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13 June 2011 ·

Loving your writing

Young, and not so young new writers, often tell me that they’re determined to have a book published with their name on it.
Goals are great. We need goals – and getting published won’t happen without that determination.
But sometimes I worry that the drive to be published, to hold a book with your name on it, can start to overrule the drive to write a story you believe in. Let’s face it, being an author is a bizarre and uncertain way to make a living – probably slightly less reliable than professional gambling. The point of following it as a career is because you love the writing itself.
Because it’s the writing that’s fun: the losing yourself in a story; the getting to know your characters; the jigsaw-puzzle satisfaction of figuring out how the plot fits together; the pure joy of a new idea and the electrifying jolt of inspiration that starts it.
So keep your goal of getting published, but go on playing with your writing. Put the rejected story aside for a while; try a new one, or even try a different genre. You might be surprised at what turns out to suit you. You might discover a new insight into the way you work.
And you might have fun, and regain the love of what you do. 


  1. Tristan Bancks Bravo, Wendy. A great reminder. Sometimes all the logistics try to devour the pure joy of the spark, the thing that drew you toward this wild journey in the first place.
    June 14, 2011 at 12:05 pm · Reply
  2. Wendy Well said, Tristan! We're got to encourage young writers to enjoy the spark, not the devouring...
    June 14, 2011 at 12:06 pm · Reply
  3. christinebongers No truer word, Wendy. You have to love the actual writing. No other reason for writing can sustain you. Thanks for such a great post. :)
    June 14, 2011 at 12:08 pm · Reply
  4. Wendy Thanks Chris!
    June 14, 2011 at 12:09 pm · Reply
  5. Jill Blee Wonderful advice. It means you can still love the story you have written even if the publishers don't.
    June 14, 2011 at 6:08 pm · Reply
  6. Wendy Exactly! Publication can be a validation of what you hope for your story, but nothing can take away the joy of creating and living in it.
    June 14, 2011 at 6:09 pm · Reply
  7. Letter A great inspiration for young writers. Thank you.
    June 18, 2011 at 9:08 am · Reply
  8. Wendy Thank you! I'm glad you liked it.
    June 18, 2011 at 9:43 am · Reply
  9. Letter A great message for new writers . Thank you.
    June 25, 2011 at 3:53 pm · Reply
  10. Chris As a new writer myself i have many goals, whether i'll reach them or not remains to be seen but when i read posts like this i know i'll keep going and thats all that matters.Thankyou.
    August 29, 2011 at 8:35 am · Reply
  11. Wendy Orr And you're so much more likely to reach those goals whe n you feel that way! Glad it was helpful.
    August 29, 2011 at 8:36 am · Reply
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Wendy Orr is a Canadian-born Australian writer. Her books for children and adults have been published in 27 countries and won awards around the world. Nim’s Island and Nim at Sea have also become feature films, starring Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin (Nim’s Island) and Bindi Irwin (Return to Nim’s Island.) Her latest book is Cuckoo’s Flight, a companion to the highly acclaimed Bronze Age novels Dragonfly Song and Swallow’s Dance. Read full bio