The Struggle All Writers Experience

2 Dec

003Thank goodness Thanksgiving is over.  I know, that sounds negative, but I thrive on routine, and Thanksgiving was anything but routine.  The food, the family, the trips to the grocery store, the seemingly endless visiting….and very little writing, which was almost painful for me.

So I’m ready to go. I hope you had a wonderful holiday.  Now let’s get back to normal.

One thing that did happen in the writing department over the weekend was a contact from an agent who requested my entire manuscript of Resurrecting Tobias.  I don’t have to tell you how big a step that is.  It rarely happens, so I’m cautiously optimistic.  She also asked for a month’s exclusive, meaning I won’t send the manuscript or even a query letter to another agent for a month….again, a good sign, and a deal I was more than willing to accept.  So cross your fingers, please, and send some good vibes out there.

Meanwhile, I’m working on the last chapter of my new novel, Shadows Kill, and will begin the first rewrite on Wednesday of this week….and I already wrote the prologue for my next novel, A Child Named Hope.

In other words, I’m staying busy.

How about you?  How is your writing journey progressing?  Let me know in your comment, please, because, well, I’m interested and I care.


Without a struggle, there can be no progress.

Frederick Douglass

I was reading a brief history of my favorite mystery writer, James Lee Burke.  In the mystery genre, this man is a god, and with good reason.  There is no such thing as “mailing one in” in his character.  Every novel he writes is exquisite, and he’s written a good number of them.

He is 78 years old now, and he really didn’t start writing seriously until he was forty-five.  I think he published a book after about four years of writing, then took four years to publish another.  He finally found critical acclaim for his work in 1988 at the age of, I believe, fifty-three.  Since then he has been prolific.

The point is this: Burke’s story is one that is similar for many other successful writers.  They struggled, just as we do, and those struggles forced them to work on their craft and become better writers.  I understand that, and I hope you do as well.

I have a five-year plan and I expect to be published by a traditional publishing firm after those five years.  I’m right on schedule, and I am confident, but I’m confident because I continue to do those things that are necessary to make me a better writer.  Like Burke, I refuse to “mail it in,” but rather I insist on my best work every time out. I’m not saying that out of ego. I’m saying it because I believe all writers should feel the same.


Sit down and write out a list of things you need to improve upon as a writer, then tape that list above your computer so you don’t forget them.


If you are an online writer writing for supplemental income, then you need to be thinking six months in advance.  With that in mind, today’s prompt is EASTER EGG HUNTS.


Say hello to Kim, known on HubPages as Klidstone1970.  You can find her here.  I find her to be a very good writer who so far has flown under the radar.  Let’s give her some recognition.


KinFolks has a poetry contest with a deadline of January 5th. Read about it here.


How would you like to win a residency in Glacier National Park?  Entries are now being accepted and will continue through the end of January.  Read about it here.


I will have a guest post on Thursday from Iris Draak.  You won’t want to miss it.  Until I return, have a great time writing, because if you aren’t enjoying the journey, then you should really consider some other hobby.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


25 Responses to “The Struggle All Writers Experience”

  1. Janine Huldie December 2, 2014 at 4:50 pm #

    Bill, I love how you were happy to celebrate but still missed writing. You definitely are a writer through and through! Don’t ever change and by the way the Easter prompt made me laugh, because my girls were already asking for new bikes for Easter. So definitely think writers and kids (at least mine) are on the same page. Happy Tuesday now 😉

    • Billybuc December 2, 2014 at 4:53 pm #

      New bikes for Easter? What happened to new bikes for Christmas? LOL Too funny, Janine. Those girls plan far ahead. Thank you and Happy Tuesday to you.

  2. Shauna L Bowling December 2, 2014 at 4:50 pm #

    Bill, this is awesome news! An agent asking for a full and tying your hands for a month sounds very promising. Way to go!

    I submitted a short story to a contest yesterday. I also submitted a short and a poem in November. Currently, I’m tweaking a story to submit to Chicken Soup For the Soul. Wish me luck!

