Monday, September 25, 2017

Move Beyond Bleeding on the Page

Within the writing community, I've often read, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” 

According to Ryan Holiday in his book, The Perennial Seller, this statement is attributed to Ernest Hemingway. Then Holiday continues saying, “This is a wonderful, seductive line as we consider sitting down at our proverbial typewriters. The problem is that it is preposterous and untrue.  It is directly contradicted by Hemingway's own meticulously edited, often handwritten manuscript pages. The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library has some forty-seven alternative endings for Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms. He rewrite the first part of the book, by his own count, more than fifty times. He wrote all of them, trying them like pieces of a puzzle until one finally fit.” (Page 37-38--and the italic emphasis is from Holiday)

From my study of writing, this aspect of the writing life is rarely discussed: there is hard work involved to practice the craft of storytelling and write something which sells well and continues selling year after year.  The successful writers continue to learn and grow in their craft—and also grow their audience or tribe or platform. You can pick your term because different people interchange these terms. The work of writing is way more than bleeding on the page.

As a writer, I encourage you to continue to grow in your craft and your skills. You need to be practicing your writing craft with continuing to work on longer work like books but also writing shorter articles for magazines and blogs and other places.  I've been publishing for many years but I continue to read a book about writing every month—and grow from reading those books.
In addition to studying about writing, I continue to try new programs and learn new skills. As I look at the various types of media that I have online, I have one area which is lacking—video.  I do not have a YouTube channel nor have I recorded many videos. 

Last week, I made some progress in this area. I've joined the faculty of the Serious Writer Academy. As a part of this faculty, I learned to record on video one of my writing workshops: Editors Read Book Proposals Not Manuscripts. Over the years, I've taught this workshop at numerous writers conferences—but it has never been recorded—until now. Just use the link in this paragraph and you can learn about the video and the cost details about accessing and taking this workshop. In the days ahead, I plan to record and launch additional workshops as a part of Serious Writer Academy.

As a writer, make sure you plan to attend a writer's conference. Follow this link to see a list of several conferences. Also make sure you check my speaking schedule and see where I'll be teaching in the weeks ahead. I'd love to meet with you face to face during one of these events.

If you want to keep up with what I'm learning, one of the best ways is to regularly read my posts on twitter. A second way would become an email subscriber to this blog on the Writing Life. Use this link. It has over 1400 entries and I add new entries every week.

As a conclusion to this article, I want to show you a short video about bestselling author Ann Patchett who also owns an independent bookstore. The video contains a lot of current information and insight about what is going on in the ever-changing world of publishing.

With my work for Morgan James Publishing, I'm working with authors to get them a book contract all the time. Sometime people will ask what I'm looking for. My answer is always “good stuff.” We publish many different types of books at Morgan James. I understand “good stuff” is subjective but I also know that I recognize quality work when I see it. When you are ready to pitch your book, reach out to me and let me know how I can help you. My work  contact information is on the bottom of the second page of this link.

In the comments below, let me know what active steps you are taking to move beyond bleeding on the page.


Writers need to do more than bleed on the page. Learn the details here.  (ClickToTweet)
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2 Comment:

At 7:21 AM, Blogger Miss Mollie's Musings Left a note...

I just started reading the Perennial Seller, reading those pages last night. It is clarifying many of my writing aspirations. Over six months at a new job, which required a lot of tech learning, I feel I have turned the corner with energy now to continue my writing goals. Thanks for posting this, as it is timely in my journey.

At 4:08 AM, Blogger Terry Whalin Left a note...


Well-done on reading The Perennial Seller and applying it to your own writing life. I believe writers at all levels need to carefully review and process this book. It's one of the best that I've read in many years. Thank you for letting me know how it is affecting you. Keep going.



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