Thursday, March 16, 2017

It's Okay to Break The Rules

Today I'm giving away a free course. The Instant Author Kit.

It's all part of the official launch of the Writing Academy. You may see some ads about it on Facebook.

Please share this article wirh anyone you feel might be interested in this new course!

Anyway, this week's article is about changing writing rules when you feel the need!

Keep Writing

Rob Parnell
Your Success is My Concern
It's Okay to Break the Rules (Sometimes)
Academy Website
Recently I've changed the way I write fiction.

You know me. For years I've been saying the best way to get past novel writing blocks is to write your first draft quickly. Get the words and the story down first and worry about the editing later.

This process certainly works if you're having doubts about your ability to actually get a whole book written. The principle of letting go of your inner critic is valuable - especially if you're prone to blocks.

My last novel was around 90000 words, which I wrote very quickly.

After the initial draft I sat down and then plotted the whole thing - a mistake to be sure but my feeling is that you have to do whatever works for whatever piece you're working on. Different MSS often need a different approach so that you don't go stale sticking to own self imposed routines.

That's fine. Embrace change.

Sometimes an idea is so strong you just want to get started - as I did with my last novel. I loved the premise so much I managed to pump out the entire manuscript without formally plotting it.

Then, problem was, after the first draft - and the rethink of the plot, I had to rewrite the entire thing again!

Mainly to sort out issues to do with timing - it was a minute by minute thriller after all. But also I changed the order of some of the deaths - and slightly altered the perspective of the lead character.

So far so good.

But then it came to the editing. I did one run through. Just tightening up the prose until I was fairly happy with it - I thought!

Then I gave the manuscript to one of my assistants to read. She's nearer the age of the lead character and I wanted her feedback. She had some criticisms. Fair enough.

One more edit.

Then I thought I was ready to send it out.

I did and got a couple of rejections. Okay. Can't win them all.

Then I thought, what if I wanted to publish the book myself?

Good in theory - so I began the process.

I decided I'd need a stronger opening so wrote a new prologue.

Trouble was, I was so impressed with the writing in the new prologue, I realized I'd have to make the rest of the book as good!

So another edit ensued. This one took ages. I basically had to re-look at every line, every word, every paragraph and chapter - to make the manuscript as strong as it should be.

Maybe in the two years that it had taken to get the book finished, I had grown and changed. I started to feel like I was editing someone else's book. That I was no longer the person that had written the first draft.

Good, really. But it meant I had to do a lot more work at the end of the novel writing process that I would ever have envisaged at the beginning.

The consequence of all this unexpected work was that I decided I wasn't going to do this for the next one.

So, as I said at the beginning, I changed the way I write fiction.

Just slightly. I mean I'm still the same story teller. I can still see my voice in the writing. But now I've changed just one aspect.


Yes, I've slowed down.

Instead of writing my most recent book as fast and furiously as possible, I decided that a more considered pace was appropriate - at least for this story.

Basically I just don't want to spend so long editing this one - so I'm taking my time over which words I use to express myself during the first draft.

Why? Because I'm deliberately looking for all the things I usually want to edit out later.

Things like the overuse of adverbs, 'ing' words, the word 'it' and anything woolly sounding like 'just', 'felt', 'decided' and 'thought'.

The interesting thing is that if you try and avoid the woolly stuff the first time around, it seems to change your writing - almost fundamentally.

Passages of description suddenly become much more specific - and effective. And when you're forced to write without adverbs, you realize you have to change the way you say things in order to get the 'ly' word across without actually using it!

But the other thing that's really helped this new book is that I plotted the whole thing from beginning to end first - before I did any writing.

Just like all those bestseller writers I'm always telling you about, I wrote a very detailed outline of the story before I began.

Now that doesn't mean the novel slavishly follows the template. No, as you'd expect, new scenarios, even new characters seem to appear as I'm writing. But that's okay.

At least now I know that as I'm writing, the quality is fairly good. Not because it's literary or clever - far from it.

The purpose of clarity in writing, I believe, is to serve the reader.

And whatever technique you or I choose to employ is to that end.

