Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Twelve Steps of Writers Anonymous

This is something I wrote a few years ago, but it's worth repeating. I call it The Twelve Steps of Writers Anonymous. The steps, like the famous 12 step programs for Alcoholics Anonymous, are guidelines toward a goal.

In this case, the goal of the steps is to focus on the process and creativity of writing, and to set aside the worries, fears, concerns regarding the business of writing. In this crazy business, sometimes the only control we have is over the art of writing itself.

Oh, and a great book I recommend if you need inspiration about writing in general, is Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. I keep a copy on my desk at work.

The Twelve Steps of Writers Anonymous

1. We admitted we were powerless over publishing.

2. Came to believe that a force greater than ourselves, the publishers, editors, agents and the reading public, held the power.

3. Made a decision to turn our will over to the joy of writing for writing in itself as a pure creative expression of our inner selves.

4. Made a determination to write fearlessly without the restraints of the inner critic.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another fellow writer that this business truly sucks some days.

6. Gave ourselves the freedom of expressing ourselves through our writing, no matter how politically uncorrect or unmarketable the writing was.

7. Humbly acknowledged there will always be a writer better than us, more popular, with better sales, more contracts.

8. Acknowledged there will always be writers worse than us as well, and all we can do is become the best writer we are meant to be instead of comparing ourselves to others.

9. Resolved to read outside our comfort zone to expand our creative consciousness.

10. Continued to balance our writing with our personal lives and to treat other writers with the same respect we ourselves desire.

11. Sought the advice of more experienced writers, writing manuals and workshops to improve our writing, but while acknowledging these methods may not work for us and that’s okay.

12. Having had an awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to practice these principles each time we begin a new writing project.


Denise A. Agnew January 5, 2010 at 8:23 AM  

This is so awesome guys! I so needed to read this. Thank you! Passing it on to another friend who needs it.

Denise A. Agnew

Jennifer Ashley/ Allyson James / Ashley Gardner January 5, 2010 at 9:24 AM  

Fantastic post, Bonnie! We tend to forget a lot of this stuff and let the frustrations consume us. (Or at least, I do *g*).

Cindy Holby January 5, 2010 at 10:26 AM  

Thanks for the kick in the pants Bonnie. I really needed this today.

EmilyBryan January 5, 2010 at 10:37 AM  

Amen, sister, preach it. We are all recovering writers and need to be reminded that there are fellow sufferers out there!

Selena Robins January 5, 2010 at 4:53 PM  

I'm so glad my friend Denise Agnew sent this link to me, very timely and....oh so true! Great post, thanks.

Bonnie Vanak January 7, 2010 at 9:39 AM  

Hi Denise! Good to "see" you.

Glad the post was helpful to everyone.

Selena, thanks for stopping by! Good luck to you, and you Denise, and everyone, with your writing this year!

Cindy Holby

Gerri Russell

Joy Nash

Bonnie Vanak

Emily Bryan

C.L. Wilson

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