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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, June 8, 2014

Thinking Outside the Book: When a Writing Dead End Becomes a Detour to Success

Today we're excited to be hosting freelance writer Nina Badzin. I've known Nina since she started blogging and it's been fantastic to watch her career soar. 

Nina was a compelling blogger from the time she wrote her first post. It was obvious she had tons of talent and skill. And her "query addiction" post really hit home with me. I'd been a query addict too. 

But what I most love about her story is that she took the writing road less travelled, and she's turned it into a professional career. 

I always advise fiction writers not to spend so much time on their blogs that they lose sight of the "prize": finishing and publishing their books.

But what if you'd rather blog? 

That doesn't have to mean you're a procrastinator or a failed novelist. It means you've got what it takes to be a successful nonfiction writer! And guess what? Nonfiction writers make good money, even with today's shrinking print markets. 

The Web is fueled by content, and writers who provide good content are thriving. As I said in my post about writing for the 21st century reader, and The New Golden Age of Short Fiction "the book" is a construct of the age of Gutenberg. In the digital age, readers' habits are changingthey are reading shorter pieces on smaller screensand wise writers will change with them...Anne

Recognizing the Difference Between a Writer’s Dead End and a Detour

by Nina Badzin

This post is about embracing the writer you are rather than the writer you thought you would be.

It’s about allowing your goals to change and your vision to shift even if you’ve worked hard to make one particular path work. It’s about redefining success as a writer and accepting your strengths and weaknesses. It’s also about seeing potential for a writing career that does not include a book.

Let me give you some background first.


As a child, I daydreamed about becoming a novelist, the only kind of writer I knew about at the time. Many of you can relate, I’m sure. I imagined book tours, and as I got older, I noted the place on a shelf where my books might sit.

In hindsight, however, my writing history, even the earliest moments, pointed towards the short form. In fifth grade I wrote short stories about my teachers, and I occasionally won essay contests in junior high and high school.

I took two creative writing class in college, and my professors would tell me, “You are a writer.”

Although the work these instructors based that statement on were essays and short stories, I still chose to hear “you are a novelist.” A writer had to write books, I thought. Even a nonfiction writer was not the real thing without a book.

I took a break from writing while I was an English teacher, a career choice that seemed more responsible and realistic for a lover of literature than trying to be the person who creates fiction. I enjoyed the job, but when I had my first child, I did not want to be stuck on a teacher’s schedule nor did I want to grade 125 essays every other week. I stayed home with my son, filling my days with play dates, baby classes, errands, and reading. I did not, however, revive my desire to write until my second child was born.

“I should have been a novelist,” I would say, through tears, to my husband.

“So do it,” he said. “Write novels. It’s not too late.”


To make a very long story decently short, in a year I had a draft of a novel. I happened to mention the manuscript in a “Mommy and Me” class, and as luck would have it, one of the other moms had recently moved to Minneapolis from New York, where she’d worked as a foreign rights agent at a big agency.

“Let me read it,” she said. 

I was shocked that she loved the manuscript and wanted to send it to a former colleague. During a long phone conversation months later with Becca, my classmate’s best contact for women’s fiction at the agency, she explained why she didn’t think the book worked. But Becca helped me identify the storyline in my manuscript that she could picture as a novel. (It’s unusual to get this kind of attention on the phone from an agent who is not signing you. Becca was doing her friend a favor.) 

Grateful for some much needed direction, I then spent the next year writing the book that Becca envisioned. In the meantime, I had a few short stories published, one of which was the first chapter of the new book, an excellent fact for my query letters to agents once I completed the new novel.


I wrote a killer query letter if I may say so myself. (See, another short form success!) 

I then spent the next six months responding to emails from agents who requested chapter samples or the entire manuscript. 

One dream agent took enough interest to speak to me on the phone with suggestions for revisions. She read several more drafts of the book and was willing to read yet another draft when it hit me: 

I hate this book. 

In fact, I didn’t like writing novels at all. 

I told the agent that I wasn’t interested in pursuing the idea anymore, and of course thanked her profusely for the time she’d spent on my work.


I wanted a break from novels, but I didn’t want to stop writing. Luckily I had seen a few calls for submissions from two writing blogs I liked: Writer Unboxed and Write it Sideways. 

I also answered a call for guests posts at my friend’s very popular parenting site, Scary Mommy, as well as a local Jewish site I enjoyed called tcjewfolk.com. Within a matter of months in the middle of 2010 right after my third child was born, I had four blog posts up on four different sites. 

But I didn’t have a slice of the Internet to call my own.

