marketing plans, content briefs, press releases and customer case studies… to  webinars, presentations and so much more.

For well over two decades, I’ve had the privilege of working with Carro and am proud to call  her one of  my dearest  friends.  After all, we’re both smartass marketers and as for attitude, well… that’s a given, isn’t it?

The Smartass Marketer’s Handbook is currently available at http://smartassmarketershandbook.com/ and on Amazon.  If you’re a true blue B2B marketer, you’ll want to treat yourself by buying a copy of this book.



Writer’s Motto: Press On

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.

Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.

Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.

Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.

Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

Calvin Coolidge

And so, it’s time for me to press on…

… the manuscript awaits.

Three Nuggets of Wisdom for Writers



“The process of writing a book is infinitely more important than the book that is completed as a result of the writing, let alone the success or failure that book may have after it is written . . . the book is merely a symbol of the writing. In writing the book, I am living. I am growing. I am tapping myself. I am changing. The process is the product.”

Theodore Isaac Rubin


“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.

Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.

Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.

Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.

Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

Calvin Coolidge


“And what, you ask, does writing teach us? First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive and that it is a gift and a privilege, not a right. We must earn life once it has been awarded us. Life asks for rewards back because it has favored us with animation. So while our art cannot, as we wish it could, save us from wars, privation, envy, greed, old age, or death, it can revitalize us amidst it all.”

Ray Bradbury  (Zen in the Art of Writing(1990) Preface)


 Image Credit: Aliaksei Lasevich/Shutterstock

The Intricate Web of Book Publicity, from the Author’s Perspective


“A new book is just like any new product, like a detergent. You have to acquaint people with it.  They have to know it’s there. You only get to be number one when the public knows about you.”
  — Jacqueline Susann 

For many authors, the mere idea of self-promotion fills them with dread, discomfort and distaste (the alliteration… not intentional).  I was of the same mindset and so, recently,  I approached a seasoned publicist and asked him how he would go about selling my book. Aghast, he said “I can’t promise book sales, only exposure.”

“E-x-p-o-s-u-r-e,”  I repeated, speaking the word slowly, trying to digest its ramifications.

Sensing my skepticism, he went on to assure me that with the right exposure (which would entail a lot of dog and pony shows on radio/TV, book events and, of course,  a social media blitz), my book will likely garner enough publicity that will eventually translate to sales.  Note: the only word I heard was “eventually.”  

In my naïveté,  I (like Kevin Costner, in the movie “Field of Dreams”) truly believed that:

“If you build it, they will come.”

I thanked the publicist for his words of wisdom and decided to develop and implement a publicity plan for myself, starting with social media.  Everyday, I learn something new.  This wealth of knowledge will serve me well in the long run and, each week, I’ll be sharing some of my insights with all of you who may have a book, a product or a service to market.  Perhaps it will be helpful. I hope so.

A few days ago, I launched a Facebook Page for my book, Casualties of the (Recession) Depression.  I’m reserving judgment on this social media avenue, since it’s only been “live” for four days.  Too soon to tell.  Please drop by and let me know what you think.  I sincerely welcome all feedback.  At the top right sidebar of this blog, you’ll see the tally of “Likes” on the FB page.  Hopefully, the number will increase exponentially.


I’ll sign off for now.  I need to go and search through my pile of DVDs for Field of Dreams.  Suddenly, I feel a bit nostalgic.

Here today, gone tomorrow


“Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money.”

 ― Jules Renard 

I will preface this post by saying that there is certainly, in my view, nothing wrong with wanting to make money from writing.  That would be a hypocritical thing to say, since I write for a living.

However, I write about things that interest me, that I’m passionate about –  thoughts, ideas, issues and concerns that I want to share with others, raise awareness  about… and, ultimately, engage in discourse.

I do not write a book just to satisfy a market trend or to capitalize on a subject that I would not normally even consider, just to make a quick buck.

Trends are here today, and gone tomorrow.

