Every Writer for Him/Herself

Reading the blogs of other writers is something that most writers do – call it professional courtesy, an act of reciprocity or the opportunity to learn something from a peer – it’s part of the job.

When I first started reading the blogs of other writers it sometimes left me feeling a little confused.


Regardless of the topic (editing, publishing, marketing, style, habits, tips, techniques, etc.) it seemed that each blog was giving me different information. At first I wondered who I should believe. Writer “A” picks his editor according to price while writer “B” picks hers based on qualifications, and writer “C” doesn’t use an editor.

So who is right?

It took me a while to figure it out, but the answer is “D” – All of the above.

all of the above

When it comes to writing, the only right way to do it is your way.

Okay…settle down…before you call me an idiot – let me finish…

When I say “your way is the right way” – it is not without qualification, and of course this caveat is strictly my opinion.

Quite simply, before you choose your methods and develop your habits you’ve got to ask yourself one question…

(How many of you were thinking “Do I feel lucky”?)


…well as cool as it is to quote Clint – that isn’t the question.

The question is – “Why are you writing?”

Is your goal to produce a cute children’s story that will only be read by your grandchild?

Do you want to eclipse JK Rowling in the “rags-to-riches” category?

Or are you looking for a Nobel Prize in Literature?

nobel prize

Before you answer – remember that your answer will determine your methods.

It’s sort of like me with golf.

I own a set of golf clubs…and I play once or twice a year…and, quite bluntly, I suck at it.

I’m sure I could improve if I practiced more or maybe took a few lessons, but I have no desire to be better. I’m happy with my golf game, such that it is.

Now if beating my brothers was important to me, I’d have to take appropriate measures to improve my game, but it isn’t, so I don’t.

golfing stooges

I don’t mind that my brothers can destroy me on a golf course, and my brothers don’t seem to care that I can write books while they can’t.

So it’s all good.

Back to you and your methods…if you’re writing for fun, it’s okay if you don’t use an editor, or market your books aggressively or pay $500 for a cover design.

On the other hand, if you envision yourself sipping wine, and calling your agent from your yacht to discuss the terms of your big Hollywood movie deal – you may want to rethink your strategy.

It’s this simple – you will never get more out of writing than you are willing to put into it.

This is why I rarely offer advice on my blog. My methods are just that…my methods. They seem to be working for me…for now…

…your results may vary.


As always – thank you for reading


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24 responses to “Every Writer for Him/Herself

  1. I agree completely, Tim. This is such an individual pursuit, unlike many of the other arts, which are more collaborative. What works for me might not (probably won’t!) work for someone else, and I already know that what works for a lot of other writers doesn’t work for me.

    Every man for himself sounds a little harsh, though. How ’bout: To each his (her) own?

    • I considered the fact that it might sound a little harsh – but I decided to go with it anyway – because if you think about writing as a game, a contest or a quest – we are each (ultimately) on our own to succeed or fail.

  2. Reblogged this on Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing and commented:
    All true! Another thoughtful and important blog post from Tim Baker.

  3. I blogged a similar post this morning and i inspired my friend Tim here to write this, which makes me smile…i am new to the writing thing and i am enjoying it. The thing that i am getting internally up set with is…being told how i have to compete and step up my work…and someone had the nerve to tell me that on my blog i had spelling or mistakes or my facts were wrong but they weren’t..i missed a word is all…and this can reflect my work in my books….but it doesn’t… my blog is for fun… and if i have to take all this book writing too serious its not going to be fun anymore…even if i did get famous i would still call my own shots..its how i roll…what works for you may not work for me! good post Tim!!

  4. yep…and all i can say is the more i write the better it will get..but i am doing my best and following through to all the right channels to get my book out there…but i am not going to make myself crazy with people and their negativity… i am just spreading my writing wings…give me a chance! lol!!

  5. Tim I believe you hit the nail on the head with this post! I have to share this! 🙂

  6. Reblogged this on jorjao2013 and commented:
    This is a very great eye opener writers! Check out this blog!

  7. Great post! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  8. Those are extremely wise words. Great post.

  9. To get more ideas, it’s good to read other writers’ blog. When it comes to your own, it’s up to you to decide. Your post is helpful Tim! Learned about you in LinkedIn, social media really works! 😀

  10. Tim, I totally agree with your post..why we write…this is the critical question – and once we answer it honestly for ourselves, we know what to do and turn content with whatever might happen as the result of our choices. I write because I have to, monkey mind causes too much trouble otherwise –and i write about a subject so dear to my heart that there is no friend on the planet who would just listen to me for the time it would require to hear me out — but put all this into a fascinating book and….voila! Namasthe!

  11. Very well said, Mira!!

  12. I just write because I know that none of my books will be read by more than a few people at a time and I can actually *spend* the time writing without worrying about what my audience is gnawing about with regards to the next book and the one following and so on.

  13. You have a very engaging voice, honest, clean and true. Best wishes

  14. Tim, you tell it like it is – keep up the good work.
    I was a little sad to see that you owned a set of golf sticks – sure sign of someone who wants an excuse to wear odd-looking clothes! Why not trade ’em in and buy a decent handgun?
    May the lead in yer pencil never run out.


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