Category Archives: Commentary

Peter DeHaan’s commentary about the art of craft of writing.

Five Types of Writers

Five Types of Writers

types of writer

Discover What Type of Writer You Are and Then Embrace It

There are different types of writers. They have different motivations, are at different places in their writing journey, and have different goals. Here’s how the different types of writers break down:

1. The Aspiring Writer

I’ve heard many people refer to themselves as aspiring writers. But they’re misusing that label. They say aspiring because at this point in their journey they lack the confidence to say they’re a writer, so they qualify it by tacking on aspiring. If this is you, I encourage you to take a deep breath, drop aspiring, and boldly say, “I am a writer.” It will take practice to say with confidence, but you can do it. You are a writer.

In truth, an aspiring writer is someone who doesn’t actually write; they merely aspire to write—someday. But they’ll never get around to it. Yes, they act as a writer. They read books on writing, go to writing conferences, and hang out with other writers. They talk a good game, but that’s all it is: talk.

They want to have written, but they don’t want to put in the hard work, to actually sit down and write. They aspire to write, and that’s where it ends.

Don’t be someone who aspires to write. Just write.

2. The Hobbyist Writer

Next, we have people who write for fun, write for therapy, or write for family and friends. They’re hobbyists. There’s nothing wrong with that.

So, if a hobbyist writer describes you, accept it. As a hobbyist, you may not publish much and certainly won’t make much money from your work, but you are writing. And that’s what’s important. Own that label, and celebrate it.

However, if you want to realize more from your writing, consider moving beyond the hobbyist phase.

3. The Passion Project Writer

Some writers have a book they must write. It’s a compulsion, a calling. They work hard to produce the best book they can. They self-publish it. Then they spend years promoting and marketing their book.

It’s their passion.

But it may be the only book they ever write. Or if they do write other books, these may fall short because the passion isn’t there. And it shows.

There’s nothing wrong with having a passion project. I know many people who write one book, and that’s it. That’s okay. But if you want more, consider the next two categories of writers.

4. The Artist Writer

I know many writers who view themselves as artists. They produce wonderful work and produce it with some degree of regularity. But they write when the muse hits, and they write when they have a deadline. However, if they don’t feel like writing, they don’t. They’re often discovery writers (pancers: they write by the seat of their pants). Writing speed and output frequency doesn’t matter. They’re artists, and that’s what they care about.

If you’re thinking of the phrase starving artist, that fits this category of writer. They may not make much from their art, and they certainly won’t earn enough to support themselves. That’s why the artist-writer needs another source of income. This could be a day job or a side hustle. It may be a spouse, an inheritance, or a generous patron.

5. The Career Author

The final category is a career author. Although their words may flow from many different motivations, they have one thing in common: writing is their job, and they strive to make money from it, either full-time or part-time.

They haven’t sold out. They’re just being intentional. They value the craft and may even view it as art. They also write with passion. But, in addition to that, they write with purpose. They want to share their words with others and earn money as they do. They have an entrepreneurial mindset. They are an authorpreneur.

A Final Thought about the Types of Writers

At various times in my writing journey, I have been each of these types of writers. Some of my stops have been brief, and others longer, but where I am now—and where I want to remain—is as a career author.

Right now, I make some of my income as an author, and my goal is to one day earn all my income through writing. But money is not my motivator; it’s the outcome. My desire is to share my words with others. As I often say, my goal is to “change the world one word at a time.” And making money from doing so is a sweet result.

Discover what type of writer you are and embrace it. Don’t let anyone tell you your path is wrong or inconsequential. Click To Tweet

Discover what type of writer you are and embrace it. Don’t let anyone tell you your path is wrong or inconsequential. You are a writer.

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

[Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of Publishing. Get you copy today.]

