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Anne R. Allen's Blog


My Photo

Anne writes funny mysteries and how-to-books for writers. She also writes poetry and short stories on occasion. Oh, yes, and she blogs. She's a contributor to Writer's Digest and the Novel and Short Story Writer's Market for 2016. 

Her bestselling Camilla Randall Mystery Series features perennially down-on-her-luck former socialite Camilla Randall—who is a magnet for murder, mayhem and Mr. Wrong, but always solves the mystery in her quirky, but oh-so-polite way.

Anne lives on the Central Coast of California, near San Luis Obispo, the town Oprah called "The Happiest City in America."

Anne blogs at Anne R. Allen's Blog...with Ruth Harris 
and at Anne R. Allen's Books

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Are Your Dreams Standing in the Way of Writing Success? 5 Dreams That Can Interfere With Your Goals

What’s the difference between a dream and a goal?

Short answer: reality.

A dream is a creature of the imagination, full of sparkles and rainbows and magic. It’s our castle in the air where we live our fantasy lives. We all need them. But we also need to recognize them for what they are.

A goal is something doable. Like getting a college degree, saving enough money to go to a writers conference, or finishing that novel.

"I want to be a rich and famous writer" is a dream.

"I want to write a novel and get it published" is a goal.

We need to learn the difference if we're going to succeed at anything.

Here are some common writers' dreams that can stand in the way of writing success.

1) The Travel-Adventure Dream

You know the one—most writers have it at some point. We're going to travel around the country in a camper/sports car/motorcycle—writing our own version of On the Road, Travels with Charlie, or Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Or we're going to go live in Paris and become the next Hemingway, Fitzgerald or Gertrude Stein.

I plead guilty to this one. When I was a kid, I always pictured myself traveling the world, having romantic adventures and turning them into lovely novels.

Thing is, I got the traveling and adventures part right, but until I was nearly forty, I’d never actually produced one of those novels.

Novelists don't need adventures. They need the talent to sit "alone in a room" as critic Michael Ventura famously said in his classic essay, The Talent of the Room.

And as A. J. Hartley pointed out at Writers Digest's Thrillerfest this week. "Shakespeare didn't ever go to Italy."

I'll never regret any of my own visits to Italy, but they weren't essential to my writing career.

My dream of romantic adventure was standing in the way of my goal of becoming a novelist.

2) The Award-Winner Dream

Who hasn’t had the Academy Award fantasy?

When you were twelve, you probably rehearsed your Oscar acceptance speech in front of your mirror and told your hairbrush that you thanked the Academy, your favorite teacher, and your parents—carefully leaving out your bratty little sister who insisted on watching her stupid cartoons instead of the whole red-carpet lead-in to the Oscar broadcast.

Yeah, a lot of us have been there.

But sometimes we can get snagged on that dream and it holds us back. Whether it’s winning an Oscar, Tony, Pulitzer, or making it to the top of the NYT bestseller list—picturing that kind of rare occurrence as your sole image of success can hold you back from the real thing.

Success comes in increments: baby steps. You need to consider yourself successful when you finish your first novel, send your first query, self-publish your first book, write your first blogpost, get your first royalty check, etc. Otherwise, you’re going to be overwhelmed by the huge leap from where you are now to where you want to be.

I have an old friend who has always wanted to be a playwright. Twenty years ago, she won a scholarship to a prestigious playwriting workshop. Since then, she hasn’t written a word. But she's always talking about the grand, epic, historical play she plans to write some day. The kind that would cost millions to stage.

So when she told me recently she had a new idea for a fun little musical—one that might be possible to put on without first winning the lottery—I suggested we brainstorm and write an outline. While she talked, I jotted down her ideas for scenes, set design, music, etc., hoping I could help her get back on track to her goal.

After a couple of hours, I presented her with the outline and tried to fill her with encouragement. I told her I knew some people at a community theater who might be willing to do it as a readers’ theater, and maybe even stage it. I hoped that would inspire her to sit down at the keyboard and start writing.

Instead, she flew into a rage.