    I’m well acquainted with Kim. I’m glad you’re featuring her in this post. She’s an awesome fiction writer.

    Looking forward to Iris’ guest post. I’m working with her on the 5-week series she’s offering on her blog. She’s amazing. I feel I can learn a lot from her about the business end of freelancing. I’ve already begun this week’s homework. I need to get it finished up before her new post on Friday.

    Things are really looking up for you, Bill. I’m so happy for you!

    • Billybuc December 2, 2014 at 4:54 pm #

      Listen to you, Sha, submitting work and working on your craft. That’s great news my friend, and you so deserve it. Thanks for sharing that and thanks for the kind words.

  3. ruchira December 2, 2014 at 5:27 pm #

    yeah! happy for you Bill.
    Will keep you in my prayers 🙂

    I agree…a routine is so important. I loved the thanksgiving day but after that was just a drag, and was wanting to get back to a routine. Happy that it was a Monday yesterday 🙂

    • Billybuc December 2, 2014 at 5:29 pm #

      I’m glad I’m not alone, Ruchira. I was feeling guilty about wanting to get back to writing. Thanks for making me feel so not alone.

  4. Jaye Denman December 2, 2014 at 6:51 pm #

    I’m delighted about the request for the RESURRECTING TOBIAS manuscript you received from an agent. Sending good vibes your way! Jaye

    • Billybuc December 2, 2014 at 7:20 pm #

      Thank you Jaye! I’m excited too. 🙂

  5. Denise Anderson December 2, 2014 at 7:26 pm #

    Congratulations! That is an awesome accomplishment! We appreciate you sharing the good news. It gives all of us hope!

    • Billybuc December 2, 2014 at 7:34 pm #

      Thank you Denise. It’s an important first step for sure.

  6. Karen December 2, 2014 at 8:43 pm #

    Wow Bill, that is fantastic news about the agent contacting you. Way to go. I am sure you will keep us informed as things move along. Congrats on even just this first step.

    • Billybuc December 2, 2014 at 9:00 pm #

      Thank you, Karen, and you can bet I’ll keep you all informed.

  7. Lea Tartanian December 2, 2014 at 8:58 pm #

    Bill I am ECSTATIC about that agent showing a great interest in Resurrecting Tobias! A million WOWS coming your way! I have been following your progression and you continue to amaze and inspire!
    You ask how our writing journey is progressing and to let you know because you DO truly care!
    I am still working on my book, my greatest problem is time. It is hard being a woman (but I have NO desire to be a man:)…There always seems to be something going on. I try to write every single morning, but not long enough, not like you, for sure…my MAJOR goal is to go to Barnes & Noble several times a week starting in January…I am cancelling all appointments for January and clearing the calendar…The one snafu is that my husband saw the doctor yesterday and has to have a surgical procedure a week from Friday, plus an abdominal aneurysm he has had since 2007 is now 4.75 cm …they are doing a CT scan…5 cm is the danger point, so he may need further surgery.
    Prayers appreciated…
    I long to finish my book, but my husband’s health is my priority…not to mention Christmas around the corner. I will have to get up even earlier to get writing done…which I do right after my morning walk…even 15 minutes a day is better than nothing…. lots of times I write notes on my i phone when in waiting rooms.
    That being said I am determined to finish the draft in 2015. NO PLANS. NO Appointments.
    Thanks for mentioning Kim, I will look her up. CONGRATULATIONS that Shadows Kill is almost done and DO keep me in mind if you need another reader, and thrilled you have written the prologue on your 3rd book about Hope. God love you and bless you always, dear motivator. Sparklea/Lea

    • Billybuc December 2, 2014 at 9:04 pm #

      Lea, if I could find about 100,000 followers like you, I could retire from m book sales. Seriously, you are a doll and I appreciate you greatly. Prayers are coming your way for your husband, and I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you can find the time to write more in the months to come. Thank you dear friend….prayers and blessings coming your way.


