Ups and Downs of the Writing Life

Quote from Sandra Brown
Quote from Sandra Brown

When we sit down the first time with either pen and paper or in front of a computer, we’re not fully aware of what the beckoning calls of the writing life hold for us. And if we haven’t availed ourselves of the vast published books on writing, we need to do so.
The ideas were fermenting in my heart and mind long before I ever set one word down. I knew I had a story to tell, and I wanted to tell it. I made several assumptions about writing a memoir:

  • I knew the story inside and out. How hard could it be to write it down?
  • The characters were real, living and breathing human beings, my family. How difficult could they be about my writing this story?
  • Little or no research would be needed making it a faster process. HA!
  • I loved writing, but everything I had written had been a short essay or some project at the office. I knew nothing about writing a book.
  • And I could give you a longer list, but I don’t want to bore you.

Here I am nearing completion of a manuscript. I’m thinking about titles, beta readers, editors, marketing, publishing. I have many questions tossing and turning in my head:

  • Is my platform strong enough?
  • Traditional vs. self-publishing?
  • Digital only or digital and print?
  • Have I made any egregious errors in my story?
  • Will I be sued by an irate relative?

And yes, there are more. [tweetthis]Bottom line is the writing life is a sacrificial existence requiring hard work.[/tweetthis] Without the support of an online writing community and my encouraging and Head Cheerleader, Husband Bob, I wouldn’t have made it this far.

Last week I asked you to take part in a short survey about title options. You responded, and soon I will share the results with you in a larger and more detailed fashion.

Via Google Images
Via Google Images

As a result of the survey results, I face one of those up and down rides of the writing life. You see I thought I had the title I wanted, and then many of you responded with such great comments about another of the three possibilities, I am now confronted with a decision about my memoir’s title.

The strongest showing turned out to be a title I had not anticipated at all. As I think about this twist, I now perceive another way to present my story but it means some rewriting. It means a rearranging of some timing issues and placement of sections of the story.

Do I take the time to do this to make sure I have an engaging title which will attract more readers?

Do I go with the title I’ve had in mind for years now and have written around and chance losing some marketplace splash?

Do I assume that those of you who wrote such clever responses to my questions are experts on title choice?

More questions to add to those in my first list above. What’s a girl–er, writer to do?

Faced with a potential change from your original working title, what would you do if you thought it changed the structure of your story and how it reads from beginning to end? Inquiring minds, or at least this one, want to know.

15 thoughts on “Ups and Downs of the Writing Life

  1. You are always so thoughtful and intentional about every aspect of your work in progress. I admire that, Sherrey! About your title . . . I think you will know it when you see it, even if it’s in disguise now.

    1. Bob equates the “thoughtful and intentional” to my worrisome nature. I like your description much better! Yes, about the title. I know I will know it when I see it, and my impatience is shining through right now. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the nudge out of my perplexity.

  2. I somehow missed the survey, but I like the idea of asking reader’s opinions on the title. This writing life sure isn’t easy!

    1. No worries on the survey. Received lots of good feedback, but now feel I have a bit of a conundrum with the layout of my chapters based on the title that came in first. It was one I just pulled out of the air when preparing the survey. Had never thought of it before. Maybe it’s the one, but I’ll need to do some rewriting, I think. Need to give it some thought. Yep, this is a hard life we’ve chosen.

  3. Again, I’m with you on your journey though I don’t have as many questions. Some of yours seem a bit more like doubts such as, Is my platform strong enough? Is it ever? You’ve been blogging tirelessly for many years and have quite an online presence, but is that enough?As a research veteran, I know the results of surveys often pull you in a new direction, but it may be worth the extra work. It’s never easy writing a book, but it is very fulfilling.

    1. Hello my friend! Our co-journey is more comfortable for me because it’s shared, and because you are encouraging and supportive along the way. Yes, I think you may be right–a bit of self-doubt is at play here. I can’t think of a more fulfilling endeavor than writing, if I never publish another word! I can’t see a day without writing something. Thanks for coming by.

  4. I remember going through the exact same process with a zillion issues. The important thing is the writing. Keep your focus on the writing!!

  5. Sherrey, questioning details, as you have, is all part of the process but at some point, you will it let go and let it be. Get the feedback you need then trust that you will know when the time and title are right. Everything you have done up until this point will lead you where you need to go. You have worked tirelessly for years and have an impeccable platform. So keep being you and enjoy!

    1. Kathy, you’ve traveled this road and so I rest comfortably in the knowledge that you share with me. “You will let it go and let it be.” “[K]eep being you and enjoy!” “[Y]ou will know when the time and title are right.” Thanks for the great advice.

  6. Welcome to the world of publishing Sherrey! Lol. We agonize the challenging what ifs from so many directions. I hear you because I recently finished rewriting my latest book that just wasn’t sitting well with me. I went over it for 3 months trying to figure out what didn’t sit right with me. And then I reached out to an author friend to read it, and her feedback didn’t tell me, but clicked a light bulb in my head that my book was actually two books and that’s why it wasn’t melding.So I rewrote and reorganized chapters and added a few more on the ONE topic I chose to keep the book about, and after many hair-tearing days, I’m so happy it’s finally gone to the editor.
    Sometimes we need the support from a fellow writer who understands our dilemmas, and to help open our thoughts up to better ideas. All in all, after all that is said and done, eventually something resonates with us, which tells us what it is we should do. But it is a process, and you’re just currently riding the wave. It will come!!!! πŸ™‚

    1. Debby, sorry you’ve had to go through so many revisions and reorganizational steps, but you’ll be a happier writer when all’s said and done. And thank you for sharing that with me as it puts things into clear perspective. Appreciate your friendship so much!

      1. Thanks Sherrey, but what we endure is all part of a writer’s life. We chose it, and we strive to make our work the best we can. We sometimes tend to get so involved that we can’t step out of the box. But if we take a step out and look in, we often find the answers. I await your book, and title! πŸ™‚

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