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7 Reasons Writing a Book Makes You a Badass

Categories: Brian Klems' The Writer's Dig Tags: Brian Klems, online editor blog.
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I’ve always been a big nerd. To others it’s been clear for a long time, but I’ve only recently been able to admit it to myself. I mean, the signs were all there: I read a ton. I love playing Boggle. I get upset when others use “who” when they mean “whom.” I don’t own a pocket protector but it wouldn’t shock me if 10 years from now I had one … made out of leather … and embroidered with my initials.

But for one shining moment, one GLORIOUS MOMENT, when I finished writing my book, OH BOY, YOU’RE HAVING A GIRL: A Dad’s Survival Guide to Raising Daughters, I felt like a complete and utter badass. Here’s why.

1. Writing a book is hard.

If I had a nickel for every time I heard someone say, “I have an idea, I’m going to write a book about it” and then watch as they never did it, I’d have—well, I’m not sure exactly how many nickels I’d have because I’m terrible at math, but it’s safe to say I’d have a ton of them. Many people
don’t write a book because it’s extremely hard. Forcing yourself to sit down,
brainstorm, write, edit, rewrite, edit, cut, add, rewrite, workshop, rewrite
and rewrite some more until you’ve got somewhere between 50,000 and
100,000 words is grueling work. Most can’t do it. When you’re one of the
few who can, it really makes you feel good about yourself—an important
quality in a true badass.

Oh-Boy-Youre-Having-A-Girl2. Editing is painful.

All the effort and time put into writing a scene can all go for naught if it doesn’t mesh just right with your story. It doesn’t matter if it’s your favorite scene: If it’s not right for your book then it’s not right for your book—and has to be cut. Deleting your writing, especially words you’ve sacrificed so much to create, can be incredibly painful. But you do it in spite of the pain because, deep down, you’re tough as nails and you know your book will be better off for it.

3. Knowing when you are “finished” is impossible.

Is your Chapter 1 strong enough? Are you doing enough showing and not telling? Should your main character be walking or sauntering in this one particular scene? You’re on draft #17 and, after reading it again, you think an 18th draft may be necessary. (There’s one sentence in OH BOY that I rewrote every time I reread it!) Finished may be a definitive term when it comes to the end of a baseball game or a Broadway show, but it’s relative when it comes to writing. After all, in writing there’s no clear sign that your manuscript is perfect. At some point, every writer needs to take a leap of
faith and have confidence in his or her work. It’s not easy to do, which is
why it’s a form a badass-ery.

4. Cold-querying agents is scary.

Cold-querying agents is like knocking door-to-door in an unfamiliar neighborhood and trying to convince people that they should not only appreciate your haircut, but they should invest in your haircut. It takes a lot of guts to put yourself (and your manuscript, which you’ve been working on for who knows how long) out there for the world to judge. Not many people have the courage to do that, but badasses do. [Like this idea? Tweet it!]

5. Rejection is everywhere (and yet you still carry on).

Whether the rejection is from an agent, a publisher, a writing group critique partner, your inner critic, or a family member who doesn’t believe writing is a good use of your time, you still battle forward to accomplish your dream of completing a manuscript and having it published. Persistence and determination are necessary traits in a writer (as well as a badass).

6. Getting paid for your work is harder than ever.

We all daydream of seven-figure advances and splurging on something we’ve always wanted, like a fancy car. But the truth is a majority of advances are so small that they aren’t even enough to buy a used car whose heyday was nearly a decade ago. If you’re writing a book, you face difficult odds and little reward—and yet you press onward because writing is what you were born to do. Sounds like the same mantra of a superhero—and a superhero is just a badass in a costume.

7. Accomplishing a dream is rare—and awesome.

Many people try to write a book but only a few ever succeed. Whether it’s because they didn’t put it in time, make the difficult sacrifices, were too scared they weren’t good enough, gave up when the going got hard, etc., they didn’t do whatever they needed to do to make their goal a reality. If you’ve finished your manuscript (or are on your way to completing it), you’re part of a small, select group of people in this world who have. And anytime you’ve worked hard to accomplish a difficult-to-achieve dream, you are, without a doubt, a badass … and no one can ever take that away from you.

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37 Responses to 7 Reasons Writing a Book Makes You a Badass

  1. Chaosbender says:

    started writing may 2010, every day 30 minutes. fit for 3 years, writing straight every day 30 minutes. finished my first book 2011, release 2012 (ebook)… editing didnt kill me. the rejections almost killed me, so I published it for myself…

    there are often people who talk about writing as fun or hobby. I cant. Its brutal. I feel bad before writing, but worse, if I dont write. Its awesome to be exhausted because of the writing… spent my last vacations editing. I switched a month ago to 60 minutes a day after I get up every morning… Its great. Its like a 10 mile run every morning, for your mind and your body. Badass? maybe. I like the word. sadly, I am just someone who wants to become better and better…

    I like the book “The war of art” by S. Pressfield. I feel like a soldier on a neverending war with my laziness.