No community theater for her! She wanted Broadway!! Unless this play was going to be a contender for a Tony Award, she wouldn’t bother to write it. It was her life-long dream to stand on that stage and accept her Tony award from the American Theater Wing. She had it all visualized: what she’d wear, what she’d say, who she’d thank.

How could I be so cruel as to take her dream away!

I put on a fake smile worthy of Camilla the Manners Doctor and ushered her out the door. I knew at that moment that my friend was never going to write a play.

Her overblown Tony-award dreams blocked her from her goal of becoming a playwright.

3) The Literary Kudos Dream

This was one of mine, too.  In my dream I was always able to support myself with writing (somebody had to pay those cafe bills in Paris.)

But I didn’t have a clue how to write stuff that might actually make money.

I mostly read literary fiction, and my early work consisted of self-involved, convoluted Alice Munro-wannabe stories and esoteric poems full of classical references.

Yes, I loved reading romantic suspense and mysteries, but I didn’t want to be a pulp fiction writer. Oh, no: I wanted to be reviewed in the New Yorker!

Right. I didn’t take into account that pretty much everybody who is published in the New Yorker has a boat-load of academic credentials and teaches at a prestigious university.

I let my dream of literary acclaim stand in the way of writing the kind of fiction that might give me a professional career.

4) The Rich Writer-of-Leisure Dream

Richard Castle has a lot to answer for.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the TV show Castle (and I’d watch Nathan Fillion read an IRS tax form.)

But do you ever see that guy writing books?

Movies and books are full of characters who are rolling in money they've earned from writing fiction. Some of you may be old enough to remember that author who owned the Hawaiian mansion in Magnum P.I. Yeah. Like that guy. Jessica Fletcher on Murder She Wrote never had any money worries either.

But the truth is, even successful, bestselling authors don’t make as much as the average lawyer, professor,  doctor, or accountant (and they don't get benefits.) The J.K. Rowlings and Stephen Kings are very rare indeed.

The reality is the vast majority of writers have day jobs. Either we teach or edit or work at something entirely separate from writing. And we don't have much spare time.

If you want to be in the self-supporting minority, you have to work long, hard hours. To make the kind of money Richard Castle supposedly has, you'd have to churn out titles at the rate of about one a month. Even so, it’s highly unlikely you’d be able to afford Castle’s loft (or all those ex-wives), and you certainly wouldn't have the time to run around solving crimes for the NYPD.

Real writers write. A lot.

Don't let your dream of living like a fictional author keep you from becoming an author in real life. 

5) The “I Never Interfere with my Genius” Dream

There’s a quote sometimes attributed to Oscar Wilde, and sometimes to Byron:  "I never rewrite. Who am I to interfere with genius?" (I can't find it with a Google search, so I must not have it quite right. Anybody out there know the exact quote?)

Some writers believe their talent is all they need, so they never subject their tender artistic feelings to the tough work of learning the craft of writing.

But writing is like any other skill: you have to learn the rules and practice, practice, practice.

No matter how great your natural golf swing, you have to learn the rules of the game of golf, or you won’t win any tournaments. It’s the same with writing. "Talent" only gets you so far.

But I’ve known writers who spend years churning out unreadable novels—never rewriting—refusing to learn about point of view, or story arc, or pacing. Their work is constantly rejected by agents and editors, which they attribute to various conspiracies or scams, never to their lack of knowledge.

If these authors self-publish, they get dismal sales and scathing reviews that fill them with despair.

I’ve read lots of blogposts by authors who lament the unfairness of the industry/buying public, but when I look at their books, the reasons for their failures jump from the first page: bad grammar, typos, impenetrable prose, clichéd phrases and characters.

First drafts are, by nature, s****y, as Anne Lamott taught us. That’s why we rewrite.

Real genius is learning to rewrite well.

As Richard North Patterson said,

"Writing is rewriting. A writer must learn to deepen characters, trim writing, intensify scenes. To fall in love with the first draft to the point where one cannot change it is to greatly enhance the prospects of never publishing."

