Should I Be a Writer? 7 Lies You Probably Believe

by Joe Bunting | 37 comments

The profession of writing has been around for thousands of years. You would think we would have figured out how to become one by now, right? However, the more you read, the more you realize no one seems to agree on how to become a writer.

lies about becoming a writer

Depending on who you listen to, becoming a professional writer is either the easiest thing in the world (“Just write!”) or a proposition so impossibly difficult that only a combination of talent approaching genius, luck, and years of expensive training (i.e. “Get an MFA!”) can turn your writerly dream into reality.

Regardless of who you listen to, it's important to know which advice isn't true about becoming a writer. With that in mind, here are seven lies about becoming a writer that you probably believe.

Lie #1: You have to be inspired to become a writer.

Many writing blogs and even books say that you have to be inspired to write. They give endless suggestions for helping you get inspired, from changing your location to reading inspirational writing to  listening to music.

However, while inspiration is always nice, the pros agree that you should never wait for inspiration to start writing.

Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.
― Stephen King

Lie #2: You have to be a grammar expert to become a writer.

A few years ago I was part of a writer's group where a woman brought a piece that was so littered with comma splices and other grammar mistakes that it was impossible not to feel sorry for her. “Shame,” I thought. “Her novel was actually pretty good.”

Then, I found out this same woman had already published eight books, all with traditional publishers. That's when I learned a very important lesson:

You don't need to be an expert at grammar to be a writer. That's what editors are for.

I've worked as an editor, and I've personally seen writers who are truly horrible at grammar and have published books that have been read by hundreds of thousands of people. Having good grammar skills is nice, but it's just not a requirement to be a writer.

You do have to be interesting. You do have to be able to tell a good story. While you can hire someone to fix your commas, no one is going to read your writing if it isn't engaging.

Lie #3: You have to be an introvert to become a writer.

Some people believe that you have to be an introvert to be a writer. They say that extroverts need to be around people too much to be able to handle the solitary job of being a writer.

The reality is that you do have to be able to spend many hours alone to be a writer, but that never stopped many extroverts from becoming writers.

As I've read the biographies of well-known writers and interacted with professional writers myself, I've found that writers come in all personality types.

For example, while Ernest Hemingway was very disciplined about his writing, he regularly spent half of his work time networking with writers he admired. Mark Twain often complained about how easily he became distracted from his writing to pen letters to his friends. And no one could say that Byron was an introvert.

Lie #4: Bestselling writers make lots of money.

When I talk to friends and family who aren't writers, I find that many of them have this idea that if you're a bestselling author you've “made it.” You can then retire to your island and live a life of ease.

The reality is that most writers, even bestselling writers, can't make a living off of their books. Not even close.

The way that (traditional) publishing works is that you might make $1 to $2 for every paperback book you sell. That means that if it takes you five years to write your book and you sell 100,000 copies, you've only made $20,000 a year. (Of course, the truth is that the average book sells nowhere near 100,000 copies.)

Instead, most full-time writers make a living in one of two ways: they do public speaking or they teach.

Mark Twain, for example, was so deep in debt that he went on a yearlong speaking tour around the world to pay off his creditors.

Today, popular authors like Michael Cunningham and T.C. Boyle teach creative writing at universities to earn a living, and while Malcolm Gladwell, the bestselling non-fiction author of The Tipping Point and several other books, may make what you and I would call a good living from his books, it's nowhere near the $80,000 he gets every time he speaks.

The reality is that bestselling writers often do make good money, but rarely just from their writing, that's why it's so important to cultivate multiple income sources if you want to become a full-time writer.

Lie #5: Finishing your book is the hardest part to becoming a writer.

The writers I talk to often think that as soon as they publish their first book, everyone will instantly see how great it is and rush out to buy it. They think when they tell people, “I'm a published author,” at dinner parties and events people will genuflect to them, praising them as superior beings.

However, while most people are somewhat impressed when you tell them you're a writer, very few of them care enough to go out and buy your book. In fact, I've found that the most disappointed writers I know aren't the ones struggling to finish their first book. Instead, it's the published writers who are most disappointed.

The reality is that when you finish your book, that's just the beginning to becoming a writer.

Then you have to try to get an agent for it, then a publisher. Then, you have to build your platform and market it, not to mention, write your next book. The truth is that after you write your book, you still have a long way to go. (Sorry!)

Lie #6: You should be a writer because you have good ideas.

I know you have a great idea for a novel. You may even have dozens of them.

It doesn't matter how many great book ideas you have if you can't finish your book. That may sound harsh, but it's the truth.

Don't believe me? Here's George R.R. Martin on the subject:

Ideas are cheap. I have more ideas now than I could ever write up. To my mind, it's the execution that is all-important. I'm proud of my work, but I don't know if I'd ever claim it's enormously original. ― George R. R. Martin

Lie #7: You could never make it as a writer.

If you've read this far, you may be thinking, “If this is all true, I could never make it as a writer.”

