Day Twenty Seven (Comment to this post to enter today’s drawing)

Welcome to day twenty-seven of the Writer Mama Back-to-School Giveaway. Today’s giveaway is another double-header. You could win Page After Page & Chapter After Chapter by Heather Sellers.

Page After Page
Discover the Confidence and Passion You Need to Start Writing and Keep Writing (No Matter What!)
by Heather Sellers
Writer’s Digest Books, 2004
ISBN: 978-158297-312-8
$19.99 hardcover, 240 pages

About the Book
False starts. Self-doubt. Mind games. They end the moment you pick up this book. With an inspiring mix of humor, wisdom, and

creativity, Page After Page shows you how to find the courage and commitment to start writing and keep writing.

Author Heather Sellers draws on twenty years of teaching and personal writing experience to provide lively anecdotes and exercises to help you develop a mindset and lifestyle conducive to daily creation. As each chapter takes you deeper into the eccentric, exclusive world known only to writers, you’ll learn how to build a productive creative life that keeps you writing page after page, day after day.

Chapter After Chapter
Discover the Dedication and Focus You Need to Write the Book of Your Dreams
by Heather Sellers
Writer’s Digest Books, 2006
ISBN: 978-158297-425-5
$19.99 hardcover, 256 pages
About the Book
Writing a book requires a focus, a sense of knowing and trusting in yourself and your work. And it requires an unflinching commitment to staying the course. Chapter After Chapter shows you how to build on your good writing habits, accrue and recognize tiny successes, and turn your dedication to the craft into the book you always knew you could write if you could just stay with it.

Heather Sellers, author of Page After Page, draws on her firsthand experience as a novelist, poet, memoirist, and children’s book author to help you prepare for whatever roadblocks you might encounter while writing the book of your dreams. You’ll discover how to celebrate the momentum of slow and steady, stay in love with your book project through soggy middles and long revisions, and embrace the nakedness that is creative expression.

And you’ll realize you’ve got exactly what it takes write your book!

About the Author
Heather Sellers is a professor of English at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, where she teaches creative writing and writes every day. She has just completed a memoir, Face First, and a new textbook for the college classroom, The Practice of Creative Writing. Her fiction and poetry appear regularly in journals and anthologies. She enjoys public speaking, triathlons, cooking, kids, and growing Japanese vegetables. Her Web site is www.heathersellers.com.

***

Today’s question:

Confidence and passion. Dedication and focus. Can you tell us about you and any or all of these qualities, as it or they relate to your writing? We’re all ears!

If this is your first post in the giveaway, please read “Da Rules.”

You may post your comments until midnight PST on September 27th.

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26 Responses to “Day Twenty Seven (Comment to this post to enter today’s drawing)”


  1. 1 Laura September 27, 2008 at 4:36 am

    I have the passion for writing. Sometimes, this passion shows up at the wrong times however. I was at work, my paying day job, working away at my computer, when an idea for a potential personal essay came to mind. It burned there, insisting on being let out. Unable to focus on my job, I had to take 10 minutes and write an email that was the beginnings of that article.

    The dedication, confidence and focus are all areas I need to work on. I don’t yet have the dedication of a daily writing time. I do manage a 2-hour session every Monday, but the rest of the week is hit or miss. When I am working, I my focus wavers sometimes. And confidence, well, if I had the dedication and focus, I think I could gain confidence in my writing.

  2. 2 Chris Clark September 27, 2008 at 5:22 am

    I think I have pretty good writing confidence. I worked first as a newspaper reporter so I got used to writing all the time and seeing myself published. Then, I wrote for a magazine our paper published on the side. And then I pitched some smaller, local magazines and got published in those. The first time I got a rejection I was really surprised!
    At the moment I’m relatively dedicated (for me at least). I have the opportunity to work from home and I am trying to make the most of it. It’s very motivationg and has kept me working.
    Sometimes I’m focused and sometimes I’m not. I think that’s one of the hazards of working from home. Some days I ignore everything else and work, other days, there are just too many other things that need to be done.
    As far as passion… I took my first writing class in second grade. I haven’t stopped wanting to write since then (I’m almost 32). I switched from a full time teaching career to a stay at home writing career. I love what I do. I have to write, so, why not get paid for it? 🙂

  3. 3 rowena September 27, 2008 at 6:41 am

    I tried to write my first novel 23 years ago, when I was 15, and ever since then I’ve known that I wanted to be a writer. I have taken many steps over the course of the last 23 years, and they haven’t always been the obvious choice.