I feel this time - in this latest novel - I have at last found the right balance between my own technique and its end purpose. That is, to entertain (and to sell a squillion copies of course!)

Plus, I'm enjoying the process.

Time will tell.

Fingers crossed.
The Easy Way to Write
Keep Writing!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Self Publicity - At What Cost?

It's one of the problems with writing: if you want people to buy your work, you need to let them know about it.

And you have to balance this issue with how marketing can seem a bit vulgar - even desperate - sometimes.

It's like the ads on TV.

We say we don't like them but we know that TV wouldn't exist without them.

Couldn't. Nor could magazines or newspapers - or, more especially these days, the Internet.

Sorry to burst your bubble on this but if you think the Net is in any way free, you're kidding yourself.

For a start, how much do you pay your service providers EVERY month?

And how exactly do you think Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon have survived for so long?

It sure ain't charity, Bub, I can tell you that much.

I know.

We'd like to think, as writers, we can be quiet, reserved, indeed anonymous - and people will somehow hear about us and buy our books - by word of mouth perhaps - or by luck or by using other people's promotional skills.

Alas those days are over - if they ever existed in the first place!

There are no talent scouts anymore. Nobody is going to take you away from all this and make you rich.

There are no literary agents or managers who have your best interests at heart.

They're all in it for the money. And 15% of your gross income is, after expenses, often more than 50% of your net income. So yes, your big shot New York agent may actually make more cash than you on your bestseller.

Fact is, being a published author doesn't pay anymore.

The latest reports show that, of the hundreds of authors signed to publishers in the last five years, only a handful have made over fifty thousand dollars. Most, 99%, made less than ten.

It's brighter for those self published on Amazon. 3640 authors made over one hundred thousand dollars last year.

For the first time in history, self published authors are making more money than their traditionally published peers.

On one proviso: the self published author MUST self publicize.

Indeed, even the Big Five publishers are as concerned about marketing as they are with publishing nowadays.

These days the marketing department is always bigger than the acquisitions department.

Writers need to have the capacity and the willingness to go out there and promote their own work.

Literary success, to put it bluntly, is now a competition of sorts - you just can't hide your light under a bushel any more if you want to be taken seriously by the public - or the writing industry.

There's no shame in being in people's faces.

Think about it. Why is it okay for Coca Cola and Nike to get in your face and come across as big corporate bullies - but somehow it's unseemly for writers to be anything less than demure?

When it comes to myself and my Academy for instance, the way I see it is that I'm not really promoting me - just my writing - which is not really me, the person, but me, the writer - two close but not entirely the same individuals. Does that make sense?

I'm shy as a person, afraid of criticism and easily hurt... but when I put together sales pages, project proposals, or movie treatments or anything I use to 'sell' my writing - I know I can seem super confident to the point of being almost 'brash'.

But that's not really me - it just helps my career. A lot.

I try to teach this aspect of writing to others - because I know it can help new writers get around this problem of having to seem self confident, worldly and wise in the ever more competitive marketplace that writing has become - when all you really want to do is sit at home and write.

I think I show that this can work. You can be both creative and open.

Like all those (apparently) insecure Hollywood actors who look good in the media but secretly crave solitude - they only do all the media stuff because it's what enables them to do what they love.

Celebrity, notoriety, call it what you will, goes with the territory.

Even as a writer, you need to connect with the marketplace.


To ignore the need to publicize yourself is to cut off your nose to spite your face.

In order to gain success, you need to get yourself - or at least your writing - out there, or you simply won't be able to afford to keep doing it!

It'a very modern dilemma.

And one that will continue to plague authors as the Internet envelopes our lives - and makes us all accountable to ourselves.

If my writing career has taught me anything it's that you simply can't rely on anyone but yourself (and your loving partner) to get you to where you want to go.

Other people will always let you down - or rip you off. Probably both.

Anyway, again I apologize for my apparent brashness sometimes - I'm really only trying to set a good example for you, my friend.

Thanks for letting me speak to you.
The Easy Way to Write
Keep Writing!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Secrets of a Freelance Writer

It's taken me a long time to get this right: 97 video lectures, 128 pdf downloads, 8 ebooks, 11 exercises and activity sheets to help you make a lot of money as a writer. I wanted to get this course perfect for you.

