the question no one has asked

On WritingI’ve been writing this blog for a little over 2 years now. In that time, I’ve transitioned from talking about being a writer to actually being one. I’ve written a couple of books, though none has yet made it to the all-important final draft stage, and I’ve begun building a freelance client base to help pay the bills. What I have not yet done, apart from a handful of stories, is get published. I don’t have an agent. You won’t find my name on the glossy jacket of a hardcover at your local book store.


I believe those things will come. I have faith in the books I’m working on and I’m optimistic about the future. But as a yet-unpublished novelist, there is a question I’m kind of surprised no one has asked. What qualifies me to dole out writing advice?

Nothing, really.

It’s not like I’m someone with a “proven track record”, at least where professional fiction writing is concerned. Anyone reading my blog could easily blow it off. What do the observations, suggestions and insights of a no-name, would-be author count for, anyway?

That’s one way to look at it. Here’s another way: I’m a writer. I may not be published yet, but that hurdle doesn’t mean as much as we think of it. I write a lot and I write often, and I do it with the same seriousness and respect for the craft that others bring to the table. No, my advice isn’t flawless, and yes, there are a lot of others whose thoughts on the writing process may prove more valuable to you, but I am a writer. That, I believe, qualifies me to write about writing.

Now, I don’t say that to toot my own horn. Not too much, anyway. I say that because if you, like me, are a serious writer who hasn’t yet been published, don’t dwell too much on your non-published status. Published or not, you’re a writer. What you do is important and valuable. You don’t have to be a best-selling author to be an artist.

Take pride in what you do. Never be shy about telling people you write. Don’t apologize if you haven’t been published yet. You are a writer, and that’s something worth being proud of.


About Ash Martin
Ash Martin writes dark fantasy and horror, has a thing for classic monster legends, Nordic mythology, coffee, and sarcasm, and is currently working on multiple books.

4 Responses to the question no one has asked

  1. Great post, Dex. I ask myself this from time to time, too. Who am I to tell anyone how to do anything? I’ve come to think of it as a conversation. I’m one of many voices out there, offering suggestions and sharing what worked for me. If you ask ten people what to see on your vacation in Scotland, you’ll get ten different answers. It’s up to you to take that info and figure out what works for you. All ten might agree Edinburgh Castle is a must-see, but you may find that a sight none of the ten recommended, say Portree Bay, turns out to be your favorite place on earth. That was kind of a strange analogy. Hope it makes sense! 🙂


    • dex says:

      Makes perfect sense, Amy, and thanks for the comment. (I’ve been sick all week or I would have replied to you sooner.)

      I like your analogy of a conversation. It’s fitting, I think, not just for talking about writing, but for the process of reading. All communication is conversation. If we come to think of advice from others that way, it’s easier to find the bits and pieces that work for us without feeling obligated to take or leave it all.


  2. “Take what you need.” Very few of us are experts, but we get a little of what we need from reading these blogs – it’s why we’re here – it’s why they exist – it’s why we write them.

    I love reading about others’ processes and experiences. It’s food and I’m hungry!


    • dex says:

      Me, too, Hazy. Me, too. Thanks for stopping by for a bite at my blog, and thanks for the spread you always have available for me over at yours.


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