  2. lechytil says:

    Great pep-talk! I literally was just talking about this last night – “I miss being a badass.” This is exactly what I needed to read…

    Thank you :)

  3. Cheshta says:

    This article is mind-boggling one!! Its really really hard to start writing and its even more harder to get it going. The sleepless nights are painful. I’m experiencing it for first time as I’ve started to write a novel just a few days ago. I’m really inspired by this piece of writing, as my parents and friends keep on telling me that I’m not even graduate yet and that I’m diverting my mind from from the so-called studies! But I know I’m a badass and trust me, I love it !!!

  4. nahid13 says:

    Hi,
    I’m Bill Massis.
    When your goal is to be able to work online and earn a decent income, do not be afraid to make sacrifices to be able to work to wards and achieve this goal. If required go for a lesser salary job and do not worry about it. Just keep working towards your goal until you succeed.
    http://www.marketingvariety.com/

  5. randyj says:

    The moment I see your picture on the Writer’s Digest website, I turn on my printer. Yr. 7 reasons….is just another piece of advice that has encouraged me to go on when I entertain thought of quitting. Your info about writing query letters was priceless. I am going to get your book on my Nook anyway.

  6. Michael Leo Morrison says:

    This piece is proving to be a good lesson in dealing with rejection. My first two comments disappeared and were never posted. I can handle rejection, but you might at least provide one of those generic refusals.

    Have a nice day.

    Michael Leo Morrison
    Undeadly Spring
    Alas Sisyphus

  7. Karen Clayton says:

    Writing a book is a huge accomplishment! Having the book published is also a big milestone – whether it is traditional published or self published. Kudos to anyone to make it that far. Writing is fun, but also hard work. Those who stick with it should be proud of themselves!

    My 13-year-old son and I co-authored our own middle grade novel, Mason Davis and the Rise of the Storm Makers (Amazon). The whole process was grueling. Writing the book was easy, but revisions hurt. Then came the query stage – that really hurt. Publishing the book wasn’t nearly so painful, but still took work. Who knew? Next phase is promoting and that takes work!

    It is amazing that a writer can put down words, reshape them until they shine, and then find people to love the words as much as the writer. So, yes, no matter what stage you find yourself in, you, as a writer, are something special. Keep up the good work guys.

  8. Thank you for this awesome and inspiring article, which I will be printing and posting next to my computer as a daily reminder! :)

  9. navah74 says:

    Right before reading this I was bordering on dispair, feeling in limbo and wondering if I should go on, with the writing, of course. Your article really gave me the boost I so needed. Thank you.

  10. I have to agree, except for the inquiries and publishing. In today’s world it is virtually impossible to get a first book published and that is why self-publishing has become so popular. Self publishing is helping to put the decision of what is a good book in the hands of the readers.

    To be fair, I would add that marketing your book yourself makes you a bad ass. It is hard and takes time away from your next book, but it is gratifying as well.

  11. blondemom1400 says:

    Very inspiring & I totally agree with every point. Can I have a copy of your book?

  12. elynn627 says:

    I loved this article. I struggle with my writing after I have written a piece. Sometimes I just want to chuck it. But now I realize that I am a Badass this is what I was born to do! Totally inspiring!
    By day I am the founder and CEO of a volunteer organization for individuals who have brothers and sisters with disabilities. By night I am writer extraordinaire.

    Lynne Mack
    Pennsylvania Sibling Support Network

    http://Www.passn.org.

    check out my ebook Tattooz on Amazon.

  13. Nicky Moxey says:

    Oh yeah! I is a badass :D

    Thanks, Brian – I needed that :)

  14. After reading this I do believe I’ll buy me a Harley-Davidson jacket and some cowboy boots. Funny, real, and totally inspiring post.

  15. CAMIRIA says:

    That is so motivating,am writing my fiction book and actully polishing it.I didn’t have a computer when i wrote the first draft.Now that i have one am typing it as i do the polishing.You have given me a life long coaching.Thank you.

  16. deedeemcd says:

    Dang. Wish I’d read this before I went to book club where I chickened out and did not show other club members my two self-published books. Just wasn’t feeling particularly bad-assed. But after reading your assessment, I agree. Bad-assed indeed! I’ll keep this one on file for future encouragement!

  17. Jeanne Meeks says:

    I’m a Bad Ass !!! Never thought I’d see the day. Great article, Brian.

  18. writermom116 says:

    I laughed outt loud at the notion of this plump, bespectacled, almost-60 grandmom being a badass, but after reading all seven points, I realized that, yes! I too am a badass! I self-published one book and finished (more or less!) two more. Wait until I tell my kids!
    Seriously, Brian, thanks for the encouragement!

  19. dsprain81gb says:

    Brian,

    I loved your article. The feeling of being able to conquer the world, cure cancer, or lead the way to world peace couldn’t be as fulfilling – well, maybe those would be just as good- as the day my book list as available. Anyway, I’m in process of submitting for the sequel and also submitted a proposal on a non-fiction I’m working on.

    Writers have to be some of the toughest folks alive, next to jockeys and Public Safety Telecommunicators. We’re used to rejection and abuse but we just don’t give up.

    By the way, I’ve been a Public Safety Telecommunicator for over 25 years so maybe it has been good training for a writer.