If you fall in love with the dream of your own "genius" you'll fail in your goal of becoming a professional author.


What are your writing goals? Can you clear your brain of the misty fantasies and figure out what you really want—and then map out a step-by-step path to reach it?

Your goals can change as you mature as a writer, but they need to be clear. Do you want to be self-supporting? Do you want literary acclaim? Those aren’t always mutually exclusive, but you're more like to reach one if you let go of the other for a while.

Concentrate on what's doable, then set a goal. You can have another one after that, and another one after that—and one day, it may result in that big dream actually coming true.

What about you, scriveners? Have you had some of these dreams? Have you let them keep you from your goals the way I did? What other dreams can keep a writer from success? 

Book Deal of the Week

If you haven't read any of the Camilla books, this is the one to start with


 A debutante loses everything and is accused of murder. But she proves her innocence with the help of a cast of wacky characters, including a plucky octogenarian,  a wise young trash collector, and the hottest newsman since Clark Gable in "It Happened One Night."
"The Best Revenge is part bildungsroman and part picaresque "Perils of Pauline" (Calamities of Camilla?) that while laugh-out-loud funny, carries a message about how we view ourselves and how others' views of us may conflict, yet make us grow."...Richard Alan Corson.


1) Quirk Books "Looking for Love" contest.  They offer a $10,000 prize for the best quirky love story of 50,000 words or more. Visit the Quirk Books website to download the entry form or for further information. Quirk Books was founded in 2002 and publishes around 25 books each year. Their bestselling titles include Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Entries close October 1, 2013

2) A site for KOBO READERS: TrindieBooks.com. This Canadian site is the KindleNationDaily for Kobo. Really nice folks, affordable rates, and their ads are FREE if your book is free for Kobo. Reach some of those voracious Canadian readers. Kobo is the most popular ereader in Canada.  Submit your book here. 

3) A Room of Her Own contest for women writers. Entry Fee: $15. Four prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Los Angeles Review. Submit a poem of no more than 36 lines, a short short story of up to 500 words, a story of up to 1,500 words, or an essay of up to 1,500 words. Visit the website for complete guidelines. Deadline: July 31, 2013

4) Advertise to British readers with EbookBargainsUK. Listings will be half-price through July and August and anyone listing then will get a credit for a free listing for September onwards (excluding the Holiday period December 20 – January 10). ALSO: They will be launching Ebook Bargains Australia, Ebook Bargains New Zealand, Ebook Bargains Canada and Ebook Bargains India soon, offering authors a chance to target their ebooks at readers through local stores in those countries. Inclusion in these international email newsletters will not cost you anything extra! The one small listing fee will get your ebooks in all five newsletters, reaching five of the biggest English-speaking markets outside the USA. If you're in any of those countries, do sign up for their newsletter. It brings links to free and bargain ebooks—at the bookstore of your choice—in your inbox every morning. You can subscribe here.

5) Murder And Mirth - A Contest: Submissions are being accepted for The  Killer Wore Cranberry: Room For Thirds anthology. All stories must be between 1,500 - 5,000 words. Send in .doc, .rtf or .odt format only. Stories MUST be about murder and mayhem happening at Thanksgiving, feature a typical Thanksgiving dish as a vital part of the story (turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, etc.) and - most importantly - they must be funny. Says editor Jay Hartman, "This anthology is all about making people laugh while enjoying a great mystery at the same time." Previously published works are fine as long as author has  electronic rights. Submit to (and questions): jhartman@untreedreads.comDeadline is September 1st.

We love your comments! If you're having a hard time jumping through Blogger's hoops, send me an email at annerallen dot allen at gmail dot com and I'll post it myself.

Please note: FEEDBURNER seems to have stopped sending out emails to this blog's subscribers, and the FB "help" page is so full of inscrutable jargon it might as well be written in Klingon. I hope to get MailChimp installed next week (pray for me; I'm a cybermoron.) Or, if you would like to join my new personal email list for simple notifications of new blogposts, send me an email to annerallen.allen at gmail dot com with the subject "subscribe". Thanks much. 