While I was writing novels, I had always claimed that I would never start a blog, but by November of 2010, I quickly learned how to use the most basic version of a free Wordpress site. 

I made a separate page for my published short stories and a page titled “essays”  where I listed my four guest posts. I threw together my first few original posts and watched friends share them on Facebook. 

My first post had about 20 comments, which I thought was incredible. After those years writing novels alone with little feedback, I was hooked.

Somehow I discovered Anne’s blog early on, and I’m so grateful that she encouraged me to change my blog’s name and URL from the silly “A Mom in the Middle” to “Nina Badzin’s Blog” with the URL as the simple ninabadzin.com.

She also helped me stay on the manageable posting schedule of once a week rather than slopping together several posts a week. This allowed me to keep writing and publishing short stories, as well as gave me time to build a readership through regularly reading others’ blogs and commenting thoughtfully.


Before I could abandon the old daydream of writing books, I had to make sure I wasn’t making a mistake. I pursued four new novel ideas, one after the other, but never got further than 25,000 words before I’d get to what I called the “so-what factor.” 

I was forcing something that simply was not there.

The essays and short stories, while still hard work for me, became a challenge I enjoyed. And I was successful at earning new opportunities. I continued to get short stories published as well receive invitations to guest post for other writers’ blogs.

I had my first acceptance at The Huffington Post, which gave me some desired “street cred” with friends and family even if as a writer it’s not particularly impressive to give away that much work for free on a site so littered with ads. (That’s an entirely separate essay. I don’t mind writing for free for other writers’ blogs like the Twitter tips column I wrote for Writer Unboxed or the stories I submit to literary journals, but for sites that are successful businesses, it doesn't feel right.)

I’m proud to say that at this point I’m a paid contributing writer at two sites I enjoy and respect. One is Brain, Child: The Magazine for Thinking Moms and the other is Kveller.com a website focused on Judaism and parenting. Both sites fit my strengths and my voice well, and they have an active readership, wonderful editors, and good reputations.

I’ve had other exciting opportunities like a recent assignment for a local magazine, speaking and teaching engagements, and other freelance gigs. I feel confident that the more I continue to tackle new topics and try new outlets for creative nonfiction or short fiction, the more I will continue to get my words out there, even if those words are not between the covers of a book.

Perhaps I am not the writer I thought I would be when I started, but I am a writer. And I’m having a darn good time with it, too.


Nina Badzin lives in Minneapolis with her husband and four children and blogs at ninabadzin.com. She's a contributing writer at Brain, Child: The Magazine for Thinking Mothers and at Kveller.com.

She has published many articles in The Huffington Post, Writer Unboxed, The Jewish Daily Forward, various anthologies, and elsewhere.

Her fiction has appeared in Compose Journal, The Drum Literary Magazine, The Illanot Review, Independent Ink Magazine, Literary Mama, Midwestern Gothic, Monkeybicycle, The Pedestal Magazine, The Potomac: a Journal of Poetry and Prose, and others. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for her favorite story “Son.” Nina tweets at @NinaBadzin and is on Facebook at NinaBadzinBlog.

What about you, Scriveners? Have you found yourself taking a detour in your writing? Do you feel guilty when writing blogposts or creative nonfiction instead of working on your novel? As a reader, do you feel the novel is a "superior" art form to essays, reviews, stories, and articles? Do you think the novel will continue to be the most respected form of verbal self-expression? Have you ever considered giving up on the query/self-publishing process and making money writing for magazines or the Web? 


This week we hit a million pageviews! Thanks everybody! And thanks to Moira Allen at Writing World, for giving this blog their monthly "Awesome Blog" spotlight. 

June 22: Nathan Bransford: Yes. That Nathan Bransford (squee!) Blog god, former Curtis Brown agent, children's author, and author of How to Write a Novel.

July 20th: Janice Hardy: host of Fiction University and bestselling YA author. Repped by uber-agent Kristen Nelson.

August 10th Jami Gold: editor, writing teacher, award-winning paranormal romance author, and awesome blogger.

September 14th Barbara Silkstone: bestselling indie author and owner of the Second Act Cafe.

October 12 Jessica Bell: author of Polish Your Fiction, a Self-Editing Guide.

And this week Anne will be speaking to the Nightwriters of San Luis Obispo at their monthly meeting. She's going to be talking about all the bad advice new writers get...and why to ignore it, and how to avoid being scammed by people who prey on new writers. 6:30 PM at 2201 Lawton St. (near Corner of South & Broad) San Luis Obispo, CA. More on the SLO Nightwriters website.  Open to the public. No charge. She'll be signing copies of her books as well. 