  20. Maralyn Waters says:

    Congratulations! I’m glad you have accomplished your dream. Thanks for the article. It encouraged me as my progress toward my goal has been slow. I hope your book is a success.

  21. va22morrison says:

    Mmm. I already knew I was a badass, but I’m so bad, the first comment I wrote never appeared.

    I already have four grandsons, so I’ll pass on a book on how to raise a girl.

    Also, I can’t find how to add a photo to my profile. It’s probably for the best. We badasses tend to make scary photos.

    Michael Leo Morrison

    Undeadly Spring
    Alas Sisyphus

  22. Danielle says:

    I’m going to print this out and post it on a wall in my writing room. It will be great inspiration for me when I attempt to at least start a rough draft of my first novel for NaNoWriMo. Thanks for writing this article and best of luck with your book!

  23. Tom Bentley says:

    Hi Brian, I had a recent post at Writer Unboxed where I explained that finishing a novel made me feel, well, tired. And needing tequila and cookies. But I like your interpretation better. Accomplishing a dream is rare, and should be savored. Bad-assedly.

  24. Vikt0ria says:

    Love the article….Does self publishing make you a badass too? I felt pretty badass when I self published my book….. Just seeing my name on Amazon.com was enough for me, but to actually receive a royalty check was over the top! And I look back now and STILL see sentences I would like to re-write! lol…. :)

  25. J Nielsen says:

    I’ll slap your back, if you slap mine! This article will bring a smile to and uplift so many who are in sore need of encouragement. I know I number myself among them! I am in the promotional phase of my recently published book, The Burying Man, and sometimes my hands hang down. Sometimes they feel like hundred pound weights. Thank you for lightening the load. Badass writers everywhere, unite!

  26. T.Wrage says:

    I enjoyed this article immensely, and it came at just the right time, you spoke volumes to me, and by the way you did it beautifully thanks. T.Wrage

  27. Amy Freeman says:

    LOVING this post. It is so true. Every last word. About six months into my latest novel my lovely brother in law asked, “So how far into the book are you?” I said, “About twenty five pages.” He laughed and said “I would have 300 pages written by now!” I tried to kill him but it didn’t go very well, so I said, “Anyone can write 300 pages of crap!”

  28. va22morrison says:

    I already knew I was a badass, so writing two novels just sets me above the other badasses.

    The way I know when I’m finished is, when the idea for The Big Finish comes to me, I go ahead and write it and have it out there as my end goal. This helps with focus and continuity and serves as a check on events and character development. It’s a lot easier to keep going if you already know where you’re going to end up.

    I wrote my books for myself, and I’m not going to make myself crazy trying to sell them. If I can get an agent to read them, especially the second one, maybe I’ll score, but I don’t consider that the mark of success.

    Success is, I finished two novels and self-edited and self-published them and they are way cool and I can hold them in my hands and know they are good work.

    Have a nice day.

  29. Will Lutwick says:

    Good badass points, Brian. However, you left out the promotional phase that comes after writing and publication. That can easily take more time and create as much stress and frustration as the other two phases. If you’re lucky enough to get published the traditional way, you’ll find out your publisher expects you to do most of your own marketing and promotion. And if you’re self-publishing, you will have to do all of it. This involves learning the equivalent of a new career overnight, so start planning well before the launch date.

    Will Lutwick
    Author of Dodging Machetes

    • Dear Brian: I think you summed it up perfect! it is hard and yet we do carry on…And I am sure Will Lutwick’s comments about promotion is a whole other story maybe you could touch on. Yet, despite it all we all seem to just keep slugging through it all. Thank you for your thoughts and good luck with your book. It looks delightful. jacqueline gillam fairchild

  30. Sherrytex says:

    I left a comment but it seems to have vaporized. I’ve finished my ms but now it seems like a beautiful Frankenstein, a hulking creature that perhaps never should have been created but that I love nonetheless.

  31. Sherrytex says:

    So if you have made it as far as the editing (line by line ugh) process…does that make you half a BA club member or is it more like you’ve run a half marathon. Yeah, you’re tough…but you’re not that tough….yet.

  32. Janet T says:

    Rockin’, freakin’, AWESOME article, Brian!
    The badassedness of we, the faithful, is so often overlooked. We are the sloggers. The buttcrack of dawn squinters. The pallid night-owls. We put butts in the seats and we roll on, when so many others quit to go enjoy fresh air and sunshine. (Which I think–I THINK– is that big yellow ball in the sky.)
    Kudos to you for giving it back!
    *righteous fist pump*

  33. havingfun says:

    This is SO great! I always wanted to be a badass, and now I am one..officially, because Brian said so!

    Seriously, these are really good points. I just finished (okay maybe not the “final” finished) my ms and I feel good about persevering, committing to get it done. NO..it isn’t always easy, but I love doing it.

    • Heck yes! (Also, it rarely ever feels like we have a “final” finished draft).

      Glad you enjoyed and welcome to the Badass Club! I hope this article inspires more and more writers to work on their manuscripts to join the club!

      Brian
      Online Editor

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