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Blogger Judith said...

Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you for this post. Like the old skin bracer commercial - I needed that.

I plead guilty to #1, in particular, and to a lesser extent, #2 & #4. (I don't believe I'm nearly as obstinate as your playwright friend.) But, in general, I need to be constantly reminded of the difference between goals and dreams.

July 14, 2013 at 10:00 AM  
Blogger Michael Carnell said...

Good points. I know I am guilty of a few of these. But they are all so alluring! Especially the travel.

July 14, 2013 at 10:03 AM  
Blogger Elise Stokes said...

Excellent post and let's get real. Only a handful of folks win the lottery. The rest of us fight for every inch (or download). But keep on keeping on, right? And write because you love it.

July 14, 2013 at 10:15 AM  
Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I feel sorry for that playwright. She wanted perfection and the big time right away. It has to be earned and it takes work.
When my books became Amazon best sellers, I did hope they'd appear as best sellers elsewhere. Eh, no. But that's all right.
Never even wanted to quit my day job.
And yes, Castle rocks. I'd watch Fillion read a tax form to Kate Beckinsale.

July 14, 2013 at 10:17 AM  
Blogger Trekelny said...

I was getting along with this post just fine, nodding my head at all these OTHER poor folks you were talking about and having a great time.
Then you just had to give #5, didn't you. You could have stopped at four, and I'd have ended my day happy. But noooo... and I'm as guilty as sin, I am.
In my own defence, if I hadn't gone to self-pub following my 200% rejection record by agents, I'd never have written a thing past that first, unpublished monsterpiece novel. The other tales will need rewriting, despite having been published- I recognize that, though I think they're still good. And ironically, I've repolished the monsterpiece a half-dozen times in the interim. It's probably the best work I've got and I still haven't brought it out.
Thanks as always Anne. I'm sure I'll forgive you eventually.
:: then sighs heavily ::

July 14, 2013 at 10:21 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Bravo and congratulations on Camilla! The books are wonderful reads and you've earned all your success.

How to get cured of your publishing dreams? Work in publishing and get to know a lot of writers. lol

July 14, 2013 at 10:53 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Judith--It sure took me a long time to get a clue. I didn't realize how much I was resisting success until I took a long hard look at what I was doing--or not doing--to reach my goals.

Michael--I do think travel is good for a writer, because it opens the mind, but you don't have to trek around for years, which is what I did.

Elise--I'm lucky that I always wrote, but I wasn't writing with a plan. I think Yogi Berra said something like, "you have to know where you're going or you'll end up someplace else." That was me.

Alex--The problem with the playwright is that she spent 20 years fantasizing about instant success. Imagine where she might be now if she'd put that energy into actually writing something.

Congrats on being an Amazon bestseller. That's real success. Enjoy it!

Trekelny--How do you think I came up with this list? I've got a monsterpiece of my own. 10 years I meandered around that thing. Story arc? I don't need no stinking story arc! Uh-huh.

July 14, 2013 at 11:01 AM  
Blogger Vera Soroka said...

This is a good list. I'm guilty of some of them but I think I realize it takes more than dreams to make things happen. You have to stop dreaming and do it and keep doing it getting better with each book. That is the only way.

July 14, 2013 at 11:28 AM  
Blogger Melanie Ting said...

Great post, Anne! It's always good to have a bracing shot of reality.
I'm a novice writer, but I've worked in other creative fields, and people always romanticize the artistic life. It all boils to hard, steady and continual work in the end.

July 14, 2013 at 12:05 PM  
Blogger Roland D. Yeomans said...

Ah, the sweeping sand keeps blurring the screen of my laptop as I write here at the foot of the Sphinx. I must dust it off before continuing. :-)

Yes, dreams can get in the way -- but a mirage, though illusionary, can still get you across the desert as you put one foot after another in pursuit of it!

It's dreams PLUS determined EFFORT in pursuit of that dream that will accomplish something concrete.

Hemingway scoffed at dreamers who dreamed without putting any words on paper. Samuel Clemens urged us to cling to our dreams, for without them life is drab indeed.