Chanel and Gatsby

Two great comedies for the price of one!
Ruth Harris's The Chanel Caper and Anne R. Allen's The Gatsby Game

Together in one volume for only $2.99

Hollywood and Manhattan: it's Bi-Coastal Comedy! Perfect for summer beach reading on either coast.
Available at  NOOK, Kobo, and Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon CA

The Chanel Caper
Nora Ephron meets James Bond. Or is it the other way around? 

The Gatsby Game 
A Hollywood mystery with celebrities, murder and a smart-mouthed nanny.


Short Romance stories with holiday themes: Crimson Romance Ebooks (A division of F & W, publisher of Writer's Digest Books) is looking for holiday themed shorts (10K-20K words) Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa 2014, New Year's Even 2015, Deadline: August 15th

BLUE EARTH REVIEW FLASH FICTION CONTEST $2 ENTRY FEE. 750 words or less. Limit two stories per entry. First place $500. Second place $250. Third place $100. Winners will be published in the Blue Earth Review, the literary magazine of Minnesota State University. Deadline August 1.

The Saturday Evening Post "Celebrate America" Short fiction contest. $10 ENTRY FEE. The winning story will be published in the Jan/Feb 2015 edition of The Saturday Evening Post, and the author will receive a $500 payment. Five runners-up will each receive a $100 cash payment and will also have their stories published online. Stories must be between 1,500 and 5,000 words in. All stories must be previously unpublished (excluding personal websites and blogs). Deadline July 1.

The Golden Quill Awards: Entry fee $15. Two categories: Short fiction/memoir (1000 words) and Poetry (40 lines max) $750 1st prize, $400 2nd prize in each category. Sponsored by the SLO Nightwriters and the Central Coast Writers Conference. Deadline June 30th.

WRITERS VILLAGE SUMMER SHORT FICTION CONTEST $24 ENTRY FEE. $4,800 First prize. Second prize $800, third prize $400 and 15 runner up prizes of $80. The top 50 contestants also get a free critique of their stories. Judges include Lawrence Block, a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America, and Jill Dawson, Orange and Whitbread-shortlisted author of eight novels. Winning stories showcased online. Any genre of fiction may be submitted up to 3,000 words, except playscripts and poetry. Entries are welcomed world-wide. Deadline June 30.

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Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Nina, you found your niche and your own path to be a successful writer and author.
Has my writing career taken a detour? Yes, I never thought I'd write more than one novel!
I've done a LOT of guest posts in almost five years, but most were for my book or movie-music related. The IWSG site has taught me more about writing non-fiction and what attracts readers. So still growing and changing. So is my own blog, which might undergo a bit of a change as well. (Although like you ladies, once a week posting is best for me.)

June 8, 2014 at 10:13 AM  
Blogger Sasha A. Palmer said...

4 kids and a rewarding career - good for you, Nina, it's a huge accomplishment. Always nice to hear from someone who's happy in their work. Inspiring. Thank you for the post.

June 8, 2014 at 10:45 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Nina—You're the essence of creativity: doing what you love to do and finding a way to connect with others in the process.

Yay! for you and long may you wave! :-)

June 8, 2014 at 11:00 AM  
Blogger Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I do feel like I'm procrastinating sometimes when I spend time on my blog. Great line up of guests. How exciting! I admire Nina's determination to be a writer and eventually finding what she loved.

June 8, 2014 at 11:33 AM  
Blogger Linda Maye Adams said...

Timely post! I'm in the process of a detour myself. I want to get out of my job and write full time, which means I have to produce a lot. I want to submit short stories to magazines and also write novels, which tends to sell better for indies.

But enter the J.O.B. We're in the process of a major reorganization which has brought out the worst in people. I come home every day and have to spend at least two hours to decompress, and a chunk of my weekend goes to that, too. The result is that I was struggling to get 1,000-3,000 done on the novel and nothing at all on the short stories. Worse, I was dragging myself to the computer to write and spending 2 hours without much to show for it, and it was starting to not be fun because so I was making so little progress. And I was feeling guilty on the weekend not spending it writing, and yet, I needed the time for me. It was very discouraging, because I really couldn't not write because this has been an ongoing problem for a while.

Last week, Jay Lake passed on and I ran across a copy of his writing rules. One of them was a common goal, complete one project each week. Generally, this kind of advice hasn't been helpful because it assumes your brain isn't being fried by a job. But he took a step further and said that if the job was overwhelming, do a flash fiction piece. So I did one. I did research for two days, wrote some of the story, then wrote some more, took Friday off, and finished the story on Saturday. Then I sent it out. It was 800 words, and it was so wondrous to actually have a new project completed. I'm already thinking about the next one.