Secrets of a Freelance Writer. Thousands of dollar value. All just $27 - for this weekend only.

Keep Writing!

Rob Parnell
Secrets of a Freelance Writer

Do You Sincerely Want To Be Wealthy?

Take my hand and I guarantee you can change your life.
Simply become a freelance writer and take charge of your
total freedom, independence, and your new found riches.

I want to fill you in on what I’ve been doing recently, on how I’ve been trying to come up with something to help you succeed beyond your wildest dreams.

My latest course, Secrets of a Freelance Writer is really my magnum opus, my swansong – the most epic achievement of my life up to this point! Okay, all that might sound a bit dramatic until you see for yourself the vast scope of this course – and understand how valuable this instruction will be to your profit making ability in the future.

Yes, if you want to be a successful freelance writer, a bestselling author or a any kind of wealthy wordsmith, this is the course you’ve been waiting for!

The course is arranged in the order that best ensures you’re going to get rich from taking my advice! All you have to do is find the time to watch the videos and read the text and download the PDF extras (which include fresh market listings) and voila, everything is done for you. Your success is assured. Just add writing – but that’s the bit you like, right?

What’s In the Course?

Discover why I am the right teacher for you. Indeed, I may be the ONLY writing teacher out there who has actually made a good living from writing. Most teachers either live in dusty classrooms teaching theory, or are so called ‘gurus’ who have no real world experience and yet spout even more theory from behind a blog or a flashy website. Not me, I’m the real deal. I’ve been making a living from freelance writing for over 25 years, online and offline – so I know how it’s done, how it works, and how to make a shed-load of money doing it.

Let me show you the best attributes to develop to make your new career a certainty. Talk to me about your problems within the course and let me help you gain the right mindset, attitude, and motivation. I’ll be candid and assist you as much as is humanly possible. Plus, I’ll be upfront about the money you can make, which is sometimes a lot more than you’d think!

The key to making freelance writing work is to create multiple streams of income, so that you’re getting a constant flow of money coming in from all kinds of writing work: magazine articles, travel writing, ghosting writing, editing jobs, writing fiction and nonfiction, getting published by the trade AND/OR self publishing certain things. The trick is to diversify and not rely totally on just one form of income. I’ll explain fully how that is done effectively at the beginning of the course.

Many new writers don’t fully appreciate how to run a lucrative business. Basically writing for a living is a business too – and you need to approach it like one. In one crucial set of videos I explain how to plan and strategize your success and use priorities and measurement of your activities to maximize your earning potential. Plus tips on how to reduce your taxes and properly manage your finances.

Writing success is about managing your activities – daily – and responding to feedback. My course ensures you don’t get caught in a rut and that you respond quickly to the demands that writing for a living will engender. Included are downloadable activity sheets that will help you identify the best paying jobs.

More than any other freelance business, you are a product of your own destiny when it comes to writing. You decide on what you want. You decide what you want to do with your time. You are the master of your universe – and you reap the rewards of true independence. During the course I explain how your mindset is your best friend, your best asset, and your key to true success. It’s what is in your heart that matters – and I explain why.

After this master class in self management I then go on introduce the concept of Practical Cash Creation. This detailed module explains the reality of writing for a living and what it means, how it can impact your life and those around you, how making money changes your life – and your partner’s – all for the good. There are more downloadable income to activity schedules and spreadsheets in these modules to help you chart your progress and track your journey to success.

Finally we reach the actual meat and potatoes of the course – actual money making activities explained in detail: how actual cash is generated from a myriad of sources. The information in these videos will literally blow you away. Never in one place have so many secrets been laid bare, especially about an industry normally shrouded in secrecy. Now it’s no longer necessary for you to learn the hard way – all by yourself and over a long period of time (years!) because I have done all that FOR YOU. All the information you need is here. All the right tips and tactics that work are ALL HERE. Just for you.

