Monday, February 17, 2020

20 Reasons Why Writing Your Book Is Not Being Selfish

Writing a book takes a lot of time and effort. Kudos to the writer who takes on such an endeavor. But what if other people call you selfish? What if you secretly feel that you really are being selfish? How do you step out of the shame and into your book?

Writing a book takes a lot of time and effort. Kudos to the writer who takes on such an endeavor. But what if other people call you selfish? What if you secretly feel that you really are being selfish? How do you step out of the shame and into your book?

What Does Selfish Even Mean, Anyway?

First of all, let’s define the word “selfish.”

Selfish - (adj.)
  1. Lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure.
  2. Concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself; seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others.
  3. Arising from concern with one's own welfare or advantage in disregard of others.
So if you make a batch of chocolate chip cookies and you don’t share, that’s being greedy and selfish. If you go to the movies by yourself when your children are home alone because you simply want to get away from them even though you know it’s a movie they might enjoy, that just might be selfish. But writing?

What Does It Take to Write a Book?

Writing a book takes a great idea and a lot of energy, effort, and persistence. Yes, it takes TIME to write your first draft. It takes time to revise it again and again and again. And again.

It’s a long process. Nothing in the publishing industry is fast. Well, maybe self-publishing -- in comparison. But even that takes time. I mean, you still have to write the book, and hopefully have it professionally edited.

Why would someone think that writing a book was being selfish in the first place? Well, it takes a LOT OF TIME. And time is one thing that most people are short on.

When you get into the story, the plot, and the characters, it starts to take over your life to a degree. You can write and block everyone else out. You might not even stop for mealtime. Or to go to the bathroom. Until absolutely necessary.

That means that you might not notice your dog needing to go out. Or that your kids need dinner. You might not even hear the phone ring.

But does that mean you’re being selfish?

I say, “No.”

It means that you are a writer. That you are putting your butt in a chair and getting words on paper. It means that you understand that writing a back takes a certain amount of sacrifices because it takes effort and time.

If you need help to describe to others about the project you're working on, then create a one-sentence pitch to help you keep it succinct.

How to Overcome Selfish Thinking

Surely you understand by the time you reach chapter 20 that writing is no easy task. That you have to be alone to get the job done.

You have to go to the bathroom - alone - to get the job done too, but that doesn’t mean you’re being selfish. Heck, most moms have kids follow them to the bathroom til they hit double digits! But it doesn’t have to be that way. You CAN go in and lock the door and let them cry for 2 minutes. They won’t die from crying. And you won’t have a mental breakdown by going to the bathroom by yourself.

But if you have a story inside your soul that needs to get out, you just might have a mental breakdown if you don’t take the time needed to do it.

And it takes a lot of alone time.

Spending time alone does not mean that you’re being selfish.

Here are a few tips to help you understand why writing your book is not being selfish. And how to think about it so that you don’t feel bad about it.
  1. Teach those around you how to respect your time.
  2. Explain to them that writing a book is a huge endeavor.
  3. Set boundaries and block out certain times each week, if possible, to get the writing done so that your concern for the welfare of your loved ones doesn’t go by the wayside.
  4. Be patient.
  5. Self-care is love and love is not selfish.
  6. Writing a book serves the world and can help hundreds of people.
  7. Writing is a balancing act. Be proud of your juggling skills.
  8. Don’t compare yourself to others.
  9. Don’t wait until every single need of every member of your family is taken care of before you sit down to write. Multitask.
  10. Celebrate every small win. Do something nice for your family every time you finish a chapter. Every time you figure out a plot twist.
  11. Make a plan together as a family to celebrate in a big way when you get the first draft finished. Go play mini-golf or go to the movies.
  12. Writing isn’t the problem. Thinking that it’s selfish is. Writing isn’t selfish. You are serving others. Your words matter. People need to hear your stories.
  13. Don’t waste time on excuses.
  14. Tell yourself you are a writer. Tell your family you are a writer. Even if you’re a beginner and it’s your very first manuscript.
  15. It’s okay to spend time on things that matter to you. It’s okay for others to have a little extra alone time.
  16. Writing helps you find your purpose and live life to the fullest. That is not selfish.
  17. Take breaks.
  18. Remember to eat and sleep.
  19. You are not alone.
  20. You are a writer and that is amazing.
Now that you’ve stepped into writing your book and you don’t feel selfish about it, what does your project look like, anyway? I’d love to know!

Share in the comments below and let me know how you cope with finding time to write.

Outline Your Novel With a Simple Plot

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Saturday, February 8, 2020

Acronyms and Abbreviations for Popular Terms Used by Writers

This list of seemingly random letters PB, MG, ALA, WIP, OP, RWA, ISBN, and SCBWI might be recognizable by some authors, but enough to make other writers’ heads spin.

I have compiled a list of common abbreviations that most writers use at least some of the time. Regardless of how many you’ve heard of before or how many you use on a regular basis, this list can come in handy.

Parts of Speech

N - noun
V - verb
ADJ - adjective
ADV - adverb


JUV - juvenile
PB - picture book
CB - chapter book
MG - middle grade
YA - young adult
NA - new adult


BIO - biography
CONT or CR - contemporary or contemporary realistic
DYS - dystopian
F & SF - fantasy and science fiction
FF - flash fiction
FIC - fiction
FN - fantasy
GN - graphic novel
HR - horror
NF - nonfiction
PAR - paranormal
PNR - paranormal romance
RO - romance
SCIFI - science fiction
SFR - science fiction romance
SP - speculative fiction
SUSP - suspense/thriller
UF - urban fantasy
UR - urban
UT - utopian


ABA - American Booksellers Association
ALA - American Library Association
AWP - Association of Writers and Writing Programs
MWA - Mystery Writers of America
NAIWE - National Association of Individual Writers and Editors
NANOWRIMO - National Novel Writing Month
RWA - Romance Writers of America
SCBWI - Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
SFFWA - Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America
WD - Writer’s Digest
WWR - Writers Who Run

Manuscript, Story, and Editing Terms

AN - antagonist
BS - back story
CH - chapter
GMC - goals, motivations, and conflict
HEA - happily ever after
ILLO - illustration
LI - love interest
MC - main character
MS/MSS - manuscript(s)
PH - plot hole
PLI - primary love interest
POV - point of view
PP - pages
SC - scene
WC - word choice
WC - word count
WIP - work in progress

Other Writing Terms

AGT - agent
ARC - advanced reader copy
BIC - butt in chair
CP - critique partner
R&R - revise and resubmit

Other Bookish Terms

APS - Associated Press Stylebook
HC - hardcover
ISBN - international standard book number
OP - out of print
PB - paperback
POD - print on demand
POP - pay on publication
POS - prior owner signature
RRP - recommended retail price
SASE - self-addressed stamped envelope
TPB - trade paperback

That’s all I’ve got for you. But if you want even more, check out Kathy Stenemann's abbreviations or this list of understanding rare books with Abebooks.

What are some of your favorite ones? Is there one you use all the time that I missed? Let me know in the comments!

Outline Your Novel With a Simple Plot

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