    But I aimed my bow and let my arrow fly, and despite the detours and twists in the path, I believe that arrow is flying true. Dedication, passion and focus are my tools. I use them to help build my confidence, which is still not quite steady, when it comes to getting out there.

  4. 4 Hi Kooky September 27, 2008 at 7:44 am

    Greetings!

    Here we go –

    Confidence: I’m not new to writing, but I’m new to “taking it seriously”. I’m learning to go forward despite my lack of experience. I have confidence in what’s to come.

    Passion: It’s taken me a long time to understand that writing is a passion of mine. I used to think it was just a silly diversion that distracted me from the real responsibilities of life. Boy, was I wrong.

    Dedication is my vehicle. Without it I go nowhere.

    I lacked focus for a long time. I’ve learned to reign in my wandering curiosity and stick to the plan. I understand the power of Focus. If Dedication is my vehicle, Focus is the fuel.

    Now I’m just curious to see where I’ll go in my little writer car…

  5. 5 Judy September 27, 2008 at 9:54 am

    Passion and Dedication: I have them, to the point that I find myself putting other things on hold. I get very wrapped up in and swept away in what I’m in the process of writing. I don’t like to stop until I “run out”. I’m learning to just write myself a “tickler” so that I can go back to that seed of the idea and expand on it later, when I don’t have anything else I have to be present for. The more I write, the more I love to write. I write every day. Something. It brings me balance.

    Focus has never been an issue. I sometimes wish I had less because I focus to the extent of exclusion.

    Confidence is lacking, but I hope it will grow as I do – in my knowledge, abilities and successes.

    Kooky – I love your car analogy.

  6. 6 Erika September 27, 2008 at 10:33 am

    Passion – check.

    Dedication – check.

    Confidence – hmmm… Sometimes. I’ve been challenged lately with the idea of getting paid for writing and feeling a bit underexperienced. Am I doing this right? Will the client like it? What if the press release doesn’t lead to any press? Is that my fault or just the luck of the draw? Writing for myself is fine, but with a client actually paying me, I find my confidence ebbing at times. The answer… do the research, put in the work, and then just take the plunge. Little pep talks work too!

    Focus – aaaughh! That’s my biggest problem, but believe me, I’m working on it. Scheduled time away from distractions seems to be the key.

  7. 7 Cara September 27, 2008 at 11:04 am

    I’ve had a burning passion for writing all my life, but didn’t really take myself seriously as a writer because I thought of myself as a mathematician. Now I believe you can be more than one thing at a time. Only last week, when someone asked me if I work, I took a deep breath, held my head up and said proudly, “Yes, I’m a freelance writer, I work from home.”

    What gave me the confidence? I think it was seeing my first piece in print. I know I really shouldn’t need someone else to validate me, but it’s one thing for a daydreamer like me to build up a fantasy world in my head, and another when my writings actually see the light of day.

    As for dedication and focus, I grew up in a household where my parents had the highest expectations for us, and they taught us that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing well. It was better, they said, to aim for the stars and land on the fence, then aim for the fence and land in the mud. Or something like that.

  8. 8 Jennifer September 27, 2008 at 11:18 am

    For me at least, if I’m not passionate about what I’m writing about, the other three (focus, dedication, confidence) are in short supply. I think my writing starts with being passionate about a certain subject. From there my focus grows as I hone in on the heart of the matter. Once I can “see” what I want to write, the dedication kicks in until I get it all down on paper. Confidence comes from the finishing, when I’m lucky enough to get there.

  9. 9 Celestial Goldfish September 27, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Passionate? Yes. I love writing, I love seeing the words flow together to create something I can share with others.

    Dedicated? Yes. This has been my big improvement for this year. For a long time, I told myself, “I’m a writer,” but I didn’t write. I had to finally realize there’s no perfect time to do this, so I better start doing it now.

    Focus. I try to set goals and follow them, though I’ll admit I haven’t submitted to as many markets as I should. It’s easier to write than to submit. Need more focus to carry through.

    Confidence? Where? This is my biggest problem. I have difficulty in reaching out to others because I am terrified of how I’ll be judged. I’m not a self-promoter. I had a peer from a writing course point out my web site was great, but I was way, way too modest and self-critical – which pretty much sums up how I am offline, too. I don’t tell people I’m a writer, especially in person.

  10. 10 Jaymie September 27, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    When I write smaller things for familiar purposes, I feel confident – writing for the church newsletter, writing a prayer or announcement for Sunday service, or writing something for pay that I have done before. But beyond that, my confidence is low. Because of that, my focus is also low. Maybe part of my problem is that I need to whittle down my ideas to just the things I am most passionate about and let my passion drive my writing. Maybe then my focus and confidence would come into line.

