The Twelve-Step Program for Writers

1114082_roma_ladderWriting has turned me a little manic lately, so I thought I’d indulge in some self-help.

1. We admitted we were powerless over writing – that our writing had become an unmanageable time suck.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity after failing to find an editor, an agent, a juicy book deal, a starred review in Publishers’ Weekly, intergalactic sales numbers. (choose your own obsession)

3. Made a decision to turn our career over to the whims of Fate, Luck, and the Amazon Algorithm.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of our writing skills and then hid in the closet with a bag of Oreos.

5. Admitted to our families, to ourselves, and to our critique group the exact nature of our writing wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to remove all these defects of characterization and plot (after some swearing and crying).

7. Humbly asked them to remove our shortcomings with the stroke of a red pen.

8. Made a list of all beta readers we had harmed with lousy stories, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such readers wherever possible, except when to do so would cause them to remember our awful prose.

10. Continued to take personal inventory of our writing skills, and when we sucked, promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through conferences and workshops to improve our industry connections.

12. Having had a creative awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other writers and tried to write another book again.


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