Writing for Magazines is traditionally seen as the freelancers main income source and the subject receives its full attention from me. The fact is, magazine articles may only make up a small part of your overall income but everything you learn about pitching for work will help sharpen your freelance writing skills. In this series of lectures I help you with Sample Query letters, assistance choosing topics that can’t fail to have an editor salivating and a market listing to die for.

Non Fiction Writing is covered in a series of SEVEN videos that show you how to construct sure-fire submissions to publishers on all kinds of books: science, fashion, history, whatever you like. You see the thing is that you don’t have to write entire books to get paid to write them. Better to pitch nonfiction ideas to publishers FIRST and then let them commission you to write them. This is how true professionals work – and I show you the exact method by which you can compete and win with ease. Again I include an up to the minute listing of nonfiction publishers who are desperate for new book ideas from you.

Writing Genre Fiction for big money is the dream of almost all new authors. But how is this achieved? Look no further. Over EIGHT info packed videos and FOUR full-length e-books, I explain how to write effective romance, thrillers, fantasy, horror, science fiction and cross-genre fiction for the modern marketplace, whether you’re targeting traditional publishers or you want to self publish on Amazon. This module alone is worth far more than the super low price I’m asking for this extraordinary course. You won’t believe what you get!

Writing for Children is another favorite choice among new authors who sense there is much money to be made from spinning short tales for kids. It is true that the children’s market is huge and lucrative but, do you really have what it takes to be a winner in this field? This special SEVEN part lecture series will put you on the right track. Compiled with the help of a multi-published children’s author, this section alone is super valuable to any writer’s career. Includes great instruction on technique and comprehensive market listing of children’s book publishers

Writing for the Corporate World has always been a great fallback for me. If ever there’s a market that’s always hungry, it’s the business world. But many people misunderstand how most companies go about attracting freelance writers... because mostly they don’t. We writers often have to make the first move. This section gives you the foolproof strategy I have always used to get business work. It’s quick, easy, and costs nothing – but the pay is out of this world! Learn the one trick I present in this eye-popping SIX part section and you’ll always be wealthy!

Travel Writing – the dream ticket. What could be more exotic and glamorous? Writing travel articles is a bit like being James Bond without the gun! But what do travel magazines really want? What do travel book publishers need? In this wonderful new section I give you the facts. Everything you need to know about writing compelling articles, plus advice on how to get holiday gigs, and how best to do research on location and take photos that will become your way into the big time! Includes a complete list of travel writing publishers and high paying magazine markets.

Becoming a Ghost Writer is about getting it all: money without the hassle of being a touring author. Honestly, if you’re looking for sure-fire income, there is never a shortage of people looking for ghost writers. And it’s incredibly well paid. Your biggest hurdle is finding the right kind of clients, by which I mean the PAYING ones. Only one in ten ghost writing clients want to pay you – even though they will lie and tell you they’ll pay you later, which they often won’t. This section is all about using business skills to attract paying clients, how to construct ghost writing contracts and how to do a great job quickly AND get paid UPFRONT.

Getting Rich as a Copywriter is an ambition like no other. As we speak it is possible to spend up to $2000 on a copywriting course ALONE. But here, within Secrets of a Freelance Writer, over EIGHT packed lectures, you get every piece of information on copywriting you’ll ever need. Don’t waste your money on hack copywriters who have to sell their overpriced courses to make their mortgage payments. Find out everything you need to know from me, a freelancer – and a nice guy - who has used advanced copywriting skills to build a million dollar empire over the last decade and a half. Get in the know – and quickly!

Self Publishing Online is now a necessary skill for all new writers. You simply can’t survive as a credible author these days without having an online presence and a means by which to sell you own books. Many traditional authors are making the switch to digital author simply because the royalties publishers pay are too low. Amazon pays 70% to 90%. Traditional publisher pay 10%. It’s easy to see why the majority of new authors now CHOOSE self publishing over the long and often disappointing slog of getting an agent then a literary deal where you’ll end up barely able to pay the rent and bills. Learn how to self publish online like a professional and watch the money come rolling in! What are you waiting for?

