Welcome to Ron’s Tuesday’s Tip. Every Tuesday I will share a tip with you. This week is about: Successful Writing is not a Hobby.
Being an author
is both a journey and an adventure. Plus, it is always a challenge.
When reviewing your taxes the IRS views your business as a hobby if it doesn’t make a profit within 3 years. That strict rule should be regarded as simply wrong!
Writing is a
business whether you profit or not. I’m going to look at 3 very important
attributes of a successful writer. These are Writing is a Journey, Writing is
an Adventure, and Writing is a Challenge.
Writing is a
When I first
started writing I was a teenager. Nobody in my family or elsewhere knew of my
secret desire to be a writer. I was afraid they would mock me. But that is when
my journey began.
I knew nothing
about writing other than I wanted to write books, novels in particular. My
first step in my journey actually took place as a child. I liked to daydream
and I had a good imagination. I would adopt characters from television and I
would become that character, then I would fight the bad guys. I was a hero both
on Earth and in outer space. But transitioning to a teenager I started writing
my stories. The problem was that to continue as a hero, I had to write First
Person. But that made me uncomfortable, so I changed to Third Person. This was
the second step of my journey. This was an important step that has influence me
Over the years
my writing was interrupted by service in the Navy, but I resumed after I got
out. It was as a young man that I came across an ad for the Famous Writers
School. I applied and was accepted (the school accepted just about anyone). I
then paid for the course which I believe was a three-year course. I’ve sense
learned that there was much dishonesty on the school’s part and that their fee
was excessive. But I didn’t know that and started taking the course.
In any case, I
did well in the course and was getting more confident. Then in 1974 I was laid
off from work. I ended up dropping out and after resuming work I never reapplied.
But my journey continued. Whether my grades were honest or not, I believed them
to be and I pressed forward. This was my third step.
In 1973 I’d asked
Jesus to forgive me my sins and come into my heart. Over time this proved not
only life changing, but much of the trash (sin) in my life was not only
forgiven but purged from my life. This was my fourth step in my journey as a
writer, but more importantly it was an eternal step in my life. The influence
of this new life would become far greater than a mere step!
From 1973 to 2001 I pressed forward trying to
write. After dropping out of the Famous Writers School I continued trying to
write without any guidance. Time after time I would start writing. Sometimes I managed
to write several chapters, but inevitably I would run into a wall. That would
stop me cold!
Writing is an
continues to this day, but becoming a Christian turned it into an adventure. At
first, I tried writing poems. I had one notable success with that in that in
won my future wife’s heart. But writing poems was not my desire and I
I then took up
computer programming. I taught myself how to write Visual Basic programming and
was able to write short programs for work and for myself. But as the computer
programming got progressively more complicated and expensive. Being
self-trained I couldn’t make the transition to the more complicated codes coming
on scene. Thus, ended my brief career as a computer programmer. That had been
an adventure, but I was soon to begin what I consider the adventure of a
In 2001 I had been a Christian for 28 years. By this time I developed a morning devotions routine that included morning prayer and Bible study. One morning I was reading the Book of Genesis and the story of Noah and the Ark. Unlike the myth of Gilgamesh which was written after the fall of the Tower of Babel, the Bible story is a firsthand account probably written by Shem, the son of Noah, about 100 years or more before Gilgamesh . While often treated as a myth it is not.
As I read the account it suddenly came to me that here is a skeletal account of the events. God wasn’t interested in entertaining us but explain history in such a way as to point to the coming of Jesus. But I, being interested in writing a novel and a lover of history, realized that here was a plot filled with characters and that I had the opportunity to clothe the facts with fictionalized skin to bring the people and events alive! It changed my writing career.
The next phase
of my adventure involved research. Outside of the Bible there is no evidence
telling us how people lived before the Flood. But both the Bible and secular history
tells us a lot about after the Flood.
Using the Bible
as the primary source of information (it’s the only reliable source) I began digging.
It didn’t take long to realize that evolutionary theory has so corrupted our
understanding of history that secular history varies, is often contradictory,
and confusing. But when I focused on the 100 to 300 years after the Flood, I
began noticing facts, such as the fact that a highly developed civilization
existed shortly after the Flood. How do you explain that?
research proved to be hard, tiring, and eventually rewarding. It was an
adventure. Researching for your story is not always so rewarding, but it is
Writing is a
The story of my
researching the pre-Flood and post-Flood history could easily be placed here.
Research is a challenge. But my focus here is on getting published.
In 2003 I
submitted my first novel to AuthorHouse. As I recall it cost me about $400.
AuthorHouse belongs in the category of a self-publisher. As I have blogged in
the past there are three distinct types of publishers; Traditional, Self, and
At the time I
was unaware of Indie publishing (I believe it came along later). The term
Self-publishers suggests that you the author have control. You don’t. What it
means is you pay upfront for the publishing of your book. Basically, that is
the ‘self’ part. They control almost all of the power levers. Fortunately, I
did know this and opted out of their Editing resource. I used quotations from
the King James Version and feared they would opt for the unreliable newer
versions. Aside from that I had very little control over the publishing
process. Still my first novel got published and I was able to celebrate my
becoming an author!
In the summer of
2014 my wife, Teresa, and I founded T&R Independent Books and we became
Indie Publishers! This was the beginning of a new adventure and a lot of new
challenges. Since then I’ve republished all of my previous books and published
newer books. Soon we hope to start publishing Teresa’s books (under the name
Now, we are
embarking on another venture under the T&R Independent Books business. This
year we have opened our new service called TR Writing Services. I have
discussed this in my last Tuesday Tip: Indie Publishing. In short, we guide any
writer who wants our service through the various steps of getting published.
This involves editing spelling and grammar, proofing, setting up their account
with KDP, and getting the book published.
We are also
thinking about providing their own web page on our website. It would include
their photo, bio, book cover, and description with a link to their Amazon page.
This would provide them a first step in their marketing.
What is a Successful Writer?
There are many
answers to that question. The most common one is that a successful writer is
one who makes money. The IRS would certainly agree with that idea, but is
that really what success is all about?
That, in my opinion, is a short-sighted idea. Rather than money being the determinant factor why not the reading pleasure your book(s) bring to people who read your books?
A hobby suggests
something you do in your spare time and maybe only a couple of hours a week.
But a serious writer does far more than that!
No, I believe a
successful writer is an author who works the craft of writing virtually every
day. He/she invests time, energy, and money into their craft. And they write
compelling stories. Money is a desirable byproduct or outcome, not the sole
determinant of success.
For information on TR Writing Services (“we edit, proof, and publish
the book within you”) contact us at email@example.com.
We have a Free booklet telling you about our services. And we are upfront on
our prices (all are low).
VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am
always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was
(Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem
(Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), Task
Force Hunter (Book Three), Black Death (Book Four), or Rise of
I.C.E.S. (Book Five), I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an
appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email
make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy
(PDF or ePub).
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R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition he is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to email@example.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.