Fun post as always, Roland

July 14, 2013 at 12:50 PM  
Blogger fOIS In The City said...

Anne, I think that depending upon our learning curve, we might all have tortured ourselves with dreams that can be harmful, rob our valued time and garner nothing in return.

Thanks for pulling off the mask :)

July 14, 2013 at 1:38 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Ruth--LOL! I'll bet you got a crash course in what the writing life is really like when you went to work for the Big 6 as an editor.

Vera--It's fine to have the dreams as long as we have concrete goals, too. Like actually writing something. And you're right--the first book doesn't usually end up being the masterpiece you imagine. You have to write another. And another.

Melanie--You're right that this applies to any form of creative expression. If you want to be an actress, you have to take acting lessons and try out for small parts before you can be "discovered." But a lot of people expect lightning to strike.

Roland--You're right about mirages. As long as you keep those feet moving. But if you lie there and expect the mirage to come to you...those drifting sands are going to get you. :-)

Fois--It is all about the learning curve, isn't it? You have to learn a little about a business before you know how much you don't know and what a long road you have to travel.

July 14, 2013 at 2:03 PM  
Blogger Anne Gallagher said...

I've been polishing my Oscar acceptance speech for years. lol At least I'm rewriting something right?

Seriously, I think we're all a little guilty of grand dreams and aspirations when we start out. Well, I was anyway. But I also think that keeps us going when the dirt hits the fan -- when we get our first critique -- when we get our first rejection. It's the dreams that keep us writing.

We want to be better writers. We want to make the manuscript better so we can gain the acceptance from an agent, publisher, our peers. We don't want to disappoint.

Great post.

July 14, 2013 at 2:03 PM  
Blogger Julie Luek said...

OH like everyone else, you stepped on a my toes a bit with a few of these. Spot on. Going to Tweet and FB this. I'm quite sure we're all in good company! Now.. if you'll excuse me, I'm off to work on my masterpiece...

July 14, 2013 at 2:46 PM  
Blogger T.J. said...

Yep, I have grand dreams. A little over a year ago, I was able to dedicate myself to learning about writing full time. *Wince* OUCH! Talk about some hard knocks! :) I still have grand dreams, but my goals are firmly rooted in reality. :)

Great post.

July 14, 2013 at 3:05 PM  
Blogger Julia Munroe Martin said...

This is a great post, and over time I've been slave to quite a few of these dreams, and I admit that I still am hoping eventually for the best seller...but it's not holding me back anymore. About two years ago, right around when I started blogging, something clicked and like you I have tried to be more realistic. In fact, I finally took the bull by the horns and self published one book, continuing to look for traditional publication with others. And I'm writing everyday even when I don't feel like it. This is one of the most realistic writing posts I've read in a long time -- and I really appreciate the important reminders! Thanks to Julie Luek for helping me find it via FB!

July 14, 2013 at 3:56 PM  
Blogger Pip Connor said...

Hey Anne, wow, again you seem to have read my mind. I have only been writing for a couple of years and at some point during my writing I have sat and thought about every point you have illustrated here. That was why when I decided to start writing I chose not to look at other writers websites, I didn't want to distract myself with what if or as I have quickly come to learn, what isn't, I just wanted to see if I could do it. I have recently received my first rejection and wait with baited breath for the countless others. And whilst I write as much as I can, I have to be honest, a little part of me is still hanging on to the 'JK Rowling, Stephanie Meyers and Stephen King dream'. If it can happen to them, maybe, just maybe...

July 15, 2013 at 2:43 AM  
Blogger Alicia Street said...

Great post, Anne! Yep, I did the hairbrush speeches, too. And while I agree that it's sooo important to know the difference between a goal and a dream, I also think we need a touch of the dreamer in us to be committed authors. Otherwise we'd never be crazy enough to choose the arduous lifestyle of writing books as a goal!

July 15, 2013 at 3:48 AM  
Blogger Sisters in Crime Central Coast Chapter said...