Offline Self-Publishing too is still a valid way of making cash quickly – if you know how to do it properly. There are many pitfalls to vanity publishing and you don’t want to do that. But if you’re a teacher, a coach, or a speaker then publishing your own book in a limited POD run to can be earning money you would normally be leaving on the table. In this four part section, let me show you the best advice for self publishing offline in this digital age. Includes downloadable resources.

Grants and Funding for Writers. Did you know there are individuals, government departments, and corporations who regularly give money to authors, writers and poets? Getting grants and funding can be a useful tool to helping your bank balance and your kudos rating but many artists struggle over where and how to begin with this minefield of possibilities. This special section takes the mystery out of getting grants and applying for art funding.

Helping Other Writers is one major key to getting wealthy as an author. As the number of wordsmiths taking themselves seriously these days, the larger the market grows for people who need help, help only YOU can give. You may not have considered this as a market before. You may not have thought yourself good enough. No matter. This unique look at cash creation shows you, over TEN fact filled lectures exactly how to make a great living simply helping other writers to succeed. And it’s easy to attract the work and keep getting gigs for as long as you like!

Self Promotion is necessary but need not be hard. Many writers don’t want to promote themselves and then are overwhelmed by all the possibilities, many of which are a waste of time. Let me show you the best ways to promote yourself – the ones that work – so you can save time and get on with what really matters: the writing. Over this extraordinary FIVE part section – the likes of which you’ve never seen – I’ll give you the lowdown on promotion tactics that make money and make sure you benefit from your new career.

In the Conclusion, we look at maintaining a freelance career, which is all about combing self belief and proper business practice with writing. The fact is you don’t need to be the best writer in the world to make a living as an author, a copywriter, a ghost writer or even a magazine article writer. Your enthusiasm and your dedication will take you a lot further than your talent. Freelance Writing is a dream job where you are rich, independent and FREE. Come join me. Let me show you how it’s done!
The Easy Way to Write
Keep Writing!
The Easy Way to Write

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Key Ingredient in All Great Stories

Nice to see ya. To see ya, nice.

Finally moved to our new home in the country this week. Been packing and humping boxes and furniture for days and everything aches!

Which is why I'm a bit late getting my latest course up on The Writing Academy. Should be ready sometime next week.

It's a good one: Secrets of a Freelance Writer, a massive video course that contains every tip, tactic, and trick I've employed to make a great living over the last 25 years - being only a freelance writer.

Look out for that soon!

Keep Writing

Rob Parnell
Your Success is my Concern
The Key Ingredient in Great Stories
During some sleepless-night downtime recently, I was thinking about stories and what made them work, and what made them satisfying to read.

I mean, pretty much anyone can sit down and write - but it takes a little extra thought to write a story that other people will care about.

And I wondered what that was.

Was there a secret ingredient?

And, if so, is there one word that could sum up what makes a good story?

I believe there is.

It's not form or content. It's not characterization or plotting. It's not even talent.

I believe you can sum up what makes a story compelling in one word:


It's clear to anyone that studies short stories and novels, even autobiographies and other literary forms that good stories are made up of characters overcoming obstacles.

Without obstacles, there's no point in telling a character's story.

Without something to fight or yearn for, or dream about, the reader can't identify with and / or get involved in a hero's plight.

Think about it.

If you're introduced to a static character, you know that something is probably going to happen TO them.

But if you're introduced to a dynamic, thinking character with an agenda and something to overcome, you pretty much know that something is going to be done BY them.

And we like characters that take action or respond positively to adversity.

It's human nature.

Whether the characters are beset by natural disasters, personal tragedy or is simply being pursued by bad guys, we want the heroes to triumph, to survive...

Because I think survival, in whatever form, is at the heart of the human condition.

We are programmed, as a species, to carry on, to keep seeking wisdom, truth and enlightenment.

And unless you include these elements in your stories, you're not creating writing that readers will enjoy reading.

I remember having trouble writing when I was young.

I wrote, sometimes a lot, but I couldn't quite understand what was wrong with my writing.

It seemed unsatisfying.

I wrote about real people, fictional people, antiheroes mainly who were perceptive and challenged - but my stories never seemed to go anywhere - and when they did, left my readers cold.