When I was in high school, I decided I wanted to be a writer. It was one of those childhood fantasies, of course, but I was serious. I studied writing in college, and afterward I got a freelancing job at a small local paper. Later, I spent a year traveling the world, working on my writing craft while living in Kenya, Thailand, and Vietnam. When I got back, I helped a mentor with his book for free, a job that unexpectedly led to my first ghostwriting job.

Since then, I've done nearly every writing job in the industry, some of them more fun than others, from writing articles for magazines to editing to designing books. However, I can now say, twelve years later, that I earned my dream.  It took long hours and several years of horrible pay, but I'm now a full-time writer, living a writing life.

You can make it as a writer. I promise. It might not look like what you thought it would, but it's very possible. Don't get discouraged. Instead, get busy.

Should I Be a Writer?

Do you believe any of these lies? Is it keeping you from pursuing your dream of being a writer? Hopefully you can see how to take a different approach to writing and get to work making that dream a reality.

It takes time, sure, and practice, but if you're a writer at heart, don't let lies keep you from starting or worse, make you quit when things get hard. Successful writers keep going, keep learning, and keep practicing. You can too.

How about you? What lies do you think people believe about becoming a writer? Share in the comments section.


Don't be an amateur and wait for inspiration. Start writing now!

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Happy writing!

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Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris, a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

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  1. Krithika Rangarajan

    Hey Joe

    Hmm…to applaud or not to applaud, that is the question 😉

    Seriously, thank YOU! It’s paramount that every writer reads your article and realizes that passion and ideas alone don’t create a successful career: persistence and execution does!


    Thank you #ClapClapClap 😉

    • Joe Bunting

      Thanks so much Krithika. It would be nice if passion and great ideas alone could do it, though, right? Some of these are pretty hard truths, but you’re right, we have to embrace them if we want to make it.

      #bowbow 😉

  2. EndlessExposition

    This is a little trailer of sorts I’ve written for a concept I’m working on. As always, reviews are greatly appreciated 🙂

    EXT. –

    (It’s snowing heavily. The sky is dark with soot. Rows of city mansions sit
    side by side on the pavement. For the most part this is a typical Victorian
    street – except for small details like the sleek brass street lamps, or the carriages drawn by mechanical horses. JONATHAN SPENCER
    and his father ENOCH hurry by, wrapped in tattered coats. They are both
    carrying chimney sweep equipment.)

    JONATHAN: Papa, who lives there?

    (He points to an odd looking house. The house itself is a traditional brick
    mansion, but turrets have been added on with all kinds of building materials.
    Extra chimneys sprout from the roof. In one section the windows have all been
    replaced with stained glass. Pipes stick out from the walls at various angles,
    emitting different colored smokes. There is a large door built into the wall
    near the roof.)

    ENOCH: I’m not sure. Two spinsters, I’ve heard. Come on, we can’t be late.

    (They hurry off.)


    (Jonathan approaches the house, alone. He squeezes through the gate and
    scampers across the lawn. He finds a large, person-width pipe sticking out at
    ground level. He gets on hands and knees and crawls in. His feet disappear.
    There is a scream and a whooshing sound.)

    INT. – PIPE

    (Jonathan hurtles through the dark pipe, twisting around bends, going up and
    down over bumps.)


    (Jonathan pops out of a hatch. He gets up and looks around. He is standing in a
    large, high ceilinged room filled with machines of various shapes and sizes,
    all very complex looking. As Jonathan wanders around, he stops to examine
    tables littered in odds and ends, notebooks left open on the floor, and boxes
    of bizarre tools. Then he hears a clunking sound.)

    JONATHAN: Hello?

    (He steps around a large machine. There before him is a massive mechanical
    lion, gleaming golden. Gears are exposed in places. Its head is thrown back in
    a roar, brass wire forming the mane. The clunking is coming from inside the

    JONATHAN: Hello?

    (A head pops up out of the lion’s mouth. It’s a young woman, in her early
    thirties, with a shock of short auburn hair. She removes her goggles and sits them on
    her forehead.)

    WOMAN: Hello! Who are you?

    JONATHAN: I’m Jonathan, Jonathan Spencer. What’s that?

    WOMAN: This is a present for Queen Victoria! If she likes it, she may give me
    funding for my gear driven omnibus!

    (A second woman enters the room. She is also thirty-ish, and very pretty. Her
    long blonde hair is in a single braid. She is wearing a white button down
    shirt, a plain, sensible skirt, and boots. She is carrying a tray with a teapot
    on it, cups and scones.)

    SECOND WOMAN: She’s talked of nothing else but that damned omnibus for two

    (There is a shout. Jonathan and the Second Woman look up in alarm. The Woman in
    the lion has disappeared and there is loud, violent clunking from inside the
    beast. A minute later, with another shout, the Woman falls from a hole in the
    beast’s stomach. Jonathan and the Second Woman rush over and look down at her
    with concern. She is dressed in a button down, tweed trousers and a matching
    waistcoat, and men’s shoes.)

    WOMAN: You know, I don’t think it’s quite done yet.