It’s really, really important to remember that.  Writers, please heed this advice.  Trendy books eventually fizzle out. They do not live in perpetuity. Their final resting place lies in a dusty old box, stored in some obscure warehouse. 

Make every post, every article, every book you write… a labor of love. Whether you write as a hobby, part-time on the side, or 24/7 (like me) – write something that fuels your adrenaline.

If you find yourself writing for hours on end – oblivious to all the sights and sounds around you, with a cup of coffee that has been cold for at least three hours – you’re probably writing for the right reasons.

Recently, I read an article (can’t remember where, though) that said:

“Write the story that gives you insomnia.”

That’s when you know that your book will have staying power. And, once you’ve written it, perhaps you will catch up on your sleep!


Image: Sandra Gligorijevic/Stock

The dish about book reviews


“I would rather be attacked than unnoticed. For the worst thing you can do to an author is to be silent as to his works.” 
― Samuel Johnson

So, you’ve written a book. It’s out there…. for all the world to pick up and read. Some may love it or  like it, others may have mixed feelings about it, and some readers may thoroughly hate it.  The worst scenario? No one bothers to read it at all.

Presumably if you’ve given birth to a book (after all, it is a long, laborious process and the end result is your very own precious “baby”), you’re proud of it – or at least, you should be (note: if you’re not, you shouldn’t have had it published).

As you wait for the feedback (reviews) to come in,….

… do you pace back and forth?

… wring your hands or restlessly tap your fingers on the desk?

… toss and turn in bed, one endless night after another?

… anxiously check and recheck your Inbox?

… pick up smoking again, to calm your nerves?

No, of course not.

Here’s the dish:  like, dislike, love, hate, indifference – these are all subjective emotions.

How one reader will react to your book or writing style may be radically different from how another reader will respond. Whether the reader is a respected book critic, a professor, an Amazon customer, a friend or family member – it’s all subjective.

This doesn’t mean that you should discount any positive or negative feedback. Nor should you let the great reviews swell up your head or the bad reviews keep you from ever writing again.

Keep it in context. Learn from the criticism.  Be thankful that someone actually took the time to read your book — your book! — and then took more of their own time to write a review. They may give you some new perspective, some information that you could benefit from and will help you as you sit down to write your next book.

Do not take anything personally.

However, there are (unfortunately) haters out there. These are people – cowards and bullies, really – who get off on writing mean-spirited things, who spread nasty gossip, and who try to bring you down.  Disregard those types of people, comments, and reviews.  They are not worth your mindshare. Enough said.

Now, here’s an interesting tidbit of information: in a recent study conducted by the Harvard Business School, it was found that Amazon customer book reviews are just as likely to give an accurate summary of a book’s quality as those of professional newspapers.” The study surveyed 100 non-fiction reviews from 40 media outlets, for HBS’ paper What Makes A Critic Tick? The study also examined all the Amazon customer reviews.  Whilst it was noted that there is “virtually no quality assurance” in Amazon customer reviews (in fact, some reviews can be “plants” by the book publisher, author or competitors),  they still found that both customers and book critics agreed (overall) about the quality of the book. Amazon ratings and expert media  ratings generally concurred.

I suppose that the lesson to be learned from this is to take Amazon customer reviews seriously, but be discerning.

The study further notes that Relative to consumer reviews, professional critics are less favorable to first-time authors. This suggests that one potential advantage of consumer reviews is that they are quicker to identify new and unknown books.”  Professional critics were generally more inclined to positively favor the works written by well-known, prizewinning authors.

Don’t let any of this dishearten you.  Keep writing. Stand by what you say and what you mean. The professional book critics will eventually come around.

But, remember, even the professionals are subjective, so stand your ground.