Boy, can I relate to that. Now on my fourth Bella Kowalski mystery I still have dreams, but understand that they are just that--dreams. And the goals are a bit less ambitious as well.

July 15, 2013 at 9:24 AM  
Blogger Sheena-kay Graham said...

Dreams shouldn't get in the way of reality. Sorry your friend couldn't see past the glitz of Broadway. This posts had great pointers on how to keep your head on your shoulders.

July 15, 2013 at 9:35 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Anne--You're absolutely right that we need those dreams. We need a little delusion to keep us going through the tough bits. But we need to remember that's what they are: dreams.

Julie--Thanks so much for sharing the post. FB doesn't like me to share links to this blog (long story) but I think they allow other people to do it.

TJ--You know, I forgot about the "I'm going to quit my day job and become a self-supporting author overnight" dream. I tried that. Yup. I actually did. Went through a lot of my savings.

Julia--Thanks much for coming over from FB. Don't let go of that bestseller dream. That's doable. It's happened to me. :-)

Pip--So glad to see you here, Pip! Congrats on getting your first rejection. Now you have the one thing every professional author has. Keep collecting those rejections. That's how King, Rowling, etc got where they are. As long as you're sending out your work, you're on your way to your goals.

Alicia--Absolutely: we need those dreams. But we need to recognize them for what they are.

Sisters--Thanks so much for inviting me to speak to your chapter this weekend! Yes, our dreams tend to "lose some grandeur coming true" as Joni Mitchell said. But we still need them.

Sheena--Thanks. Yes it really is about keeping your head out of the clouds for a bit so you can achieve real-life success.

July 15, 2013 at 9:53 AM  
Blogger Christine Ahern said...

Wonderful post, as always. I have those dreams and know that they are pretty unrealistic but, they help to keep me from sinking into despair while going through this oh so humbling query process. Okay to have big dreams as long as you remember that the small wins are what's real and celebrate every single one of them. Even those personal rejection letters! Better than a form letter, right?

July 15, 2013 at 11:06 AM  
OpenID paulfahey said...

Anne, I wanted to second Ruth's comment loud and clear. Brava! What a great series your Camilla Randall's is. Just love it. I have maybe one more in the series to read and I'm saving it as I don't want to run out. Then I'll start in on Ruth's books.

Love this post as well. Success is wonderful but for me it's always come in small baby steps and usually when I stopped thinking about it and just did the work. Reminded me of meeting Michael Caine in the mid-sixties when I was in college. He was touring campuses talking about his breakthrough film, Alfie. Said he was what you might call an overnight sensation. Over many, many nights. :)

July 15, 2013 at 2:33 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Christine--The problem is when the dream is too far from where you are now. The same dream a few steps down the road will be a doable dream. But it's making those baby steps that matters. Like blogging regularly :-) Remember agents reject if they can't Google you.

Paul--Thanks so much. Our writing journeys have been running parallel haven't they? Overnight sensations over thirty years of nights. :-) It's that much more exciting to see so many people enjoying our work now though. I hope you sold tons of books in the Plaza yesterday!

July 15, 2013 at 2:54 PM  
Blogger G. B. Miller said...

Number 5 was mine for about three years until I was given what the show "South Park" would call a "drive-by b***h slapping" that truly knocked some sense into my head.

Now, I definitely know better that you need to edit, re-edit, re-re-edit and yet re-re-re-edit before you submit your Great North American Novel to the masses, 'cause you know, if you just slap it together, the masses will slap you.

July 16, 2013 at 3:30 AM  
Blogger Churadogs said...

Fabulous posting. Tom Wolfe's "Painted Word" had a scene in the automat with what's really going though The Suffering Artist's head that's laugh out loud funny and certainly apropos to this too, too true posting. To all these caveats, I'd add one: No one put a gun to your head and demanded you do this kind of (incredibly hard, creative) work, so stop whining and keep typing. :-)

July 16, 2013 at 5:04 AM  
Blogger Creaky door writer said...