    (The doors burst open, and the Woman strides in, the Second Woman and Jonathan
    close on her heels. The design room is just off the workshop. The walls are
    papered with diagrams for all kinds of machines.)

    WOMAN: Professor Audrey T Devereaux, certified genius, honorary Oxford fellow,
    and inventor extraordinaire! That angelic vision of beauty with the tea tray is
    my wife, Suzannah, once the most prominent big game hunter of the nation.

    JONATHAN: She’s your wife?

    SUZANNAH: Well, we’re not legally married. Yet.

    AUDREY: (gleefully) Don’t tell anyone! It’s scandalous!

    • Dawn Atkin

      Interesting scene.
      Feels a little steam-punk/sci fi-historic. If that make sense.
      Are you writing for a screen play or are you just setting up concept for a story.

      There heaps of information in this short piece: family relationships, fashion, street view, monarchy, social hierarchy etc.

      I enjoyed it. It tickled me.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • S C

      Very interesting scene indeed. I would love to read more.

  3. R.w. Foster

    Here’s my practice for the day.


    Brett strolled into the tavern and took his customary seat at the far end of the bar near the bathrooms. Both of his favorite bartenders were on shift. Lacy, dressed as always in all black, stacked up a stretch of longnecks, and popped their tops in rapid succession. The crowd of guys near her cheered in appreciation.

    Steven strolled over and passed him a bottle of Bud without asking. He was an odd type: He dressed according to a theme. This week was TV cowboy.

    Pushing his white Stetson back, he said, “Howdy, pardner.”

    “Aw, you’re gonna talk like a cowpoke in addition to dressin’ like one?”

    “Heh heh heh. Naw.” Steven picked up a rag and wiped the surface. “How’ve you been, man?”

    “Not good.” Brett took a long pull of his drink. After wiping this lips, he set the bottle down. “I think Tammy is cheating on me.”

    “Yikes.” The bartender flipped the cloth over his shoulder. “Why do you think that?”

    “She’s more distant, spending most of her free time on the computer. She also recoils when I try to touch her.”

    “Ouch. That sucks.” He turned to the rack of liquor, grabbed the tequila and poured a couple of shots. “On me.”

    “I appreciate it.” Brett tossed back the alcohol and shuddered. It was harder than he was used to.

    “Have you caught her?”

    “What?” His brow wrinkled. “No. I’d have said I was divorced otherwise.”

    “Do you love her?”

    “Of course I do. She’s the light of my life. The literal, as well as figurative, woman of my dreams.”

    “Want some advice?”

    “Yes, please.”

    Someone yelled out.

    “One moment.” Steven strode up the bar and spoke to the guy who’d shouted.

    He pointed to Brett who stood to go to the restroom,allowing his coat to fall open, showing off the shoulder holster with the Sig Saur 9mm, and most importantly, the gold detective’s shield clipped to his belt.

    A few minutes later, he reclaimed his seat and finished off his beer. Steven strolled over and handed him another. “Where were we?”

    “You’d just found out that I’d welcome some advice.”

    “Woo her.”


    “Woo your wife. Court her.” Lacy called for a whiskey sour, and he began to mix one. “Seduce Tammy.”


    “Think back to how you won her over to begin with.” Steven took the drink to his partner and waited on some new people who’d come in. The place was getting crowded.

    Brett thought back to when he and Tammy were dating. There was laughter back then. A lot more than now. ‘When did we start to drift apart?’ He took another swig of Bud. ‘Why wasn’t I paying more attention to her?’

    Lacy sashayed over. “Hey, Handsome. Want another?”

    “Yeah, one more before I hit the road.”

    She retrieved the bottle from the ice and set it on the counter. Steven beckoned her to his end of the bar before she could say anything else.

    • Dawn Atkin

      That is an easy to read and well written piece of work.
      I’m guessing it’s part of a larger WIP.

    • R.w. Foster

      Thank you. It is indeed part of a larger WIP. I expanded it from 100-497 words for the practice.

      However, I’ll soon not be able to share more here as this is an erotica. I’ll post it on my blog ( in a few days. Or, the first 1000 words, anyway.

      You can find it there, if, that is, you’d like to read it. I’ve got other bits of my work there, that’s not that genre, too.

  4. Dawn Atkin

    My practice for the evening. 🙂

    Letters of love

    Possible blog -post, beginning of a new set of works (WIP)

    I have a new soft covered journal/exercise book. I’ve covered it in a sheet of painted paper, the result of a quick splash of paints that I felt compelled to deliver shortly after a session with a friend of mine as she practiced her new therapy technique that involves deep hypnosis and exploration of the sub-conscious terrain.

    Since covering the book I have been reluctant to seal ink on its pages, I keep returning to my tatty old, not quite full, note book. That is until earlier this week when I was wandering a round a friends suburban garden. The sky was full and blue, the morning sun was warm yet softened by an early southerly sea breeze, suburbia hummed in the back ground and morning birds flittered about, hard to see but their many chirps, cheeps and warbles entertained my morning ears.

