Monday, February 8, 2010


Lately I've been thinking a lot about how writing is all about believing. As writers, we are naturally dreamers. Even though the odds are incredibly stacked against us, we believe that our stories will find a home. That all our efforts will make a difference in the life of a child.

But our believing must begin long before that.

When the glimmer of an idea first pops up in our mind, we must believe. We must believe enough not to dismiss it as silliness or as having no future. We must believe in that idea enough to care for it and nurture it. Like a seed in a garden.

And when that idea grows into an unwieldy manuscript, we still believe. While it may frustrate us like a toddler throwing a tantrum, we strive to have the patience to turn it into the manuscript we believe it can be.

Yes, writing is all about believing. And believing isn't as easy as clicking some ruby red slippers. But still, we writers are awfully good at it.

And when we're having trouble, sometimes we just need a reminder from our fellow writers. A reminder that we and our stories are worth believing in.

So I'm curious, when the going gets tough, how do we all keep believing?


  1. My husband always believes in me and my work, even when I start to lose faith in a piece. That helps!

  2. Writer friends, hubby . . .

    At this point, I feel like I'm in it too deeply to give up. I may still be sending out queries from the nursing home . . . but give up? Not an option.


  3. Yes, believing is hard work and sometimes, when I've written a manuscript based on an idea that's not only not working, but not worth fixing, my critique groups believe in me enough to say, "Start something new. You'll find a better idea."
    And I consider that a sort of "believing" gift, too.

  4. I really think the key to believing is butt-in-chair. Letting fear of failure keep you from writing is the worse thing you can do. A bad writing day is way better than a no writing day.

  5. When things are really, really bad - it's this critique group that restores my faith.

  6. Hello. I was out doing a little blog surfing and somehow came here. I think JA Palermo and I share the same agent (Steven Chudney).

    Belief in our work and ourselves is so instrumental to who we are as writers. You got it spot on.

  7. So great to read these comments!

    Corey-- my husband is great for believing in me too! We're both very lucky!

    Hardygirl-- I love when you say, "Not an option". That belief is exactly why we will succeed.

    Gale-- I agree,believing that we can do something better than what we are doing is a definite "believing gift".

    J.A.-- Great reminder that we must keep believing to put butt-in-chair!

    Meg-- I agree. Our awesome critique group keeps me believing too!

    Tess-- Thanks so much for stopping by (and congrats on the awesome agent!). It is amazing how critical it is to believe in ourselves as writers, isn't it?

  8. My critique partner and I chose the motto "Believe" for 2010. I keep a large mug that shouts "Believe" right above my monitor. Next to it is a votive holder that says the same thing. I light it when I get stuck. I agree with you J.A. that believing = butt in chair. It's when I have stretches of no writing time that my faith starts to falter.

  9. Along with BIC, reading and bookstore browsing keep believing alive. I heft those pristine new books and say, "I have to do this!"