This was so helpful, thank you. Most instructive for me, I think, is the advice to consider yourself a success when you take one of those baby steps that are nowhere near your dreams of success. I first started feeling like a proper writer when I began my writing blog - it seemed to remove a huge psychological obstacle, just calling myself a writer. Previously I had this dream of being able to put 'writer' on my passport because I was earning my living entirely from writing. Until I reached that stage, I wouldn't consider myself a success. Thanks again!

July 16, 2013 at 5:32 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

What a wonderful post. When I decided to take writing seriously, I want my stories to be in the New Yorker and Atlantic. Yeah, nothing like starting at the top. But then I realized, what I really wanted to do was write well, and I've been through a lot of writing books and some classes since. You are so right: those "pie in the sky" dreams can stand in the way of real accomplishment.

July 16, 2013 at 7:08 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

PS: The CAmilla series looks interesting. I love a good mystery!

July 16, 2013 at 7:10 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

G. B.--Reality is indeed a b*@#! isn't it? But sometimes we need the fantasy to make us barrel through and get the book finished. Then, we have to deal with the cold truth of editing.

Chura--And I'm sure Tom Wolfe knows exactly what's going on in the Suffering Artist's head because he's been there himself. But sometimes the fantasy keeps us writing, and that's a good thing. You're right that nobody makes you be creative but your own muse. Sometimes that leads to making a few bucks and sometimes it doesn't. But the creativity itself is its own reward.

Creaky Door--Thanks for bringing that up. Blogging on a regular basis can definitely push a writer from "amateur" to "professional" mode. I think writers who don't keep up their blogs may be telling themselves (and the world) they're not ready for prime time.

Elizabeth--I'm embarrassed to even think about all those stories I fired off to the Atlantic and the New Yorker. I wonder if we aim for the unattainable because we know we're not ready?

Thanks so much for your interest in Camilla. She's a lot of fun to write about. She's totally unlike me. She's always polite and gorgeously dressed, and outwits the bad guys by using better manners. (Me I'm sitting here in my sweats and Crocs, using some pretty colorful language as my Internet connection goes squirrely. :-) )

July 16, 2013 at 9:20 AM  
Blogger Elisabeth Lohninger said...

Spot on post, I am sad to admit. Gotten better at the delusions of grandeur thing, but it still nips at my heels occasionally. So thank you for putting it out there!

July 16, 2013 at 4:49 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Elisabeth--We all have those delusions. And sometimes they turn into reality. But it takes many steps. Taking the first ones is how you do it. Sounds like you're doing just that!

July 16, 2013 at 6:40 PM  
Blogger Peaches Ledwidge said...

A post worth reading by people who want to write and people who write. Thank you.

July 17, 2013 at 5:26 AM  
Blogger LD Masterson said...

A very good post. I think I'm okay in the dream department, unless brick and mortar bookstores become extinct before I get there. My dream has always been just to walk into a bookstore, point to a book on the shelf, and say "That's mine."

July 17, 2013 at 10:45 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Peaches--I'm so glad you found the post useful!

LD--Oh, I know that dream, LD, and I have to admit it was a big thrill when I first saw my book in a shop window. I hope we never lose that!

July 18, 2013 at 10:06 AM  
Blogger Jill Haugh said...

You gave your friend an outline? how could you? Snort.
Great post Anne. I see we were twins separated at birth, at least in our imaginings.
While I was reading your blog, I just had an idea for THE MOST BORING REALITY SHOW EVER:
A Writer's Life.
~Just Jill

July 19, 2013 at 6:52 AM  
Blogger Priscilla Strapp said...

Great post. I, too, kept thinking of friends who talk a good game but never write--and then the dreams started to hit closer to home. Ouch.

July 19, 2013 at 8:04 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Jill--LOVE your idea for a boring reality show. Perfect. I hear the Norwegians love shows of nothing but boats going back and forth across a river. Maybe you should pitch to them. Yeah, I think my friend must have been more of a panster...:-)

Pricilla--Bars and coffee houses are populated with people who love to talk their books and never write them. But I think we all get snagged on these dreams at one point or another.

July 19, 2013 at 10:05 AM  

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