    The many beautiful scented plants and shrubs invited my attention, called me to pause at their sides and brush their leaves or caress their gentle flowers. Subtle scents of lavender, rosemary, honeysuckle and geranium softened my senses. Frangipanis, full grown and a nursery of baby off shoots, all bursting to open their burgundy buds into gentle flowers tickled my curiousity and contemplation of life and the will to live. Palm fronds ruffled and the garden pool shimmered and swirled in patterns and ripples. Tomato plants trellised against the wall, plump red cherry tomatoes called from the corner and the proud lemon tree bared bright yellow balls of fruit.

    All tension from my trip to the city slipped away. I realised how
    Iucky I was to have such a comfortable and pleasant pace to rest – a home away from home. I was at ease. There was no urgency of time or need to do or be.
    I suddenly realised how dear these friends were to me. How many years they have shared their home, their garden and their hearts with my life. How genuine, unasking and caring they have been to myself and my family. How much I love them.

    At that precise moment I knew the new covered notebook had a theme. It was to be a book of love. A journal in which I could do the first draft of letters that I would then handwrite to send to people or places or moments that are the loves in my life. I will know when the feeling arises that it is time to write a letter of love. And this notebook will hold the initial surge of what that love made into words will be.

    I’m certain I may sound wishy-washy to some. Even a bit fluffy. But you see there is this side to me. I can write about the torment of my manic muse. I can write provocative. I can write bravado. They all have their own tempo. But when I write of whimsy and wonder I slow down. My pen slows down. I watch the filigree and feel the ink softly scribe some inner me out. It is gentle and gracious and deeply, deeply satisfying. I smile. And breathe. And softly shine.

    So perhaps this therapist friend of mine, practicing her new technique, has really drawn something out for me. Brought something of my deeper yearning or purpose forward. And this has manifested through the creative urge to splatter paint in seemingly nonsensical patterns. To let the paint dry and then use the paper to cover my notebook and then wait patiently until something clicks and I know what the book is for. It is for me to sink into these moments when I am shifted from the constraints of linear time and the stressors of everyday life, when I see the beauty in my life, when my heart unfurls and I can express my letters of love.

    Perhaps in a way it is a type of memoir. An occasional reflection on the sweetness that has been and is in my life. Who knows? I’m grateful for this first step.

  5. Lizzie

    I’ve been working on my novel today (second round of edits) – here’s a little snippet I’ve just worked on:

    “I’m going out tonight,” his mother had said coldly. It was aimed at Norman but she fixed her eyes straight ahead. ‘Tonight’ usually turned into a few days. Stomach sinking. When would she be back this time?

    Shouldn’t he be pleased that she’d be gone for a few days? Not having to tiptoe around.
    Not having to apologise for every wrongdoing. But she was his mother and, though it made no difference, he’d always hoped she’d come back having realised her mistake – she did love him, after all! Her wonderful son!

    On that particular occasion, ‘tonight’ had turned into five days. Every morning, Norman lay still in his bed, straining to hear movement or muffled sounds. Nothing. Would she ever come back?

    He padded around in silence, not changing from his pyjamas, eating jam from the jar and bread flecked with mould. By day three he was scared, angry and bored. Searching eyes – what could he do? Her handbag lay sprawled on the kitchen table as if she’d just popped out for a moment. Heart hammering, Norman rooted through it – what was he looking for? A sign, a phone number, a photograph of himself tucked dog-eared into her purse? He pulled out perfume, a packet of tissues, several half-used lipsticks, crumpled pieces of paper, torn tickets and two packets of pills, their silver-backed packaging catching the light as he turned them in his hands. Heart still hammering – he looked down to check that it wasn’t about to beat right out of his chest – he pierced the back of the foil with a fingernail.

    What had she said that time? “These make me a better person,” as she popped one,
    maybe two, of the milky white pills into her mouth. The writing on the packet meant nothing to Norman, all long words and consecutive consonants. Sitting in his palm, the two oval shapes he’d freed from the packaging felt heavy, weighed down with lengthy prescriptions and feel good properties. But, he’d thought, if they were good enough for his mother? If they made him a better person maybe she would like him.

    He’d let them rest in his mouth for a moment, their sharp, medicinal flavour seeping down his throat. Then, quick swallow and gone. When would he feel better? He’d gone back upstairs to his bedroom, trailing his hand along the textured wallpaper as he went. On his bed, lying flat. Up above, the bubble of old paint and flecks of sunshine dancing in from the window merged together, creating an undulating, upside-down landscape that made him feel sick. He’d closed his eyes, but the swirling had continued on the inside of his lids, mocking and persistent. Surges of nausea washed over him as he went from feeling buoyant, filled with air and happy, to shivering, ill and surrounded by
    dark, unreachable shadows.

    The soft click of a door. At some point in the process she had come back. Norman went to get up, go downstairs, and see if her trip away had changed her – like he always did – but he was once again consumed by a tumble of nausea and the sense that he was falling down into a spindly-rimmed abyss.