  11. 11 elizaj September 27, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    I am passionate about words.

    Recently I wached “Notes on a Scandal” and I ended up taking notes (fairly typical of me) on some of the inner dialogue. Someone took their time with that script and it was gorgeous. I relish stuff like that.

    Of course I underline and dog-ear galore with my personal reading as well.

    Passionate about writing? Oh yes.. and no. I’m with Kate DiCamillo (successful author) who said “I hate writing, I love having written” she, incidentally was quoting Dorothy Parker. (successful author)
    So I am passionate about “having written” and give myself a 9/10.

    Confidence — up and down, up and down. I don’t think I am more than 5 or 6 /10 on average. : /

    Dedicated – 7/10

    Focus ………… Flatline. I need a set goal and I haven’t figured that one out yet.

  12. 12 Katrina September 27, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    Once upon a time, my fear of failure made me a procrastinator. At some point since I first pursued my writing career, my fear of failure has almost disappeared. Rejection makes me more determined, because writing is my passion. I know far too few people who love what they do for a living and I feel blessed to have found my passion. I will pursue this career with joy and dogged determination until I die.

  13. 13 Renee September 27, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    I think I definitely have confidence and passion. I’ve known I wanted to be a writer since I was at least five years old, and in college I headed straight for my dream by deciding to major in communications during my sophomore year while other classmates were trying to decide what they wanted to do with their lives. I headed for a safer, broader major after being told by my step-father that I shouldn’t expect to make it as a writer because there were “far too many” in the world for me to compete with. Humph. I eventually ignored him and found a wonderful home and friends at our campus newspaper for three years.

    After college I had to take jobs in advertising and public relations, but I credit the birth of my daughter (and eventually, my son) in helping me to regain my passion for what I truly loved. Now I am passionate and dedicated writer and editor, and I focus where it really counts — deadlines. I know I probably sound like a broken record in all my posts, but I’m working on sharpening my focus to help me be even more productive where it really counts.

  14. 14 Pam September 27, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    As a fairly new writer, I am building confidence with each acceptance and publication (3 so far). I have passion, most due to the constant inspiration in my life: Justin, my 5 year old son. Everything he does, good and bad, funny and sad, is a story in my mind. Or an article about why or what something is. My problem is getting these great thoughts out of my head, onto paper or a word document.
    My dedication is lacking due to many other responsibilities that I put ahead of writing. My focus is getting better thanks to my methods of getting other tasks done first. (I wrote about it on a previous comment)
    I am excited about this great Back to School Giveaway, I have been more motivated and dedicated to write everyday! Thanks!

  15. 15 writerinspired September 27, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    I think of all four elements as virtues. Gifts. They are piled high on some days (high confidence, tight focus, burning passion, unstoppable dedication.) That can be if I wrote something I’m truly excited about, the thought or even the weave of the words coming together.Some days one presents itself in a shinier package than others: dedication after multiple rejections in my inbox. Focus to continue tapping out mindless phrases and the confidence that they will make sense later.
    But passion. Passion is never a question. Always present, either bubbling over or simmering inside. Writing is who I am. That magnetic pull, no matter where my mind or heart is. To express a thought, a vision, or even a rant in hopes that it will resonate with someone else. Then the gifts start piling up again!

  16. 16 Stephanie Craig September 27, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    The passion to write has always been inside of me. When I was in college, I was told by my English professor, that I would never amount to anything. He told me that I belonged in prayer groups and I could never be successful in life. The sad part was that I believed him because I didn’t think very much of myself anyway. I gave up my dream. Now 10 years later, the passion is still inside of me and I am not going to let anybody kill my dream. This time I know who I am and I know that people will want to read what I write. And I am not going to stop writing because it needs to come out of me.

    So the passion was inside of me but it wasn’t enough. I just needed the dedication, confidence, and focus to make it work. And I will.

  17. 17 Meryl K. Evans September 27, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    I love sharing discovered knowledge with readers — hence, you won’t find me writing fiction. I always feel like a new kid in school when I start a new project with a new client. My confidence grows with each project and experience. Even if I do the same kind of work for a different client — I still have butterflies because every client has different expectations. I do my best to provide my experience and expertise, but ultimately — it’s about what the client wants even if it’s not going to work best.

  18. 18 Barry September 27, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    It’s not hard to muster the necessary passion, dedication, and focus when the freelancing often helps plug the gaps between day-job income and regular financial demands. It has very often been looming bills or approaching Christmases or birthdays that have provided more than enough “focus” to get me seated in front of my computer to cobble together yet another query, column, or book proposal. And having a check show up in the mail just as things are beginning to look dire, thanks to work done a couple of months earlier, has been a welcome experience many times over.