June 8, 2014 at 11:37 AM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

Allowing for change and growth is so key---in all careers I'd say! And glad to know Anne has successfully spread the once-a-week theory. (Though maybe you were already doing that on your own, Alex.)

June 8, 2014 at 11:38 AM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

Thank you for saying that! It's tricky to strike that balance between striving for more and being happy where I am. With four little kids, this is about as much as I can handle.

June 8, 2014 at 11:39 AM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

Thank you, Ruth! And thanks for hosting me on the site with Anne! You know I'm a fan.

June 8, 2014 at 11:44 AM  
OpenID paulfahey said...

Nina, I love the path you've taken with your writing. It's not only wonderful to hear but inspiring as well. I started writing short stories and they are still my first love. I'm kind of different though. I didn't ever want to write a novel. But wanted to stretch a little beyond the 4-5K word short stories, and, in the past three years, I've discovered that I can--writing e book novellas of 15-40K words. Terrific post and thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. Paul

June 8, 2014 at 11:48 AM  
Blogger Dr John Yeoman said...

Thanks, Nina. I no longer feel so guilty now when I confess 'I hate writing fiction!' I've been a pro editor and PR journalist for 42 years with 12,000+ published features behind me, all of them paid for. Now I find it child's play - and great fun - to draft a 1000-word blog post in an hour or two. Spend another two hours tidying it up and it's ready to run. That's a joy to do. Fiction? That's work! Why do what we don't enjoy?

June 8, 2014 at 11:55 AM  
Blogger Melanie Marttila said...

Nina, I started getting published as an amateur journalist (university newspapers) and then as a poet. I won a few local writing contests with my short stories, but where my writing career shifted was when I realized that the novel was it for me.
Most of my ideas have the scope and complexity for a novel, and while I've still managed to get some of my short stories published (three professional sales to date), my (very kind) rejections often read: This feels like the beginning of a novel. The story is so much bigger than this. Yup.
So I'm writing novels now. None of them are to the querying stage yet, but I'm juggling projects so that when I get to the querying stage, I'll have several novels that could potentially be ready to enter the agent/editor stage of development.
I've been writing since I was seven, and I'll be writing until the day I die. I feel the truth of this, and I'm not afraid of hard work. I know there's a lot more writing and revision ahead of me, but I've found my writerly "home" and am settling in quite nicely, thank you :)

June 8, 2014 at 11:55 AM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

Hi Susan. Thanks so much! I think if you're truly trying to hit a word count goal on a novel and you're spending too much time on the blog to get that done . . . then that's where it can be a problem. Otherwise, blogging can be part of the fiction gig, too.

June 8, 2014 at 12:01 PM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

Thanks for sharing your experience, Linda. I think breaks are necessary sometimes. In some cases, because you really do not have the time. And in other cases, it's good to get out from in front of a screen and tip the balance more towards living than writing. (Gives us more to write about later!)

I really like Jay Lake's advice. Thanks for sharing that, too! It's basically the pace I work at. I wake up at 5AM five days a week. I try to complete an essay in the first few days and do a bit more playing with ideas and maybe short fiction the other days. The first few days are for whatever I have due soon though.

Good luck with job issues!

June 8, 2014 at 12:36 PM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

That's great and it's so wonderful that these newer publishing models allow for exactly that type of work.

June 8, 2014 at 12:37 PM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

Exactly! Work is one thing . . . and tortuous work is another. ;)

June 8, 2014 at 12:37 PM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

This is another great example and allowing your writing to move where it needs to go. And that doesn't mean it will stay there forever. You mean lean towards shorter work one day, and I might find a novel idea that does not make me say "So what?" Great to allow room in either direction. So glad you find a genre that fits right now.

June 8, 2014 at 12:39 PM  
Blogger L. Diane Wolfe said...

Non-fiction opens up so many more possibilities. I've written both and discovered I do better with my non-fiction books and articles (and speaking engagements and seminars) than with my fiction. Still love to write it, but it's not what makes the money.

June 8, 2014 at 1:25 PM  
Blogger florence cronin said...

Not to mention, that you are damn good at it, Nina. Like Anne, I've read you for years. I often lurk, but always read your work. Keep on keeping on. You are not only a good writer, you have a clear vision of where to put your talent. Great post :)

June 8, 2014 at 2:07 PM  
OpenID artistsroad said...

Hi Anne,

Kudos on having Nina as a guest blogger! I've been a big fan of her for several years now, and have enjoyed seeing her thrive as a writer.