    Any and all feedback appreciated! Have a great weekend 🙂

    • Amanda Logan

      Wow, I really liked this. You did such a good job at showing a yearning in Norman. As well as that, as the reader I was overcome with anxiety when he took the pills. I really want to know what happened next!

    • Lizzie

      Thanks so much Amanda! This is kind of a sub-story of the main story – Norman is the main character, but this is a snippet from his past that shows how his life lead him to where he is now.

  6. Joao Reis

    oh no no… I won’t post my current work, lol. It is a technical book about the first steps on e-learning. Boooring !

    P.S.: lu y’all !!!

    • Joe Bunting

      No problem, Joao! I hope you’ll share next time though!

  7. Monica

    Good post!

    • Joe Bunting

      Thanks Monica. Just trying to write something that looks okay next to your awesome posts. 🙂

  8. Amanda Logan

    I decided to go back and do some editing on my novel. Here’s a little bit I’ve been working on:

    The figures came closer and closer with every minute.
    It wasn’t long before they could hear the galloping of the horse hooves and
    began to see the faces of the men riding them. There was six of them, all with
    long messy hair of different colors. Some had it held back in ponytails, a
    couple others had it down on their shoulders, and one had the front pieces in
    braids that swung back and forth with the gait of horse. Their skin was tanned
    like tough leather and they smiled with mouths full of bad teeth and sour

    They circled in a ring around them with smug faces that clearly said that
    they’d won.

    “What are you two fellows doing out here on the Death
    Plains?” asked the man with braids.

    “We’re just making our way across,” Castan said as if
    he was only talking to a few ordinary travelers.

    “That isn’t so easy,” laughed the man. “Want an

    He bumped Castan with his horse grinning down at him

    “I think we’re ok,” Castan said twirling his knife in
    his hand. “You aren’t from around here are you?”

    “No, we ride from Yaman.”

    They dismounted their horses and began unsheathing
    their own weapons; 2 long swords, a mace, a curved scimitar, a fat broad sword,
    and a horseman’s pick. Daniel almost began to shake but instead he rolled back
    his shoulders and stood straighter.

    “You confident, boy?” they sneered at him.

    “Of course, I was going to ask you the same thing. I
    thought I saw some shoulders shaking.”

    “I think your shoulders need breaking,” the man with
    the mace snarled advancing toward him. Daniel held his breath and stared at him

    “Why don’t you all just get back on your horses and
    ride away before things get messy,” Castan said shoving the man with the mace.

    “If you hand over everything you’ve got we will.”

    “That’s not an option” Castan said. “So move on before
    I pull all the guts from your body.”

    They chuckled and shoved them into a tighter circle.

    “I don’t like to be contained” Castan whispered with
    fire beginning to arouse in his right eye. “The last man that trapped me got
    his throat slit.”

    They laughed again but this time it didn’t last long.
    Castan burst forward and his knife made contact with mace man’s chest. He
    screamed in pain and the others were suddenly aware that Castan wasn’t going to
    surrender. Daniel stared wide eyed as Castan drew out the knife scarlet and man
    fell to the earth. Not dead, but too close to escape it. Castan dodged the man
    with the broad sword and scooped up the fallen man’s dropped mace as he leapt
    out of their circle, forcing them to space themselves out. The mace bashed one
    of the long swords in the head and he stumbled still standing with blood
    running down his face Castan hit him again and he smacked into the ground

    The men were a little more wary now but still confident that their numbers were
    bigger. The man with the scimitar and a blonde ponytail twisted his blade
    expertly toward Castan’s neck but Castan ducked just as fast and it only sliced
    the tip of his ear. In return for the attempted blow his knife flew from his
    hand hitting him in the belly were it sunk deeply in. The man collapsed, his
    moans filled with pain and gurgles of blood.

    Daniel was so mesmerized and horrified by the fight he
    almost didn’t see the horseman pick until it was too late. Luckily he came to
    attention as its sharp end nearly smashed into his face. He fell on his back
    and looked up helplessly at the weapon being raised above him. He rolled and it
    hit the ground with a thud sending a puff of dust into the air. Daniel
    scrambled desperately to his feet but even with footing he was defenseless.

    “Just calm down!” he shouted. “I-I’m not going to hurt

    Something about the next swing told Daniel that the man was aware. The blunt end hit his chest sending him flying backwards his ribs wracking with pain and the breath knocked out of him. He gasped for air tears coming to his eyes. He coughed a couple times and rolled onto his stomach looking for something, anything to defend himself with. His hand fumbled over the long sword man’s still body and clutched at the hilt of a weapon. He had no thoughts in his mind when the pick came down again and the sword went up in the same moment. His eyes were closed as he waited for the pick to gouge his chest and snap his ribs. Nothing happened, and as he slowly opened his eyes the sight that greeted him haunted his dreams for a long time.

    The man was just above him with eyes so wide it was hard to focus on anything
    but the whites. His mouth was open with one last gasp and the sword that
    skewered his body went all the way through his chest and out his back. It was
    the only thing keeping him up. Daniel cried out shoving him away. Castan had
    his knife back again and was fighting the last man, the broad sword. The man
    looked around at his dead comrades and it was easy to see his heart sink in his
    chest and his eyes fill with last fear before Castan’s knife hit his throat.
    Castan breathed hard his face had a couple cuts and the broad sword had sliced
    open his arm but none of his injuries were serious.