  19. 19 Julie P September 27, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    I’m a very confident writer, once my writing has been accepted. For example, in my blog writing, I rarely to question my leads, ideas and product. I’ve been writing online for several years. And now that I have an internet presence and following, its easy for me to write confidently.

    That confidence, however, has yet to transfer to formal queries and solicitations. I am passionate in my dream to freelance for magazines, newspapers, anthologies and other media. And I speak of these dreams passionately. However without the confidence to pitch, I’m lacking the final step–to be published beyond the internet.

    Somehow, I need to attain that final amount of confidence. Because, oh my, what pride I’ll have then.

  20. 20 Angie Goodloe September 27, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    For me writing is kinda like working out or going to the gym. If your away from it for a while it can be kinda hard to get into a regular routine. It always in the back of your mind however and you feel guilty for not doing it, you know if you did it on a more regular schedule you would feel so much better- and be in better shape!You may try to do a few leg lifts here and there or take a short walk- but its just not the same as keeping up with a regular routine.
    Because of life circumstances you have had to take time off- But when the time is right you are back into it again. Then the more you do it the more addicting (and easy) it becomes. You wonder why you did not do this all the time!

  21. 21 Jennifer September 27, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    Reading Stephanie’s entry above reminds me of an experience I too had with a professor of mine in graduate school. When I was expressing to him and a friend over lunch one day that I didn’t yet know my direction in life, he blurted out with exasperation, “Just pick something and do it!” Not one to think much of myself at the time anyway, I took his irritated tone to heart and, rather than take his rash advice, added another reason to the list that I couldn’t succeed. I thought I must be aimless if he saw me that way. This happened about 10 years ago. In the interim I have worked a nonprofit job and birthed two beautiful children, to whom I dedicate all my daylight hours. Now, I have finally “picked something” by starting to write–something I’ve wanted to do all along.

    I am grateful, and a little giddy, that I am finally acting on my passion for writing. But dedication and focus? I have a lot to learn in these areas. Now comes the hard work: carving out a working structure for myself and keeping at it.

  22. 22 Pattie September 27, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    Confidence and passion, dedication and focus. These are things I wish I had in spades, yet I don’t seem to be able to find when it comes to the writing life. I enjoy writing in general, but can’t seem to focus my passion in that general direction. I see my husband’s singular focus on whatever task in which he’s involved, and I envy that. I read the blogs of published writers, and I wonder how they stay focused long enough to write an entire novel. How is that possible? My life goes in so many directions, and I have so many interests and commitments, I just don’t seem to be able to dedicate my energies to a writing career. I really, really lack focus! Maybe I don’t need to win these books after all…

  23. 23 Deanna Godman September 27, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    Passion I have plenty of. Dedication, focus and confidence I seem to be lacking, though. I have been writing since I was young, and I love doing it. I have a hard time maintaining focus and dedication on a specific idea which I think has a lot to do with my confidence level. I read Page by Page twice, and I enjoy doing the activities. When I get to a point that I’m really excited by a project, I have a tendency to get scared and quit. I’m still trying to learn more about the business, and Writer Mama has really given me a different perspective. My dd is only 20 months, but I think I could have used this book on a confidence level years ago!

  24. 24 Mar Junge, c3PR September 27, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    Confidence comes with experience. The more you write, the better you get.

    Passion is an inherent trait in every artist, especially writers. Otherwise, why would we pour our hearts out on paper for all to read, critique and possibly reject?

    To be truly dedicated, you have to be willing to give up everything — family, fortune, friends – to master your craft. So my degree of dedication is relative.

    And as for focus, I can start writing at midnight and the next thing I know, there’s light coming through the blinds. I’ve been in front of my computer for six hours without getting up to get a drink or go to the bathroom. I was so transported into the world I created. I didn’t notice time slipping by. I consider myself very fortunate to be able to focus so completely.

  25. 25 Sarah K. September 27, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    I think it’s my passion for writing that keeps me moving forward towards a writing career. I love writing! When it comes to confidence, though, I am definitely lacking. If I had more confidence I would be submitting my work a lot more often (and also would not waste so much time on the numerous revisions that I do!) Focus…hmm…to be completely hones, I think I actually stay pretty focused most of the time. Dedication to writing is definitely not a problem for me; however, dedication to getting my writing published is. So basically to sum this all up, passion is what drives me forward and lack of confidence is what holds me back.


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