As to the question you pose about detours, well, like Nina I used to think creative writing meant fiction, and I spent several years getting nowhere with it. Then in 2010--a similar time frame to Nina--I realized I had been a professional nonfiction writer for 20 years. Why shouldn't I try creative nonfiction? Since then I've earned an MFA in CNF from VCFA, and the memoir I wrote in that program is going to be published this fall by an indie press! So yes, yes to creative detours.

Patrick Ross, The Artist's Road

June 8, 2014 at 2:54 PM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

I won't say I'm rolling in it with the nonfiction, but there are far more opportunities. At least that's the been the case for me!

June 8, 2014 at 3:03 PM  
Blogger Rosi said...

Thanks for a fascinating and encouraging post. I enjoyed every word.

June 8, 2014 at 3:29 PM  
Blogger Liz Crowe said...

Really interesting. I have nearly 20 novels under my belt (all with small presses) and struggle with how to promote via a blog vs. a newsletter vs. Facebook vs. twitter. vs. just sitting down and focusing on the next book! Many sincere congratulations on your success.

June 8, 2014 at 3:46 PM  
Blogger Julie Musil said...

What a great story! Isn't it amazing what doors can open up to us if our eyes our open? I'm so glad you found your niche, and you're happy doing what you love. That's what it's all about.

June 8, 2014 at 3:56 PM  
Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I post once a week when I'm writing - and I am writing right now. I get a lot of comments on my blog and I can keep up with one post like that - multiples a week is when I turn into professional blogger, less the pay.
And thanks for following me on Twitter.

June 8, 2014 at 4:32 PM  
Blogger CS Perryess said...

Ha! I'm hoping all the short stories, articles, contests, & the blog are simply eddies along the 20+year river through which I'm flailing. Time will tell. And bravo, Nina, for figuring things out. Maybe some day when I grow up I'll figure myself out, too.

June 8, 2014 at 5:10 PM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

Thank you so much Florence! That is such a huge compliment. I lurk too, but need to get over there and comment again!

June 8, 2014 at 5:27 PM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

I've enjoyed following your path too, Patrick!

June 8, 2014 at 5:29 PM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

Thanks, Rosi!

June 8, 2014 at 5:29 PM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

Alex-- I know you and remember you from my Writer Unboxed column, too. :)

June 8, 2014 at 8:02 PM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

That IS a struggle because all the promotion takes time. My gut says you should only do the things that you enjoy (or hate the least) in terms of promotion. I know Anne would agree. For example, if Twitter is not your thing, just skip it completely. It would do more harm than good to just promote on there and not really build relationships. I'm sure you know all that, but if not sometimes it's nice to hear someone say, "You don't have to do that!"

June 8, 2014 at 8:24 PM  
OpenID gargimehra said...

Loved reading about your career trajectory, Nina. I am going through a somewhat similar phase, having abandoned novels for short stories and essays. A couple of acceptances have whetted my appetite and now I can’t wait to write and publish more! I still love my novels, though, and enjoyed writing them. I hope to return to them one day.

June 8, 2014 at 11:01 PM  
Blogger Lindsey said...

I love this post. As you know, I've traveled a similar road over the last few years and have released the dream of a book, too ... it's been freeing, in fact. I'm grateful that you're out there and writing and I'll read whatever you share, here or anywhere! xox

June 9, 2014 at 3:47 AM  
Blogger Kristen Ploetz said...

I always enjoy reading about, and being inspired by, your writing journey, Nina. I think for me I'm still figuring out if it the "big project" will be memoir/essay compilation, or a fictionalized version of it. That's an emotional decision more than a practical one. But in the meantime, I keep my pencils sharpened, so to speak, with blogging, submitting nonfiction pieces to various places, and some paid writing gigs that I do in the legal world as an attorney. I feel like even if I don't ultimately pursue/finish the big project mulling in my mind, these other writing endeavors are fulfilling all on their own. That's the key for me. And thank you also for introducing me to Anne's site! :)

June 9, 2014 at 5:18 AM  
Blogger Lea Singh said...

Nina, I so admire you. I don't know how you do it! I have three little kids and I am trying to write more, but I find it really hard to get that balance. All of mine are at home with me and we are starting to homeschool. I don't have a babysitter, and finding time to write is just next to impossible for me these days. Any tips?

June 9, 2014 at 5:20 AM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

It's so true re: open doors. I loved a chapter of Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project about exactly that . . . how letting go of certain hobbies, for example, allows for new ones to come into our lives.

June 9, 2014 at 7:08 AM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

Ha! Time will tell. ;) (And thank you!)

June 9, 2014 at 7:08 AM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

I 100% get that re: whetting the appetite. That happened to me with the short stories, and with having blog readers. Once you're used to that kind of feedback, it is hard to go solitary again.