    “Daniel?” he said staring at the man doubled over and
    puking all over the dry ground.

    Daniel clutched his stomach as the bile spewed bitterly
    from his mouth. Even after he was sure he had nothing left to cough up he felt
    as if he was going to be sick. He fell to his knees next to the dead man and
    leaned over him lip quivering. He choked as a hard sob escaped his constricted
    throat and large tears began dripping onto the man’s still face. He hadn’t
    wanted to kill him and he knew that if he hadn’t he would be the one lying here,
    with his body absent of breath, yet he couldn’t stop crying. He felt cold
    fingers on his arm, then Castan’s chilly voice whispered softly in his ear:

    “Don’t worry, it gets better.”

    Never had any words appalled Daniel as much those.

  9. Adele Clee

    Hi Joe,
    Let me start by saying how much I love your posts. I find your honesty refreshing, which is one of the main reasons I always read them. That said, I have to, respectfully, disagree with you regarding your views in this post, specifically point 1.
    As a busy mum (2 chapters from finishing my second novel) there are times when I need to get away from it all, if only in my mind. I find that I am drawn to particular songs during the creative process that really help me to refocus. Of course, there are also times when I know I just have to write, just as there are times when a long walk helps me think.
    I understand that to rely solely on inspiration also has its limitations but I think we have to do whatever it takes to get the words on the paper.

    • Joe Bunting

      Thanks for your courage in sharing your dissenting opinion! I think the best creativity comes when we talk about our disagreements (in a friendly way). I actually think, though, that we don’t disagree as much as you’re perceiving. When you say that we have to do whatever it takes, I couldn’t agree more with that. Some people wait passively for inspiration. You’re talking about actively engaging, and while I did kind of dismiss that in my post, the point is that you’re actively doing what it takes to write rather than waiting around for inspiration that may or may not come. That’s the sign of a pro, in my opinion.

  10. A.E. Albert

    I like point 1. I’ve been inspired, it’s a great feeling. But what do you do when it’s not there. Nothing gets done if you don’t do it. Writer’s write, whether you’re inspired or not. Great post!!

  11. Pandi

    Thank you for lie #2. I know I can write a story but I’m insecure about the technical aspects of my grammar.

  12. dawnvslayton

    Feeling much like a bobble head – you know the cute little figurines that continuously nod – as I read each lie. No matter was my ending thought … I am a writer! Published or not the sojourn continues….

    The weary traveler leaned raced out of the rental car as he was pelted by nagging
    foundry thoughts. The meetings had been long and treacherous and he was in need
    of rest. Around the next gate was his entry onto the mini-jet waiting with
    wings spanning out as an inviting hug. The wanderer thought to
    himself how unpleasant seating nearest the toilet would be although just taking
    flight lightened his worries; though it be little better to travel seated on a
    moving plane than to be delayed in the terminal hearing the cries of other
    delayed passengers and children tired of the adventure enjoyed only by their
    parents. He walked into the cabin and joyously plopped into the 4C
    ready for the 90 minute scenery of billowing clouds. Then the next rustle
    begins to run to the gate of the final leg of his journey towards home.

  13. GritGirl4Ever

    #3 makes me think of my current dilemma, as I’m in the middle of completing my first book, undecided if it should be self published or not. This makes me think, YES!

    • Joe Bunting

      I’m glad you liked it! I wasn’t sure whether to include it because it felt so obvious to me after reading about so many writers, but I’m glad it helped!

    • kasigah

      Just as a heads-up, I have been picked up by an agent, so it looks like my first story will be published! Thanks so much for the support!

  14. Joe Bunting

    If you take George RR Martin’s advice, you execute!

  15. Gary G Little

    Sometimes I get my umbrage up. There has been a a lot of “Share” this on Facebook because someone abused the flag. Here is my response, and since I finished after Joe posted this prompt I said, “why not?”

    Everyone takes umbrage with the obvious, some fool treading or stomping on, or burning an American flag. But … and ain’t there always one of those … I can suffer the fool, because he, she, or it, is just that, a fool. I have trouble suffering the sanctimonious among us, even in myself.

    How many of us “offended” folk show disrespect to the flag, every day, but we call it patriotism. We proudly fly the flag from the gutters of our car, but have no idea it flew off weeks ago, fell into a freeway gutter where it lay until it was swept up with the other trash. But, we don’t stomp on our flag.

    We drape the flag, the flag planted on Surabachi, across our butts in shorty shorts or sweat pants, because it is “kewl”, because we are “patriots”, and then throw it in the wash with the rest of our dirty clothes. When it no longer properly covers our butts, we throw it in the garbage with the rest of the trash. But we don’t stomp on the flag.

    We install a flagpole in our front yard, and fly it proudly, every day, every night, through every rainstorm, through every windstorm, until it is nothing but an unrecognizable rag dangling from a rope. But we don’t stomp on the flag.

