Secrets Readers Don’t Know about Authors

A lot goes on behind the scenes in getting a book published. Stuff that readers don’t know and probably don’t need to know. Because, let’s face it, all a reader cares about is a story that takes them out of the real world and into another that, when well done, leaves them wanting more even after they’ve reached The End.

But, because I like to have fun, I figured I’d share some secrets readers may not know about authors. It’s a way of poking fun at an author’s reality (at least mine!). So let’s peel back Oz’s curtain, shall we?

copyright Dajana Fabjanovich | flickr

copyright Dajana Fabjanovich | flickr

  1. We pretend the writing is going well when it isn’t. Ask a writer how their story is going and you’ll hear, “Oh, it’s all finally coming together,” or “I’ve hit a rough spot in the middle, but I know I’ll work it out,” or “I’ve got an idea for another book, but I have to finish this one first.” However, that’s all code for, “I’m halfway through this book and I have no idea where it’s going,” or “I’ve written myself into a corner, and I’m freaking out because I have a deadline in three weeks!” or “I’ve got an idea for another book because I’ve started hating the one I’m writing right now.”
  2. Writing books is a lonely business. We sit with our laptop or tablet, alone, and try to bang out story day after day. But we can’t have interruptions because that’ll mess with our creative juju. Which makes us feel alone. So we try to explain where our heads are at with loved ones, who try to understand us but really don’t, because we need an outlet to vent. Which is why we commiserate with other authors because only other authors understand the lonely nature of writing. Which is why…
  3. We all have a stash of something to help us through writing stresses, and we usually indulge at our keyboard. Chocolate. Potato chips. Beer. Martinis. Gummy bears. Ice cream. Red wine. White wine. Diet soda. Burgers and fries. Scotch. Oreos. Mac and cheese. Pizza. Slurpees…
  4. copyright Bookaholic | flickr

    copyright Bookaholic | flickr

    We procrastinate. A lot. A little. But we all do it. And when we do, we get frustrated. And when that happens, we move on to chocolate, or potato chips, or beer, or martinis…

  5. Staring at a blank screen (writer’s block) scares the crap out of us. We pretend it doesn’t exist. We pretend it doesn’t bother us. We try to write anything, even if it has nothing to do with the current story we’re working on, to get the creative spark going again. And if the writer’s block lasts longer than we’re comfortable with, we move on to chocolate, or potato chips, or beer, or martinis…
  6. By the time we get to The End of the first draft, we feel like we’ve birthed quintuplets. Naturally. But then we have to go back and edit the draft, and that feels like we’re birthing five more. Which leads to chocolate, or potato chips, or beer, or martinis…
  7. Writing an 80,000 word novel is a lot easier than writing a one-page synopsis. When we’re faced with the dreaded synopsis (which is a dirty word in our business), we’ll reach out to fellow writer friends to bitch and moan that we have to do it. Which leads to other authors commiserating with us over our mutual pain. Which leads to those other authors suggesting we indulge in chocolate, or potato chips, or beer, or martinis…
  8. Our characters are real people in our heads. We talk to them. Ask them questions. Imagine them eating and sleeping and having sex. Fighting and shopping and, yes, even farting or burping. We watch movies and imagine how our own characters would react in certain scenes. We spend entire days with them in our heads, but to us it feels like they’re right there beside us. For real. Often, we know our characters better than the people closest to us in real life. Often, we prefer it that way.
  9. We speak in code. We look forward to getting The Call but are more than happy to SP if we can, and we always feel like it’s Christmas morning when ARCs arrive. Many of us question if we’re YA or SFF or TT, but will also try out UF or WF or XG, if nothing really fits. Some of us also really get into NaNoWriMo (but not me).
  10. Writers sometimes think the words they’ve written are the best they’ve written in a long time. We often consider it a good sign when we can’t tell the difference.
  11. Our search histories could raise red flags. To make our books realistic, our research takes us to some very questionable websites. ‘Nuf said.
  12. Some of us still write story longhand. I finally gave that up three years ago, after doing it for nearly 17 years. It was a big adjustment. Oreos helped me through.
  13. Some of us see the scene in our head and type with our eyes closed. But not me. If I did, I’d put my fingers on the wrong keys…and think it was the best thing I’d written in a long time.
  14. We love our fans and readers. Which may not be a secret after all. 🙂