“From my close observation of writers… they fall into two groups: 1) those who bleed copiously and visibly at any bad review, and 2) those who bleed copiously and secretly at any bad review.”
Isaac Asimov 

Image: Vetta/Getty Images

Think first, write later


 “Poirot,” I said. “I have been thinking.”
“An admirable exercise my friend. Continue it.”
― Agatha ChristiePeril at End House

Have you ever responded to an offensive or distressing email without thinking first?  “WHAT?!” you say to yourself, as your fingers agitatedly skim over the keys and, without a second thought…Send. Moments later, you could kick yourself for having been so impulsive.

This has surely happened to all of us, at one time or another.

Or perhaps, as a student, you were seated for your mid-term essay exam and you skimmed the questions quickly, then proceeded to write feverishly because the clock was ticking and you wanted to make sure that you had enough time to answer all the questions. It was only after you handed in the test, that you realized you missed the second part of the question because you didn’t take the time read carefully and organize your thoughts.

Mea culpa, mea culpa.

In the writing world, however, the process varies from writer to writer.  Not everyone likes to adhere to the “think first, write later” principle. Many writers just sit down at the computer (or, if they’re traditionalists, with pen and paper), and write. Then they edit. Stream of consciousness writing works for many and these are the writers who, when at home, probably don’t write shopping lists or who prefer not to structure their time rigidly. They are the free thinkers.  Write first, think while writing, and then edit later.

However, there are just as many writers (myself included) who prefer to organize their thoughts, prior to writing them down.  They do this by notes, index cards, outlines and also by just thinking (or daydreaming) it out in their minds. 

I am a great proponent of outlines.  My book writing process always commences with quiet contemplation… to think carefully about what I want to say and why, who will my readership be and how will I engage their attention. From there, I craft an initial Table of Contents which serves as my starting point and basic outline.  I then begin the initial research process (when research is required for the book) and the results of my initial research prompts me to write a more detailed outline which helps dictate the overall flow of the book. At that point. I move to a more advanced stage of research, finetune the outline further and then I am ready to sit down and write. I prefer to think first, write later. I carry a small  Moleskine reporter’s notebook with me wherever I go, to jot down thoughts. The challenge is being able to read my own messy handwriting later!

There really is no right or wrong process. Ultimately, the objective is to write.  How you get to that point is subject to whatever works for you.

So, think on the fly or  think in advance, but just make sure to carefully review your writing first before pressing that “Send” button!


Image via everydaygyaan.com.

Confessions of a Daydreamer


“As I quietly stare off into space, eyes glazed over and brow thoughtfully taut, know that I am going about my business.  I am a storyteller.  Daydreaming is the best part of my job.”
― Richelle E. Goodrich

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

And now for the confession.

I have been daydreaming all of my life: characters, scenes and dialogue – all created in my mind. I am not crazy (although that subject is a matter of jovial debate in my family).  My mother totally understood the eccentricities of her youngest child.  After years of adjustment, my husband now knows that when he walks by the study and sees me in a trance-like state, tears streaming down my face, he needn’t worry.  Nor does he say a word because there is nothing more annoying to a consummate daydreamer than jarring interruptions. He just walks away, shaking his head and wondering to himself whether or not he lives in a madhouse.

So, I just like to conjure up storylines in my mind. The downside is that there are quite a few unfinished scripts in my filing drawer. Too many ideas, too little time. The upside is that I am never, ever bored.

One loop away from being totally loopy.

Now that the proverbial cat is out of the bag, I’d like to focus a little wrath on the naysayers who give daydreaming a bad name. In a world where everyone seems to be rushing around like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, daydreaming is often considered frivolous, lazy, a waste of valuable time and downright “flakey.” 

Not so, say many mental health experts. Daydreaming is not only beneficial to our state of mind, but it also contributes to our productivity.

“How on earth can this be true?”  say the anti-daydreamers.

Well, ye of little faith, psych specialists compare daydreaming to meditation.  Both help us to relax, relieve stress, take a mental “time out.”  After a daydreaming session, we are refreshed, energetic and ready to tackle the rest of the day.