June 9, 2014 at 7:09 AM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

I could say every word about you, too!

June 9, 2014 at 7:10 AM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

Anne is so great and practical and wise. Glad for the two of you to connect.

And I like that image of the sharpened pencil . . . and how even if you don't finish the big project (whatever that may be) the smaller ones are fulfilling in their own way. Thanks for visiting me here, Kristen!

June 9, 2014 at 7:12 AM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

Well, the homeschool aspect definitely adds a wrench I don't have. I do, however, get up at 5AM five days a week to write. I leave the other random pockets here and there for the social media stuff, which I enjoy--I enjoy that part too much, which is why I have to be strict about the 5-7AM writing periods. I hardly write at all on the weekends or do anything other than family stuff.

June 9, 2014 at 7:14 AM  
Blogger Annie said...

I love Nina, and I love this post! Nina, I have no doubt you're inspiring many writers to trust their true instincts and embrace whatever type of writing it is that they feel called to do (as opposed to what they think they 'should' do). Thank you for sharing your story; it's very encouraging!

June 9, 2014 at 7:43 AM  
OpenID fornow said...

Thanks, Nina. Really enjoyed the post and I can relate. For me, the early feedback was you can't write, and yet looking back I wrote all the time. It just took awhile to find the right language. It's expressed itself in various forms.

I began a couple of blogs as a way to simplify the maintenance of my old web sites and took to it like a duck to water and was unexpectedly prolific.

At the same time, its been a platform for developing ideas for the ever-present "book" project, a non-fiction work that's rather on the front edge of research. 6 years later and it's still evolving. I've begun to question if this is the right approach, and here is your article...

I think short form for the pieces that are ready is a great idea. Blog articles and ebooks are well suited to the evolving marketplace as well.

June 9, 2014 at 11:56 AM  
Blogger Tamara Camera said...

I always knew I wanted to write, but I didn't know how. I used to think poetry or creative writing but it took until college to realize it wasn't write. I thought screenplay and movie script and that never worked either.
I think for real I'm into creative nonfiction. I took a magazine writing class and it has changed me.
Blogging has become my best vehicle for expressing myself. I may find other ways but I'm so grateful to have this.

June 9, 2014 at 5:19 PM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

Thanks so much for stopping by Anne's, Annie!

June 9, 2014 at 6:23 PM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

And since the market is always changing, focusing on what you enjoy is probably the best bet. No matter what form the project takes, as long as you're liking the writing (process and end product) then it's probably the right direction.

June 9, 2014 at 6:26 PM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

That's a great attitude to know what's working now, but stay open to other possibilities in the future. I'm there, too!

June 9, 2014 at 6:26 PM  
Blogger Claude Nougat said...

Nina, I really enjoyed your post - fascinating, thanks for sharing your journey. Actually, I suspect it's not that unusual, a lot of people think they are ready to do one thing in life only to discover that they are really fit to do another (I thought I'd be a painter and here I am, a writer!). But few people have the courage to self-analyze and realize what's really going on and then change their life path accordingly.

In fact. that juncture is where so many people give up: they experience failure but they don't draw the right conclusions, they don't try to travel down another road, more appropriate for their skills.

And fewer people share their journey the way you did, really that was very generous of you and I suspect very useful to many readers...

June 10, 2014 at 12:23 AM  
Blogger Julia Munroe Martin said...

It's so great to read about your path… and especially to come to this: "Perhaps I am not the writer I thought I would be when I started, but I am a writer. And I’m having a darn good time with it, too." I would say that for me that's probably the most important part of this post. Yours was one of the first blogs I ever started reading and it's one that draws me in again and again. Thank you for this path, Nina -- well chosen.

June 10, 2014 at 6:36 AM  
Blogger Jessica said...

I love that you have embraced who you are as a writer. You are such an inspiration. xoxo

June 10, 2014 at 7:30 AM  
Blogger Dana @ Kiss my List said...

I enjoyed reading your story, Nina. It's so interesting to learn how many different ways bloggers end up where they are. Sometimes I feel like the only one out there who has no interest in writing a book, so I appreciate hearing about other paths to being a writer.

June 10, 2014 at 8:17 AM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

Thank you for this, Claude! I think you're right that many people will take those moments of failure and give up completely rather than tweak the path a bit. Glad you found your niche, too!

June 10, 2014 at 8:38 AM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

Thank you, Julia! We have both come a long way and learned a lot in the past 3.5 years. Hard to believe how much!

June 10, 2014 at 8:38 AM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

Thank you, Jessica!