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About terriponce

I write about twists, turns, past lives and suspense.
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62 Responses to Secrets Readers Don’t Know about Authors

  1. Sherri says:

    Hi Terri, I came over from our mutual lovely friend Debby Gies. I love your post, had me nodding all the way through…even as I sipped my (white) wine and scoffed an entire packet of crisps. Which only confirms what I’ve long suspected: since I started working on the revisions of my memoir’s first draft (and yes, the giving birth analogy is exactly as you describe…), I’ve gained several pounds in weight. I’m hoping when I give birth (three years and counting…) I’ll loose them! Lovely to meet you, and thank you for this fantastic post! Sherri 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Deborah Jay says:

    Reblogged this on deborahjay and commented:
    The hilarious and (scary) truth about being a writer…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Deborah Jay says:

    Oh dear, I recognise far too many of these in myself – just have to share this!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. marianbeaman says:

    Great insights: I posted this on We Love Memoirs Facebook page!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sigh. Guilty except for chocolate. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Mention in Dispatches – Dating Werewolves, Writers Secrets and National Adoption Month | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  7. Spot on Terri… I love it when someone says to me that they have a book they want to write if only they could five minutes to get it done! Great post thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. dgkaye says:

    I chew lots of gum and I’m still using #12. Old habits die hard. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links | No Wasted Ink

  10. Darden North says:

    Hi Terri,
    Reading this made my day. Instead of eating chocolate, I chew bubble gum – three gum balls at a time.

    Thanks for putting things in perspective!

    Darden North

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: Secrets Readers Don’t Know About Authors by Terri Herman-Ponce | Helen Henderson, Author

  12. You nailed it! I have no idea why 80k words is easier than a synopsis or back of the book content. Possibly there are too many voices in my head all nattering at the same time 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. rixlibris says:

    Posted to FB. It may help some to understand the “weird uncle” a little better.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Great article! I see ALL these in my lovely wife, Elizabeth Meyette.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. floridaborne says:

    Number 7 is my Nemesis. Most of what you say is true. The rest is probably true, but I don’t want to admit it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Lindsey Russell says:

    Agree with all except food at the computer – to tedious brushing out the crumbs from the keyboard! But I do drink tea at the computer but it sits on a side table – just in case it gets knocked over.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. For me the key to keep writing is to work on multiple projects. That way if I run out of steam or ideas for one project, I can work on another project and maintain forward progress. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I laughed out loud at most of these! My favourite is number six, though they are all so true it’s scary 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Kaye George says:

    Thrilling exposé! Although I’m not quite sure you captured the dark despair I sometimes feel in #1. OK, I wrote a book, and another one, and another one. But how can I possibly write ONE MORE??

    Liked by 1 person

  20. mabryhall says:

    I find that I look forward to the washing machine buzzer going off. “Oops! Gotta stop writing and do some work. I KNOW I’ll have a great idea when I return to the computer.”

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Amy Mata says:

    I find that I look forward to the washing machine buzzer going off. “Oops! Gotta stop writing and do some work. I KNOW I’ll have a great idea when I return to the computer.”

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Tina Frisco says:

    These are so true! Glad someone finally wrote them down and posted. Thanks, Terri. Shared across my pages 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Penn says:

    Love it. Had a few chuckles.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. paigeaddams says:

    Lol, exactly! On all counts! XD And for me, it’s totally gotta be wasabi peas. ❤ And beer. Not necessarily in that order.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Reblogged this on ROMANCING EDITORIALLY – Creating Polished Success For You and commented:
    Amen to everything she says here…except I love NaWriMo and suggest it to all my authors! It’s okay to feel alone but remember, you’ve got the biggest support system in the world – other authors, editors, and of course, your fans/readers. ❤

    Like

  26. Jan Hawke says:

    Amen for that – glad to meet you Terri (and thanks Chris for sharing!) 😀

    Like

  27. I was quite concerned when I didn’t see chocolate in #3. I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw it in #4! I love the list. It’s nice to know someone can know exactly what we’re feeling without us having to say more than a word or two.

    Like

  28. Reblogged this on lucinda E Clarke and commented:
    I just loved this – so much truth here 🙂

    Like

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