In the Smithsonian article, The Benefits of Daydreaming,” Joseph Stromberg writes about a recent research study (published in Psychological Science) which indicates “that a wandering mind correlates with higher degrees of what is referred to as working memory. Cognitive scientists define this type of memory as the brain’s ability to retain and recall information in the face of distractions.

Therefore, despite the daydreamer’s propensity to let the mind wander, she (or he) possesses a heightened working memory which allows her (or him) to snap out of La-la Land when required to do so.

Moving the discussion of science back to the arts, most creative people would concur that daydreaming sparks the imagination. It helps to motivate and stimulate ideas.

Walk into a room filled with writers, authors, poets and novelists, and ask “Who among you daydreams regularly? Please raise your hand.”  With few exceptions, every hand will be raised.

Storytellers daydream. It’s what we do.

La-la land is a great place to visit.  The key is to know when it’s time to leave and come back home.


Image via mommasmoneymatters.com.

The Psychology of Blogging


Like many of you, I enjoy reading blogs that pique my interest.  I also read them to gain insight, whether expected or unexpected, and to gather information on a specific topic. It is always a delight to discover a really good blog site and an articulate writer with a unique perspective.

So, we know why we read blogs. The question is, why do we write blogs?

Why do we blog?

Do we do it…

… as a form of cathartic self-expression (cyber-catharsis)?

… because we are narcissists (varying from mild to extreme)?

… just simply to write down our musings, because we believe we have something interesting to say, to share, or to teach?

… as an outlet for self-promotion?

… as a writing exercise, to tone and hone our writing skills?

Perhaps it is a combination of some or all of the above.  To understand the reasons, we’ll need to delve into the psyche of a blogger.  

Cathartic Self-expression (Cyber-catharsis)

Psychologists and psychiatrists often recommend journal writing as a tool to help release stress, work through issues, and as a means of self discovery.  Blogging takes journal writing to a completely new dimension. Not only does it provide cathartic therapy for those who need it, it also opens the door to a worldwide web of  support – a cyber support group whereby people can connect, share and commiserate with others who are experiencing (or who have experienced) similar challenges. Advice is given and received.  Stories are shared. And, in many cases, friendships are made. 


If we’re being truly honest with ourselves, we are all narcissistic to some degree. For most of us…. just a wee bit.  It only really becomes a problem, however, when we get so self-absorbed that our sense of what is real and rational becomes clouded. That is when it’s time to seek help. It’s one thing to write about “me, myself, and I” if there’s a valid purpose, an opinion to express, or a valuable lesson to impart.  But it is quite another to blog for no other reason than to feed the ego.


We all have something to learn and something to teach. Writing about our thoughts and experiences – on such a vast platform – gives us a forum to exchange ideas, to offer and receive a different perspective. 

An Outlet for Self-promotion

There is absolutely nothing wrong with self-promotion. We all need to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. But, again, it’s all a matter of degree.  If it’s done properly and gracefully, it will not repel people. If it’s crass, full of redundant sales pitches and slogans (like an “As Seen on TV” commercial)… people will find it offensive and be turned off.  

A Writing Exercise, to Tone and Hone Writing Skills

Blogging is an excellent way to finetune that writing muscle. The more often we write, the better we get.  When we blog, we get an opportunity to connect instantaneously  with our readership which, in turn, helps us to understand what engages the reader. And, finally, blogging regularly helps us to avoid and/or battle that soul-destroying disorder that we all dread:  writer’s block.

What I personally find most gratifying about blogging (and this one was not the list) is the access I now have to people from across the globe. The thrill of being able to interact with men and women from all walks of  life, from different cultures, young and old and everyone in-between ― in real time. What an amazing opportunity!  To travel seamlessly through cyberspace, via the written word, has effectively bridged all physical distance. And, with just the click of a button, this gargantuan world we live in… has suddenly become a whole lot smaller.


Image via contestmob.com.