June 10, 2014 at 8:39 AM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

Well, the good news for people like you and me, Dana, is not that I'm not sure how many readers are out there truly interested in buying bloggers' books. So . . . we might be going in the right direction to be honest. ;)

June 10, 2014 at 8:39 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

This is a comment from Rosalind Minett, who somehow scrolled down to a post from a month ago to leave this comment:

"Loved Nina's article about her detour, although I gulped hard when she told the agent she didn't want to bother with her novel after all. Ouch, that hurt! But Anne, you have to scroll so far down to comment, rather than immediately after the element you're commenting on. Is this fixable? Or am I a thick Brit?"

As I explained in the other thread, Rosalind somehow scrolled through about 4 posts, which is why it seemed like such a long way. It was. When you get to the bottom of a post, you want to hit the link that says "67 comments" or however many there are. That will open a new window where you can see all the comments and you do have to scroll to the bottom of that thread, which gets longer as the week wears on.

As far as turning down an agent who wants massive rewrites without promise of a contract, it's a decision I've faced myself. Many times agents want a complete rewrite of a book--often changing the genre and themes and eliminating major storylines. It can be a year's worth of work, with no guarantee of acceptance. I have turned down agents who asked me to do that too. To me, it meant I needed another agent, but I understand why Nina made her decision.

June 10, 2014 at 9:03 AM  
Blogger ryan field said...

I think what I really love most about this post is that you make it clear that you are a writer. A writer. Not an author. Someone who loves to write. I remember my freshman year in college taking EN 101 and the professor told us she would teach us how to write on any topic...even the color blue. I couldn't even begin to imagine what she was talking about at the time. But she did teach us, and the final for that term was a paper on the color blue. My point is I think there's a huge difference between authors and writers. And I think of myself as a writer first and author second.

June 10, 2014 at 9:21 AM  
Blogger Jenny Hills said...

This was a very inspiring post. As someone who always wanted to write but felt overwhelmed at the prospect of writing a novel. Blogging is current,y the best option for me and I love it. I can practice my craft daily and know that I'm going somewhere. I also love the interaction. Someday I hope to write a piece of fiction but for now I'm just enjoying the ride.

June 10, 2014 at 9:27 AM  
OpenID cynthiarobertson said...

Thanks for having Nina as a guest. She's a wonderful, funny writer and I've enjoyed watching her blossom for several years. Inspiring Nina!

June 10, 2014 at 11:31 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Cynthia--I agree. I was really jazzed when Nina agreed to guest. I know she has a busy schedule, and unlike a lot of us, she usually gets paid to write nonfiction. :-)

June 10, 2014 at 12:26 PM  
Blogger Melodie Campbell said...

Brilliant! Got to say...after 100 comedy credits and 40 short stories published, I put off writing a novel because they might force me to write a second one. It took me 20 years to finally write that novel, and I will never be the Can-Lit Queen. It HAS to be fun to write. And that means writing comedy, for me. Wish I had read this years ago, Nina. It would have saved some angst.

June 10, 2014 at 2:40 PM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

Awww, thanks to both of your those very kind words!

June 10, 2014 at 4:39 PM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

I get that gulp. From the brief mention I made of it here, it sounds like I was close to getting signed. That was not the case. We were talking MAJOR revisions, and I truly did not like the book she was suggesting or the one I had. When I think of that book out in the world with my name on it . . . SHUDDER . . . I'm just glad it doesn't exist.

June 10, 2014 at 4:41 PM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

I love this comment! And what a cool assignment with the full circle aspect of it all. You know what, I had not thought of it before . . . but I never call myself an author. I'm happy with "writer." And it took years to even adopt that title.

June 10, 2014 at 4:42 PM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

I really enjoy that interaction, too. It's the best and hardest part of blogging . . . in terms of the immediacy of all. The only downside is accepting that many other forms of writing do not get that kind of reaction. When I publish a short story, for example, it's CRICKETS. Yet, it's so hard to get those published that I feel a different sort of satisfaction, I guess.

June 10, 2014 at 4:43 PM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

This was a great example of I'm talking about, Melodie! Thanks for sharing!

June 10, 2014 at 4:44 PM  
Blogger ryan field said...

Exactly :)

June 10, 2014 at 6:15 PM  
Blogger Vetri Vel said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

June 10, 2014 at 9:51 PM  
Blogger Welcome to the Zen Running Blog said...

Hi guys, Diann from Books+Body here. I tried to comment again with your warning against using Wordpress to comment, and somehow became logged in as the first blog I ever created. The blog existed for like a millisecond and was on Blogger (which you could not have paid me to remember), hence the name that will show up. (So speaking of journeys....)