    If we are on active duty we watch the time, and make sure we are inside at 17:00, so we won’t be bothered with having to face the flag and render proper honors when the call of Retreat sounds. If we are at a ballgame, we run for the concession stands because “the lines are shorter.” But we don’t stomp on the flag.

    We point fingers and with indignation cry out in horror how “they” abuse the flag, how “they” are un-American, how “they” should be stopped, but we never consider how we, the indignant, abuse the flag of Bunker Hill, Gettysburg, and the USS Arizona. In our own ignorance, “we” stomp on the flag every day, and excuse it under the guise of patriotism.

  16. Skywalker Payne

    I’ve been writing all of my life and faced most of the lies and agree they are lies. What I’ve learned recently though, not only do we need to write and get published. We need to build our platform as we are writing. When submitting a proposal we are asked about our platform. If we self-publish we need a platform to get sales. But above all, as long as one writes and keeps at it as dawnvslayton says, we are writers.

  17. Thomas Furmato

    Gagging and tying her up was simpler than he thought. Despite her fighting, he easily was able to overpower her and bring her to this abandoned warehouse. Her body sat drooped over in the old swivel office chair. In his exuberance he wanted to give it a spin, sending her into a twirl, but, he felt that might diminish his reputation as a killer, despite the relative newness of the career.

    Instead, he walked over to the large cardboard box with newspaper spread out over the top of it, where he had every odd and mischievous looking tool he could find layed out just like he’d seen in so many movies. He studied the first few devices and imagined how her flesh might twist and squeeze in such an interesting way. Halfway through the lineup he stopped confused. What was it he was supposed to do?

    Sure he had some great looking tools, and without a doubt they would do some tremendous damage to a human body, but which one would actually kill her? He hadn’t thought that deep into this. He gave the items a new look. How would he kill her with that one he asked himself. Much too long and drawn out really. Why, that one would cause more blood and be more messy than he’d want to be. Killing was one thing, but, he sure didn’t want a huge mess to clean up.

    Her body started to stir as his mind wandered. He tried to not let it distract him. How was he going to kill her? And now she was waking up. ‘Great!’ he thought. He’d rather have her asleep when he did this, it would keep her from trying to scream through the duct tape. He started feeling a little squeamish himself now. This was all so easy, and now he was stuck. All of his plans started to unravel. Messy blood, noisy victim. Why couldn’t he just execute her quickly? He clearly didn’t have as great of a plan as he thought he did.

    He went over a quick review of all the things in the warehouse that he might have touched. He went over to the tools and quickly rolled them up in the newspaper, and slid them back into the leather satchel. When he was satisfied with his invisibility, he headed for the glowing red exit light above the door. He could hear her starting to groan. As he let the door close slowly behind him thought about work tomorrow. Back to the grindstone. He was so close to making it big.

  18. Adam Short

    Sometimes the truth is harsh. Actually, most of the time it is. I’m 14 and I’ve been writing since I was 7 (First ‘book’ back then at 15,000 :DD), and now I’m working on what I hope will be my first published work. My family loves to tell me of the riches and the fame that will happen when I write a book (‘Instant Million’ Syndrome), but I know that isn’t what is going to happen. But hey, I love writing so I’ll continue to do it as long as I’ve got ideas to burn (Hopefully, forever!)

    Anyways, here goes some writing practise (Always nice to take a break from novel writing):

    We rolled in, guns loaded, vests on. The tires screeched across the dusty ground, spewing up gravel and sand in billows of dust behind us. The sound of a bomb sounded off to our right, and I closed my eyes, swallowing the bile building in my throat while I clenched my fists around my rifle’s grips. I looked up at the man in front of me, saw the panic in his eyes. I looked across at the 17-year old boy, watched him pray silently. The sound of gunshots lit up outside, and I heard the voices of the innocent as they fell, peppered with lead bullets.

    I gritted my teeth, anger seething out from every pore in my skin. Dozens of innocent people dying at the enemies hands. No more, I thought in my head with a grimace. I locked my gun, turned off the safety and adjusted my helmet. The truck took a hard turn left, then another one to the right. We came to a stop and I could hear the sound of our leader’s voice, yelling over the noise of the gunshots. I nodded absently and unbuckled my seatbelt.

    It was time.

    I leapt out of the truck behind my leader, felt the heat of the sun on my face and the weight of my gear. I raised my gun, aiming the barrel of death. A man dressed in black, gun in his hand, raced across the alleyway in front of us with rapid, dust kicking footsteps.. I fired, the bullets flying effortlessly into the mans body.

    I heard his screams of pain. I watched him die, the bile rising in my throat once again. Then I heard the roar of a bomber’s engine and I looked up and saw the black shadow moving across the sky. Three small cylinders fell from the wings. I started sprinting, my fellow soldiers following suit. The young boy had started crying, fear having immobilized his body and rooting him to the spot, along side my general.