      • Lea Tartanian December 2, 2014 at 9:30 pm #


  8. pictimilitude December 2, 2014 at 11:51 pm #

    Big Bro, I’m working on my final presentation this evening, but I’m taking a bit of a break and sending cautiously optimistic congrats!
    Dang…I’m going to keep teaching, but I’m going back to my “second” job: writing. I so can’t wait. I have about 40 hub titles saved up that I want to work on and yes…I have all these novels in progress and want to work on them.
    I figure a master’s in any language will not only help with teaching, but holy crap…allll the writing. HAHAHA.
    But…such good reminders about writing here. I need to re-create my long-term plan…I got sort of de-railed when I realized that in order to do my day job and survive (yes, North Carolina is #51 in the nation for teacher pay…one of the reasons I was about to walk) I needed a master’s. But when I do some book-signings I think I’ll quit (again) HAHAHAHA.
    Hugs to you, BB. Can’t wait to get back to all this. It’s ALLLL I think about. 🙂

    • Billybuc December 3, 2014 at 12:52 am #

      Lil Sis, I look forward to the day when you are writing again. You are missed, but the work you are doing is important….51st in teacher pay…that’s hard to reach that level of indifference. 🙂 Hang in there, Cyndi, and we’ll see you when we see you.

  9. melissajane14 December 3, 2014 at 4:10 am #

    First, congratulations on the progress with your novel. Second, thanks for the info about your favorite mystery writer. I’ll admit that I’m unfamiliar with his work, but after such high praise from yourself, I’m happy to check out his work. It’s also very encouraging to know that he got a late start and it took him a while to get rolling. I’ve come to grips in the past several weeks with the fact that I’ll have to “baby step” my way into a writing career. It’s ok as long as I keep a forward momentum. I just finished jumping through a series of writing hoops for Writerbay (awaiting the outcome) and I’m submitting an article proposal about retiring in Thailand to a magazine. Best wishes, Melissa 🙂

    • Billybuc December 3, 2014 at 4:48 am #

      Melissa, I wish you luck with the proposal…that’s exciting and yes, baby steps my friend. We all take them. I don’t think a lot of writers today understand how long it takes, and how much dedication it takes, to making it as a writer. We have to pay our dues, and often in total obscurity…and then one day, hopefully, it pays off.

      Thank you!


      • Cygnet Brown December 3, 2014 at 3:17 pm #

        Hi Bill, long time, no communication from me! I have been without the internet at home since July 1. In September even my computer was out for a month! During that month, I focused on reading writing books. Writing can be addictive, you know? Anyway, since I spoke to you last, I finished the 2nd draft on my next novel A Coward’s Solace and finished the first draft of the novel Sailing Under the Black Flag for NaNoWriMo. my 6th win! I got internet just as I was ready to verify the book!

        Life has been a challenge in other ways as well. It seems as if nothing went the way I had planned it, but here I am again. That’s the great thing about knowing what I want out of life. When obstacles get in my path, I find a way to go around them, over them, or my dig under them and continue on my journey as an author..

      • Billybuc December 3, 2014 at 3:23 pm #

        Well I’m glad to see you my friend…welcome back, and hooray on those accomplishments. Well done. You have been busy even though out of touch, and I love that. It’s good to have you back…thanks for checking in with me.

  10. phoenix2327 December 8, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

    That’s wonderful news. An agent seeking you out; brilliant. I’m so happy for you. Not really surprised, though. I knew it was just a matter of time before someone, other than your devoted fans, recognized your talent. I think 2015 is going to be your year and you deserve it.

    • Billybuc December 8, 2014 at 4:13 pm #

      Thank you, Zulma. Much has to happen before this becomes a reality, but it is an important first step for sure. I appreciate your kind word, and I’m wishing for you a superb week.

  11. Dee December 14, 2014 at 11:51 pm #

    Hearing James Burke’s story is very encouraging for writers. Congratulations on your contact with an agent. Sounds like a wonderful opportunity is at hand.

    • Billybuc December 15, 2014 at 2:56 am #

      Thank you Dianna. I should hear this week, and I’m on pins and needles.

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