In response to Drew Chial’s article, I give you my two cents. This is just a little rambling of what it means to me to be a writer.

Gimme Some Truth. By Drew Chial. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and at his blog.

You’re a writer, so you need to have an established presence online. So you’ve reached out to others like yourself. You blog, you socialize, you set goals and have ambitions.

You wonder, just how hard am I supposed to push this PR thing? Will I ever actually have time to write my novel? Bingo. You just hit the nail on the head.

Here’s a thought… Be a person.

There are people in the world just like you, who want the same things you want. Reach out to them, surround yourself with those like minded individuals because they will help you to become who you want to be. Just spending time with them, whether it’s online or in person, will boost your happy level tremendously. One thing that I’ve learned about the writer community, there are a great many of us who want you to succeed just as much as we want to succeed. When you have a novel that needs reading, you may find yourself with friends who are happy and excited to read your book. They may even like it! You have to write it first, though. In the meantime, enjoy the company of folks like yourself. We’re all in the same boat, welcome aboard!

Write what you want to write, for no other reason than because it’s what you want to write.

Wrote yourself a handy little list? Awesome! Got a poem stuck in your head like a song on the radio? Write it down! You know what really burns my ass? A flame about three feet tall. You don’t think that’s funny? Tough, I do. I write stuff I like. It may not get many “hits”, but you can bet if I wrote it, I found it useful/touching/funny/etc. I don’t write to a specific audience, I write what I can. I write with the hope that people who will like my work, find it.

Share what you write because you’re proud of your accomplishments, no matter how small.

This time last year, I was thinking, maybe I could be a writer. Now, I am a writer, albeit an amateur. IAMA noob. That’s okay. I’ve made progress. I’m proud of that progress. We are all on a journey to becoming who we want to be. I happen to be enjoying who am today as well. Most of what I write is crap, but it has to be written. I have to pull out all the furniture to get to the carpet beneath. I’m gonna put all that shit right here, in this other room, for now. I’ll fix, dust and polish later. Right now, I need to get to the hardwood floors beneath it all. My novel is down there.

I’m ripping up the carpet. It’s coming up in pieces, chunks, in strips; poems, articles, flash fiction and even a few short stories at a time. That’s okay, I need those. All of them. They have a place. They are my sacrifice to the internet Gods. They have served their purpose. I liked each and every one of them. But they are not my children or my future. They are décor, now dated.

It’s hard work, getting to that novel, to the big Works in Progress. Sometimes I just don’t feel like doing it. Sometimes, I just want to take a damn break. Sometimes, I need a little incentive to motivate me. I like writing challenges. They keep me writing, even when I’m not writing what I should be. At the end of the day, I’m okay as long as I’m writing something.

I especially love writing things in a way they aren’t necessarily expected to be done. Try writing an entire story without using the definite article the. Try writing a story in sixty seconds with a single word prompt. The word is Senator. Go. Try writing a story in six minutes using a random prompt. Exhilarating, isn’t it? Don’t even get me started on my spreadsheets. Dear God, how I LOVE a good spreadsheet. It’s not for everybody, but it floats my boat.

In the end, I keep coming back to my novel. I’m not worried about who’s going to read it. That’s still years down the road, if I’m lucky. What I want now is to write it. I have planted a seed, the sprout has broken the surface of the soil. I know that it needs water and sunlight and fresh air every day to survive. It needs nurturing and time to thrive.

I want my novel, my love, my future, to be spectacular. That is going to take reading, writing, learning every day as well as editing and revisions galore over an unspecified period of time. In the meantime, I’m going to surround myself with writers, readers and all the wonderful, imaginative, intelligent people I can find. Those that I have found so far have made my life so full, I can’t imagine this journey without them. They are my coffee breaks, my bits of chocolate. My Twitter and Facebook chats are my treats for writing. They are my teachers, confidantes and, sometimes, even my muse.

The point? Yes, well, I’m sure I was making a point. Ah yes, the point is, write for you. You are a writer, as much as you are a man or woman. It’s a part of who you are. It’s a part of the person you are. Write, promote, socialize, but don’t limit yourself to an occupation. You are not an occupation. Writers are people, too. Enjoy the journey. Write on!