Quotes from Great Writers: Learn, Grow, and Write

Great writers can teach us about writing and inspire us to write with excellence

Here are some of my favorite quotes from great writers and other famous people:

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” -Flannery O’Connor

“The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.” -Muriel Rukeyser

“Having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card.” -Marc Brown

“A word has power in and of itself. It comes from nothing into sound and meaning; it gives origin to all things.” -N. Scott Momaday

“If the real world were a book, it would never find a publisher. Overlong, detailed to the point of distraction-and ultimately, without a major resolution.” -Jasper Fforde

“Never give up…No one knows what’s going to happen next.” -L. Frank Baum

“Not all those who wander are lost.” -J.R.R. Tolkien

“Humanity lives in its fiction.” -Blaise Cendrars

“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” -A.A. Milne

“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge, you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.” -Kurt Vonnegut

“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.” -Herman Melville

“A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What one can be, one must be.” -Abraham Maslow

“If they give you ruled paper, write the other way.” -Juan Ramon Jimenez

“One day I was speeding along at the typewriter, and my daughter—who was a child at the time—asked me, ‘Daddy, why are you writing so fast?’ And I replied, ‘Because I want to see how the story turns out!’” -Louis L’Amour

“Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged by policemen or one living in perfect freedom who has nothing more to say?” -Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” – Benjamin Franklin

I hope you enjoyed these quotes from great writers and other famous people. May these writing quotes inspire you to write with more joy and purpose.

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

[Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of Publishing. Get you copy today.]

UR Turn: Are You on Instagram?

Share photos and videos with friends on Instagram

UR Turn: are you on Instagram?

In past months we’ve talked about a lot of social media sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Goodreads, Google+, and Pinterest.  Another social media platform is Instagram, a place to share pictures and videos from your smartphone (and now computer).ur

As far as social media sites go, it’s still a kid, launched in 2010. (And bought by Facebook a couple of years later.)

It has a fresh, clean interface and is easy to use. It appeals to a younger demographic, with upwards of 800 million users worldwide. Many writers use Instagram to connect with their readers.

Are you on Instagram?

I am, but I’m a newbie. I post images and videos from my blog, along with book covers.

Maybe we can follow each other.

If you’re not on Instagram, check it out. Let’s follow each other on Instagram. Click To Tweet

Here’s my Instagram page.

Please share your Instagram link below. Then we can follow each other.

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

[Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of Publishing. Get you copy today.]

Quotes About Books and Reading

Check out these inspiring quotes about books and the value of reading

quotes about books

I recently shared some quotes about writing, and in the past, I’ve published two other posts with quotes about writing here and here. My favorite of all these is what the Bible says about writing. Here are some quotes about books.

Here are some related sayings, not about writing as much as quotes about books and the importance of reading.

“Someday you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” – C.S. Lewis

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” -Frederick Douglass

“I read a book one day and my whole life was changed. “ -Orhan Pamuk

“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” -Margaret Fuller

“I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library.” -Jorge Luis Borges

“When I discovered libraries, it was like having Christmas every day.” -Jean Fritz

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” -Saint Augustine of Hippo

“When you read a book, you hold another’s mind in your hands.” -James Burke

“A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.” -Italo Calvino

“A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition,” -Henry Miller

“How marvelous books are, crossing worlds and centuries, defeating ignorance and, finally, cruel time itself.” -Gore Vidal

“A childhood without books – that would be no childhood. That would be like being shut out from the enchanted place where you can go and find the rarest kind of joy.” -Astrid Lindgren

“Books are the mirrors of the soul.” -Virginia Woolf

“I kept always two books in my pocket, one to read, one to write in.” -Robert Louis Stevenson

“A writer is, after all, only half his book. The other half is the reader and from the reader, the writer learns.” -P.L. Travers

With these writing quotes in mind, let’s go find a good book to read.

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

[Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of Publishing. Get you copy today.]

UR Turn: Do You Post Videos on YouTube?

YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world

In past months we’ve talked about our presence on various social media sites.

Here’s my list: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Goodreads, and Google+. Let’s connect on your platform of choice.

UR Turn, Help me finish ths post by sharing...

There’s also YouTube.

People gravitate to video.

