What I Like and Dislike About Writing

Writing is something I’m compelled to do. I’ve written in one form or another since I was around four. The first of my telling stories was in a series of pictures about the soap opera my mother listened to on the radio every morning—My Gal Sunday. While mom worked in the kitchen with the radio tuned in, I sat at a little table with a tablet and crayons, depicting what I heard.

During my grammar school days I wrote lots of stories, some were my versions of “Little House on the Prairie,” and an old series of books of my mother’s about the life of Elsie Dinsmore. I also wrote and illustrated a fairy tale my mother sent off to a publisher. She must’ve thought it was good—the publisher sent back a nice rejection letter.

My junior high years I wrote plays for the neighborhood kids to star in and a magazine which I sold to my friends for a nickel. I wrote essays, stories and poems during my high school years. I married young and was kept busy running my household and raising five children. My writing turned to newsletters for PTA and plays for my Camp Fire Girls to perform. I did write two novels during that period of my life and have no idea what happened to them.

My sister labored on our family’s genealogy and when she was done, I used it as a guide for writing two historical family sagas—a huge undertaking requiring lots of research. Both books, after a lot of criticism and work, were published. And I was hooked.

I love the writing process. Because I love to read mysteries, I started writing them. Being inside another place, seeing exciting events through the eyes of imaginary characters became my obsession. Planning the mystery, where it would take place, who would be the detective, deciding who should be a victim and who might want to see that person dead, how the person was killed, all became part of the enjoyment of writing.

I do like the editing part—though I confess to missing mistakes and I’m grateful to my editor for finding plot holes and typos.

Even after all the editing, I don’t like it when a reader lets me know about a mistake she’s found. Oh, I’m glad she pointed it out because it can be fixed, but I’m unhappy because the mistake was missed during the editing process.

Researching is often fun: talking to people in law enforcement, going on ride-alongs, attending mystery and writing conferences, meeting other writers and readers.

What I dislike about the whole business of writing is planning promotional events: making the phone call or going in-person to ask to hold a book signing in a particular place. Though I do enjoy talking to readers, I’m not happy with trying to convince someone to buy a book. If they aren’t interested after I’ve told them about it, I’m not going to push.

I like being on panels at writing or mystery cons, but what I don’t like is when one author tries to hog the whole time period for him/herself.

Though I do like some ways of promotion, I’m not fond of any that takes a lot of time away from writing and costs a lot of money. Anything effective seems to do both.

No matter, when I’m finished with one book, an idea for another is usually rolling around in my brain.

Okay, I’ve had my say. I’d like to hear from my author friends, what do you like best about writing? And what don’t you like about the process?


8 thoughts on “What I Like and Dislike About Writing

  1. I love the research! It is my favorite part. I also like “crafting” my stories. I can’t just write, and I don’t like outlining. I usually start with the first chapter and then write the last one so I know where the story ends. I do enjoy it when the story just unfolds on its own and I have to write quickly to keep up. I also enjoy the characters. I give them birth, but then they develop minds of their own. And, of course, I love holding the first print copy in my hands.


    1. Research is not my favorite part–but I do enjoy finding out new things to include in a story. And like you, my tales unfold on their own, but I don’t know exactly how they will end until I get there. Thanks for commenting, Lorna.


  2. Like you, I love it all. I had a similar background to yours, but no sister. Other than that, I can relate completely!


  3. Great post, Marilyn! I love the rush I get when a story idea comes to me and I start fleshing it out. I dislike rewrites (even though they make a book better) and the promotion/marketing side of things. Like you, I don’t force my books on anyone. Over the years, I’ve had to tame down my over enthusiastic husband who would tell everyone I wrote and shove a business card in their hands. He isn’t a reader and I had to explain that if someone isn’t a reader, there is no sense in shoving my card or my books at them. When I’m at a signing, I don’t stand there and hawk my books. I wait for a reader to approach me. You can always tell non-readers, they avoid eye contact and walk a wide berth around the table. LOL But a reader will walk over and look.


    1. I’ve actually had far too many people tell me they either don’t read, or they are too busy to read. When it happens at a book festival I have to wonder why they came.


  4. I think you spelled out how many of us feel, Marilyn. I dislike promotion also, but I also dislike the fifth draft of a novel when I begin to wonder if this book is a dud. That’s a tough spot, and I usually keep going, hoping the Beta readers don’t tell me the same thing. Otherwise, I love the creative work, though some mornings I’d rather stay in bed or have just one more cup of coffee before buckling down.


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