Published in Random Rambling


Jessica West (West1Jess) is pursuing a state of self-induced psychosis (reading, writing, editing). She lives in Acadiana with three daughters still young enough to think she’s cool and a husband who knows better but likes her anyway.

0 Comments for "IAMA Writer"

  • michaelalexanderchaney

    This is an inspiring post. So inspiring and so full of obvious creative energy that it brings to mind a sort of negative thought. It was Keats who said to would-be writers, “if it doesn’t come as easily as leaves to a tree then perhaps it ought not to come at all.” The writing seems to come so easily to you. For others who plaintively and petulantly ask you how you do it and how they can be more like you…. Maybe the butterfly should simply tell the inquiring worms to flap their wings. Some days I feel like a worm; others, watch my colorful wings flap!

    • Jessica West

      Thank you. I’m happy to hear that it has some inspirational value. To be honest, most days “it” doesn’t come easily. Most days, I have to dig down deep, grab it and pull it out, kicking and screaming all the way. Just so happens that I have a few writer friends that toss “it” my way from time to time. This is one of the things I love about the writer community, we inspire one another. When it seems that writing is too hard, remember that nothing worth having is easily gained. On those days when you’re feeling like a worm, remember what the wind feels like against those colorful wings. They may be folded for the moment, as you rest on a branch, but they’re always there. Write on!

      • michaelalexanderchaney

        Thank you for that. Amazing words, and an endless font of inspiration!

      • Jessica West

        You’re welcome. Thanks for stopping by. Come again anytime, Virgo Writer!

  • Amira K.

    Girl, this was an amazing post. Simple and ebullient, it strikes me as at once very true to who you are and very inspiring to others. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • Jessica West

      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m really glad to know it has some inspirational value.

  • Jessica S

    Ugh. This post is so poignant, it makes me want to cry. My blog is very much of an “expert posturing” type blog, because I don’t like putting myself out there for people to judge. It’s easy to hide behind, because clients are always telling me I should have an “Ask Jessica” column somewhere. So, instead, I try to cover as many topics as I’m getting asked about in a way that helps as many people as I can. As a result, I can easily take myself out of the whole equation. Unfortunately, I don’t know how best to reconcile myself with my blog’s identity and my own. They’re not entirely separate–I’m an advice-giver and the go-to person for all things “Oh my gosh! I don’t know what to do. Help me!” in my real-life (as opposed to online) social circle. Yet, I am envious of blogs that take out the business side of writing and marketing and enjoy the company of those not looking for advice, but solely a friendship. I suppose it’s all in the purpose of the blog. Since I am trying to slowly pull my business website over to my blog site, so I only have one site, it’s just becoming harder and harder to find ways to comingle their purposes.

    Okay… shutting up now. 😉

  • Jessica West


    I think one of the best ways to give advice is to try to do so from an objective standpoint so that you can reach a broader audience, effectively helping as many people as you can. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the way you’re doing things. I love the way you have your blog set up. I have it bookmarked and ready to read! Looks like you have quite a few things there I’ll be checking into.

    My blog acts as a sort of writer’s diary for me. That’s why so many posts you see are kinda crappy. 🙂 I’m putting nearly EVERYTHING I write out there. I have seven stories that I’m working on that aren’t getting posted. When (not if) I publish those, I plan to redesign my blog. I think I’ll leave this post, though. It will serve to remind me of the early days of my journey. I like to read over things I’ve written in the past, I gain a unique perspective when I do.

    As for my voice, all the writing that I’m doing, good or bad, is practice. I’m still finding my voice. Some days I hear myself loud and clear, like on the day I wrote this. Others, not so much. I think the main problem is that I have so many different voices. I have one voice that you see here, then another when I write erotica or romance. I have a different voice entirely when I’m writing for kids. Honestly, I’m still trying to understand what a writer’s voice is. The best way for me to do that is to keep writing. So I do.

    As for the friendships that I’ve found, those were totally unexpected. I feel so very blessed to have “met” all these wonderful people. They make even my bad days better. I’m the kind of person who needs human interactions. For all my confidence and self-motivation, I’m still just a writer, sitting at a keyboard, asking a reader to like me. 😉

    Ok, now I’m gonna make myself shut up. 😀 It was really nice to wake up to such a heartfelt response. Feel free to reach out any time; my door is always open.

    – Jess


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