As a writer, I don’t so much like this interest in video, but I have written video scripts for some of my clients, and it’s a lot of fun.

As a consumer, I like videos. They pop up on Facebook and Twitter, where they seem to capture people’s attention over images and text. (Again, not good news for writers.)

I have a YouTube channel. It has 41 videos on it. And I have a whopping two subscribers. (Maybe you can be number three!) Most of the videos are for my blog posts, which my VA embeds into my posts on my blog. My VA also creates videos for me based on my text. She does a great job, so if you like them, it’s all because of her! YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. Are you on YouTube? Click To Tweet

I also have a book trailer video for my book 95 Tweets. This reminds me. I need to make a trailer for my new book, How Big Is Your Tent? and my upcoming book, Women of the Bible. I’ll put that on my to-do list.

Are you on YouTube? Do you post videos on YouTube? Do you have a YouTube Channel?

Please share in the comment section below.

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

[Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of Publishing. Get you copy today.]

Great Writing Quotes to Educate and Inform

We can find encouragement and instruction in reading great writing quotes

Two weeks ago I asked you to share your favorite quotes about writing.  Mine was “Omit needless words.” Here are some more great writing quotes.

Check out these quotes about writing.

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” -Toni Morrison

“If you don’t like someone’s story, write your own.” -Chinua Achebe

“Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I’d have the facts.” -Harper Lee

“You do have a story inside you; it lies articulate and waiting to be written—behind your silence and your suffering.” -Anne Rice

“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.” -Stephen King

“Writing is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as the headlights, but you make the whole trip that way.” -E. L. Doctorow

“Writing is the Latin of our times. The modern language of the people is video and sound.” -Lawrence Lessig

“Writing is thinking on paper.” -William Zinsser

“A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.” -William Faulkner

“If you write to impress it will always be bad, but if you write to express it will be good.” -Thornton Wilder

“You do have a story inside you; it lies articulate and waiting to be written—behind your silence and your suffering.” -Anne Rice

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” -Louis L’Amour

“Every writer I know has trouble writing,” -Joseph Heller

“A lot of people talk about writing. The secret is to write, not talk.” -Jackie Collins

“It is as easy to dream a book as it is hard to write one.” -Honore de Balzac, novelist

“Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.” -Stephen King

“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.” -Frank Herbert

“The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” -Gustave Flaubert

“Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.”Isaac Asimov

“Words were not given to man in order to conceal his thoughts.” -José Saramago

“I read hungrily and delightedly, and have realized since that you can’t write unless you read.” -William Trevor

“Puns are the highest form of literature.” -Alfred Hitchcock

And given that:

“To write with a broken pencil is pointless.” -unknown

“A backward poet writes inverse.” –unknown

Which one of these is your favorite? What would you add?

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

[Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of Publishing. Get you copy today.]

UR Turn: Favorite Writing Quotes

Quotes by writers about writing can teach, inspire and motivate us

UR Turn, Help me finish ths post by sharing...

Last month we asked the question, Who’s your favorite author? This month we’ll look at what writers say about writing. What are your favorite writing quotes?

My absolute favorite writing quote is the concise, exemplary advice to “Omit needless words.” It comes from the classic book The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White.

(For the record, I think I follow this wise advice in my own writing but not as much when working for a client. Sometimes I need to hit a word count goal and having a few needless words helps me get there faster. By the way, the best clients don’t insist on word count targets. They just tell me to cover the topic.)My favorite writing quote is to “Omit needless words.” What's your fav? Click To Tweet

Of course, there are many other quotes that likewise guide my writing and my work. In a few weeks, I’ll share some of my other favorite writing quotes. But until then, please share some of yours.

If you don’t know the source, that’s okay. And if you need to paraphrase, no worries. The main thing is to share what helps you, because I’m sure it will help others, too.

Now it’s your turn. What are some of your favorite writing quotes?

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

[Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of Publishing. Get you copy today.]

UR Turn: Who’s Your Favorite Author?