    I could see the bombs fall from behind my shoulder and I knew it was too late. I thought back to the family I had left behind, my wife and three kids. I thought back to my friends and I thought of the life I could of had, one where I watched my boys grow. One where I became a grandfather.

    One where I didn’t leave my wife alone to raise our children.

    And then the bombs hit with an earth shattering bang that rendered me deaf. I looked behind me, still running.

    I felt the heat hit me.

    Then the gravelly, sandy air pushed hard against my body.

    I looked at the 17-year old boy behind me one last time, and in my mind I saw three little boys in his place.

    My own boys.

    And then there was black.


    Hardly descriptive in the slightest, but I was aiming more for emotions then anything as that’s what I feel I need to work on.

    • Sara W

      Adam, that is really awesome! If your book is out, let me know. I’d love to read it! I’m 13 and working on publishing my first book. It’s a little rough around the edges, but I’m proud of it. If nothing else, I’ll get some experience from it so that I can become a better writer. I think that one thing that can be hard to tame in publishing a book is the fear and self-doubt. Putting such a huge part of yourself out there for anyone to see and judge can be really hard, but I think that when you push through the fear, no matter what happens, something good will come of it. I sure hope so, anyway. I hope and pray that you and I and others alike will be able to write for the rest of our lives. From that short story you wrote, I’d bet you will. Keep writing and don’t let anyone silence you!

  19. Nancy Fraser

    I’ve been fortunate. I’m a multi-published author. However, like you said, another income is what keeps food on the table. Probably the biggest lie I ever heard came from an “acquaintance” when I told her I’d sold my first romance novel (way back in 1996). She said, “Big deal. Anyone can write one of those.”

    Now, 21 books later, I think about her comment and laugh. Especially given she was my boss at the time and I spent a good deal of my workday re-writing her horrible memos.

    There were many times between 1996 and now when I had to stop writing (or at least slow down) for financial reasons (had to work to pay the rent), or life issues (health related). However, the one constant in my life was always my writing. Plus, of course, once you start writing it’s impossible to stop!

  20. Nathalia Holmes

    I know I cant make it as a writer. I tried to write a book, I wrote a lot of ideas down, short stories, even fanfictions. I never finished even one. I would love to, but sometimes I just cant put all my thoughts in words. And over the time my love to write began to feel wrong. Like I would just pretend.

    Now the stories just stay in my head ^^ I would share oneof my many beginnings and pratices with you, but every single one of them is in german and I dont think you would like to read something in the wrong language ^^

    • Sara Dörwald

      You could sent it to me… I’d love to get some inspiration 😉

  21. Richard

    My two cents…lol

    “I resent that implication mother!” Quensi angrily replied, as she took a step back from the Elder Mother.

    “You attempt to draw others to you, ignoring the edicts that we placed on ourselves, all those centuries ago. You attempt to lead, but you only lead those who would follow you to your own selfish gains. Simply to repeat the mistakes that our dead made! Have you learned nothing from the hardships that those beliefs bring?”

    “I’ve learned that shutting ourselves away has eliminated our control over the lesser ones!”

    “Then you have learned nothing then! Go away from here!” Lysette commanded.

    “If you send her, you will find that she was a poor choice Mother!” Quensi spat as she walked away.

    “It wasn’t my choice, daughter! That choice was made by powers far greater than I!” she stated softly.

    Lysette sat on the bench in front of her home, watching sadly as Quensi gathered those loyal to her, and walked from the village. Others began moving to their own homes, trying to understand Quensis’ reaction to Lysettes words.

    “We’ve learned nothing.” Lysette quietly said to no one.

    “That is not true, mother…” Tetra answered, attempting to reassure Lysette, “…some of us have learned much through your guidance. After all, you are the only one of us that has lived outside of the seclusion.”

    “Tetra, do you even understand why Quensi hates you so?” Lysette asked.


    “She covets the responsibility you alone must bear. But only because of the greatness that she believes success would bring her.”

    “What greatness is that?” Tetra asked innocently.

    “It’s not everyone that has their battle against evil so openly presented. The evil she fights, she never sees, and yet she struggles against it everyday. Her evil is her own envy and pride. She fails to realize that we are no better than what she calls the lesser races, for whatever they are we made them. For her, that simply means that they are here for our subjugation, so I fear that she still believes, just as her husband did.”

    “That makes no sense. Would she subjugate the trees, or the fish that swim, or the birds that fly? We created those too. No, it isn’t right. If she truly feels that way, why has she not she been banished?”

    “And unleash her upon the world? I think not! I had hoped to bring her to understand why we must guide our children to become more than they are. More than we are.”

    “So she is lost.” Tetra plainly stated.

  22. JK

    Thanks for your insight. All very good points. I am nearly finished with a novel I will self-publish in the new year. My muse has been the late Mr. Bradbury. “Write with zesto and gusto…write about the things you hate or love.” Quotes like that and quotes about getting away from friends and especially relatives; are the little things that made me realize what it takes to do this.

    I have so much admiration for all writers now that I am one. Now, I must get back to my masterpiece if you’ll excuse me.




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