Anyway, Nina, as you know all too well, I love hearing about your journey as a writer--in terms of the comments it always evokes from others (most people can relate to facing crossroads throughout their lives) and of course how it makes me confront my own situation. But I think most of all, I just admire how you allow yourself to change. I think that is really difficult. So glad I know you. (Even if only through online.)

And Anne, thank you for hosting Nina, so we get to see her tackle this subject from another angle and for having such a wonderful writing-focused blog. (Really loved the launch party post as well.)

June 11, 2014 at 11:19 AM  
OpenID deborahbrasket said...

Thanks Nina and Anne. I loved this. I've discovered that the posts I write for my blogs give me as much pleasure and satisfaction as my novel writing or writing short stories. In some ways, it's more gratifying, because I get immediate responses from my followers, many of them writers and artists. The "conversations" we have in the comment section fuel other blog posts. Blogging has become an end in itself, not a means to something else (like getting published) as I had originally assumed.

June 11, 2014 at 12:09 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

You have SO MANY COMMENTS here, I can't possibly read them all and I hate to be the one who says something that's been repeated dozens of times already.

So let me say this one thing (even if it parrots everyone else's comment):
You are right where you need to be.

And some of this could have been written by me.
(Although I'm still dragging around that novelist dream. For better or worse.)

June 11, 2014 at 12:55 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Guess that was two things.
No one said I was good at math.

June 11, 2014 at 12:55 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Hi Diann--I should probably give a special prize to people with WP IDs that Blogger won't take. Thanks for your persistence. I have no idea why that happens. It's okay with some WP IDs and not others. Mostly they want to force you to join Google Plus or get gmail so you have a Google ID, but they'll take any Google ID over WP, apparently, so your first blog must have been on Blogger, which is a Google company.

I think a lot of writers face Nina's "crossroads" but not all make a firm decision in such a positive way.

I'm glad you liked the piece about the launch party. I hope you'll come back often. (Now you've found an ID that Blogger likes. :-) )

June 11, 2014 at 1:32 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Deborah--So great to meet you last night! It's wonderful to hear how positive your experience has been with your blog. And you're right about that immediate response. It's what keeps me going, too. I LOVE my blog readers.

And yes, a whole lot of my posts come from conversations and suggestions in the comment section, too.

June 11, 2014 at 1:34 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Julie--Nina has really hit a nerve with a lot of writers. I've been amazed at the response. And yes, you can tell she made the right decision because of how positive and upbeat she is. You get that "zing" when you know you're on the right path.

June 11, 2014 at 1:36 PM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

Diann was essential to this post in the many writing journey related conversations we have had over email. I've been so great for her insights and her support!

June 12, 2014 at 7:12 PM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

Deborah, it's wonderful that you can enjoy all the different kinds of writing!

June 12, 2014 at 7:12 PM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

Bryan once said to me, "This is what it looks like when you're on the right path." And I was like, "But what is 'this?' Define this!" And he sort of waved his head to stand for all the things I'm doing and enjoying. The little wins here and there in new places (like posting for you, Anne) and the great communication with readers. I think he's right. Success can have a wide definition and it's different for each person.

June 12, 2014 at 7:14 PM  
Blogger Lady Jennie said...

Nina . . . you're making me wonder if I should still be forcing myself to write fiction. Sometimes it's exciting and fun, but a lot of times it feels forced, unlike my memoir felt. That one was work - tons of work - but it was always exciting and never felt forced. I didn't know it was okay to not . . . like fiction. I'm probably not making much sense and I'm just exploring the thoughts, not yet making a decision. hm.

June 13, 2014 at 8:55 AM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

You're making TOTAL sense!

June 15, 2014 at 8:27 PM  
OpenID pemadonyo said...

Loved this article. In this era, there's tons of opportunities for writers to pursue their passion. I've become a novelist and am pretty sure I'm going to keep pursuing this route, but I also love blogging. Blogging's much more effective at communicating with an audience - not to mention an audience so instantaneous. I'm definitely going to keep doing both (novel writing and blog writing). But I love reading about the journey of other writers and I loved yours! Different forms of writing work best for different people.

July 14, 2014 at 5:12 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Pemadonyo--I love blogging for that reason. The instant feedback is so great after years of living in a "writing cave". I think it helps balance out that isolation you can fall into as a novelist. Nina's journey is inspiring to me, too.

July 14, 2014 at 10:21 AM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

It really is hard to turn away from that instantaneous audience. I admit that's a big part of blogging's charm! Thanks for reading about my path here.

July 14, 2014 at 5:29 PM  

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