We love some authors so much, that we buy every book they publish

UR Turn, Help me finish ths post by sharing...

If you were to ask me who’s my favorite author, I’d shrug and say, “I don’t know.” However, that would be wrong. From my perspective, one author rises above all others: Robin Mellom. I’ve gushed about her in the past.

I bought her debut novel, Ditched, which she re-published as Perfect Kiss. It’s a young adult rom-com (romantic comedy). I loved it so much, that I’ve gone on to read every book she’s published—except for her most recent one, which is on my Christmas wish list. I continue to read her books, even though most of them are middle-grade fiction, which I typically don’t consider.

That covers my favorite fiction author. My favorite author: I’ll automatically buy her next book just because she wrote it. Click To Tweet

What about nonfiction? Though I’ve read multiple books from many nonfiction authors, none of them rises to the top to become a favorite. There are none of them who I’ll automatically buy their next book just because they wrote it. I’ll save that status for Robin.

That’s my story.

Now it’s your turn. Who’s your favorite author?

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

[Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of Publishing. Get you copy today.]

UR Turn: What’s the Most Encouraging Thing Anyone Has Ever Told You?

A simple word of encouragement can mean a lot to a writer

UR Turn, Help me finish ths post by sharing...

As a person who uses words to make a living, words have a great impact on me. The words of others have encouraged me—and discouraged me. Even the lack of words, the things left unsaid, can have a powerful effect—a negative effect.

The things others have told me about my writing have helped me move forward, as well as almost derailing me. But let’s talk about the positive. Some of those comments have stayed with me for years.

Once, when working on a joint proposal for myself and another consultant, he reviewed my work and gushed. “I thought I was a good wordsmith,” he said, “but you put me to shame.” His remark truly affirmed me.

Another time, someone who I respected was reading my work. After a few minutes, she paused and said, “Well, you certainly know how to write, so that’s not an issue.” That was all the impetus I needed to think I could begin to call myself a writer.Maybe we use our words wisely. Click To Tweet

I have also had times when other writers have reminded me of encouraging things I’ve said to them. This, too, shows me the power of words. May I always use mine wisely.

Now it’s your turn. What’s the most encouraging thing anyone has ever told you about your writing?

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

[Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of Publishing. Get you copy today.]

Is Following a Writing Model a Good Idea?

Though using a pattern to inform our books’ structure has merit, it may lead us to a troublesome end

Is Following a Writing Model a Good Idea?

There are multiple guides we can follow to properly structure the books we write. Perhaps the most common is the three-act structure, but there are many others as well.

There’s enough to make me dizzy, so I won’t start to list them. Besides, this post isn’t to promote these various models as much as to share my concern about them.

For example, I know that when watching a movie, I should expect a plot twist about three-fourths of the way into the show. The incident may be trivial, could have been telegraphed too much earlier in the movie, or come as an unexpected shock, but one thing is certain: I know that something is about to happen, so I brace for it.

Because I expect this plot twist to pop up, it seldom delights me. I know that this annoyance is just one more hurdle for the protagonist to jump over before I can enjoy the ending—and I better enjoy the ending.

This happens in books too, but because I’ve watched more movies than reading books, I’m more tuned in to it with movies.

While I think it’s important we know about these writing devices and be able to apply them when needed, I worry about slavishly following them.

Why is that?

Computers.

Computers and artificial intelligence.

It won’t be long before computers will write passible stories and even books. Click To Tweet

Even now computers can write. And it won’t be long before computers will write passible stories and even books. Just enter a couple of characters, a story arc, a conflict, and a few other key parameters. Press enter, and a finished story emerges, following an established writing model.

This technology will one day make most writers obsolete. And I think it will happen much sooner than most people expect.

What computers and AI software will have trouble emulating, however, is the truly creative writers who don’t follow the writing models that the computer programs follow. These writers—and I plan to be one of them—will still be in demand, because computers will struggle to produce a truly creative book that transcends its writing-model programming.

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

[Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of Publishing. Get you copy today.]