But I realized after a while that my early attempts at writing weren't really ABOUT anything.

There was little for readers to enjoy because I hadn't grasped that readers want purpose and resolution to stories.

They want characters that are more than ordinary, more than real.

Simply observing and recording reality, then tinkering with it to make fictional stories isn't quite enough.

That's only half of the writer's job.

The other half requires that you show, through your insight, that there is a POINT to your tales.

That not only do they explore themes, you try to make sense of them too.

Readers, writers, every human wants to feel as though there is meaning out there.

And that, whatever happens to us, we will continue to grow, learn and gain wisdom.

Because a life with no meaning, no hope, no purpose, is no real life at all.

And to survive is not just to carry on living,

it is to overcome whatever life throws at us. To partake in the game...

...and win.

Keep Writing!

The Easy Way to Write
Keep Writing!
The Easy Way to Write

Thursday, February 16, 2017

What Makes a Pro Writer?

Already half way through February and our new year's resolutions are looking vague and somehow inappropriate for 2017. 

Funny how that works. You get all excited about new projects one minute and then the next, you wonder what it was that inspired you.  

It's all part of being a creative artist. You need to focus, make decisions based on moments of clear thinking, and follow through - whether motivated or not.

If you wait to be "in the right mood" before you start, you'll never get anything done!

Keep Writing!

Rob Parnell
What Makes a Pro Writer?

They say writing is more than a skill, a pastime, or a way of making a living. 

It is a vocation - like being a nurse or missionary. 

In order to commit yourself, and impress those that would read your work, you have to want to do it for nothing.

Indeed this is how many of us become writers - it's something we feel compelled to do, whether asked to, required to or not!

Certainly I've noticed that when you first start dealing with publishers, your enthusiasm, commitment and talent are of primary concern. Any talk of money too early in the process will see you ostracized very quickly.

You're supposed to want to write for yourself - for Art's sake - first.

I guess it's about trust. The people that would help us get our work seen - in other words, published - need to be sure that our motives are sincere. That we write for some purpose other than just to make money.


Robyn and I have discussed this aspect of the writer's dilemma many times - and we have a counter argument.

Writing is time consuming, hard work sometimes, and almost impossible to sustain a good living at for most writers - 97% make less than $10,000 a year according to the last survey I read.

It's clear that if writers don't get paid, they can't continue writing- at least not without considering poverty as a career choice.

Given the vast millions that publishers make, I've always thought that they should pay new writers to submit work - but of course that's never going to happen! There's simply too many would be writers who are willing to chance it based on nothing more than a vague possibility of success.

But This is To Your Advantage

Because for every one hundred writers that try and fail - either through discouragement, the apathy of publishers, or the sheer force of having to pay the rent - there's one, like you, that ain't givin' up!

But how do you sustain the momentum - the will and the courage to continue?

Easy. Get obsessed. Dream about your writing success. Fantasize about it every moment of every day. Create a compulsion within yourself that cannot be undermined.

Be insane. Be illogical. Be unrealistic!


Over the years I've noticed something very telling. The writers with the most talent don't always rise to the top. But the writers who don't stop and won't take no for an answer, and just keep going regardless of criticism and bad experiences, are the ones that make it - every time.

Reflection Strengthens Determination

Actively thinking about your writing is not just about trying to improve or responding positively to feedback, it's about organizing your thoughts and reactions to to what people say about your writing. You can take criticism well or badly. It can fire you up or destroy you. It's your choice.

I used to think I wasn't good enough to be a professional writer - and my lack of success reinforced that view.

But I had it all wrong. What I failed to understand at the time was that, if you just keep going, respond to feedback and keep plugging away at new projects, you become good enough over time.

Your technique improves. You begin to write more effectively and tell better stories. But none of that matters if you don't have the single minded drive to overcome the apparent obstacles to your success.

It's too easy to get discouraged. The system is designed for that to happen - to weed out those that are not determined.

Take heart, if you are fully committed, there are no obstacles that cannot be overcome, there are no barriers - real or imagined - that you cannot triumph over.

In the words of a very old cliche - and things become cliches, remember, usually because they're true:

"There is nothing you can't do once you set your mind to it."

So, this year -go for it!

Keep writing!
Creating Better Writers

The Easy Way to Write
Keep Writing!
The Easy Way to Write

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day Price Massacre

Everyone talks about Black Friday - but I thought, "There should be another crazy sale at this time of year!"

So here it is: 95% OFF everything until midnight tonight.

The St Valentine's Day Price Massacre: see below for prices as low as UNDER FIVE BUCKS for entire writing courses!

Keep Writing!

Rob Parnell
Your Success is My Concern
The Easy Way to Write
Keep Writing!
The Easy Way to Write

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Your Mother Should Know. Yeah, Right.

Welcome to this week's uncertain world.

I don't know about you but when I listen to the news, I think the world is becoming more like George Orwell's 1984 every minute.

This morning Trump said, "We will not allow intolerance."

Does anyone else hear the absurdity of that statement? It's Orwell's Doublespeak. 

Anyway, this newsletter is about improving your English, rather than corrupting it!

Write From The Start - From Inspiration to Publication and Beyond

Keep Writing,

Rob Parnell
Your Success is My Concern

"Getting paid for writing is a triumph of tenacity over intelligence."

I love this quote - it's one of my favorites - not least because it's one of my mother's.

Mommie dearest has always regarded writers as odd sorts.

The idea that we would spend a large portion of our day knocking out words for no obvious reward has always struck her as, in her word, silly.

A waste of time basically and not the sort of occupation for a sane person.

She may be right but that doesn't stop it from being a compulsion for me - and most other writers I know.

I remember once when she came to visit me - which only happens about once a decade.

I was at a particular low point. Can't remember why. I think I'd just lost my way after a deal fell through. One of those times, you know?

It was with great glee and insistence that she leaped on my misfortune and told me the situation was a God-given sign that I should give up all this arty stuff and settle down - get a proper job and be normal, as though that's a cure for everything.

That one time, I mistakenly thought she was on to something and I got a job as a purchasing manager for a big city investment firm.

God how I hated that place - although the experience of working 9 to 5 did teach me a lot about human nature - more especially the dark side of my own!

Three years, a broken marriage, and a nervous breakdown later, the City and I parted on bad terms and I vowed, "Never again." 

Like you do.

I shouldn't have listened to my mother but I did.

It wasn't her fault.

I guess she thought she knew best but didn't really get my total inability to work for other people.

As I say, not her fault. Mine entirely for not understanding that you really do have to follow your own instincts, even when they seem 'contrariwise'.

A decade later I was able to tell mom about some of my paid writing credits and the quote above erupted from her.

She meant it in a derogatory way, as mothers often do, in case you were wondering. Implying the intelligence that would have me 'settle down' was again being corrupted by my 'arty' side.   

So be it. At least now I'm happy... probably all the more for having hovered near the abyss of the rat race and backed away from its empty allure before too much toxic exposure.

Yes, you need for an almost blind faith in yourself as a writer. But a faith that is moderated by the feedback you get.

And I don't mean feedback on your writing.

I mean the experiences you encounter.

There are many sharks out there - not all of them evil.

Some just want you to work for nothing because you're there - and they think that's what writers on the Net do.

Working for free is okay sometimes - if it's going to lead somewhere.

Most times it doesn't. Especially online.

It takes a particular tenacity (that word again) to recognize good opportunities - and profit from them as a writer in a world that is set up to regard writers as odd arty types who will (too often) work very hard for nada.

For a long time, I've been preaching that real writing work - and the real money for it - is off-line but I know this is not what modern would-be authors want to hear.

They want to believe the hype they hear from certain writing gurus.

Especially now that the Net is such a big part of many writers' lives.

Many of us need to believe that the Net can help - and it can, wonderfully, IF you know what to do, how to use it, and when, and why - but never rely on it to provide for everything.

In the meantime, my best advice would be: "Don't take advice from your mother!"

She doesn't always know best.

The Easy Way to Write

Welcome to the official blog of the Easy Way to Write from Rob Parnell, updated weekly - sometimes more often!