Guest Post: Emerald Barnes on What to Expect as a Writer

I’m so pleased to share this guest post, “What to Expect as a Writer,” by author Emerald Barnes. Her published novella, PIERCING THROUGH THE DARKNESS, is available through Amazon and Smashwords, and Emerald blogs at Dreaming Awake.

I’m especially thrilled to feature Emerald as my first guest post author, because she’s such an important part of my online writing community. Her insights about the writing process are engaging and thought-provoking, and she’s always willing to step into a lively discussion to share her own views. For more information on her novella, check out her Seven Questions interview.

Welcome, Emerald!

What to expect as a writer

By Emerald Barnes

What do you expect by being a writer?  That’s a loaded question, and up until recently I didn’t know what I really expected and wanted from being one.

Emerald Barnes

I’m going to start at the beginning, the place most stories start.  I remember always carrying around a pencil and notebook as a small child, doodling my name all over the paper.  Even when I didn’t have something to write, I wanted so desperately to write something, even if it was only my name written many different ways.  I was also the master of the squiggly line, and every female character I wrote about was named Rachael.

I loved the feel of the pencil in my hand and the blue lines of the notebook paper.  I was even lucky enough to get to use my grandma and grandpa’s old typewriter!  I felt special, like a REAL WRITER.

But, I didn’t know what being a writer meant back then.

Emerald Barnes recently unveiled a new cover for her ebook.

High school was when I started writing but not seriously.  It was terrible writing but writing nonetheless.  I wrote mostly about high school girls falling in love.  My writing has since improved, but I am still a YA writer, and I still write about high school girls falling in love but they’re mostly set in suspense/thriller type situations.  The first novel I began writing was about a girl who fell in love with someone she couldn’t have.  They dated secretly.  I NEVER finished it, and I’m not sure I even know where it is any longer.  Probably on a floppy disk I tossed.  My second novel, I started when I almost broke my ankle in school and was laid up on the couch for three days because I couldn’t walk.  It was a paranormal novel.  The premise isn’t actually that bad, and with some work, I believe I could make it work out if only I want to.  I never finished that novel either.  So, I started another one.  This one even had a title.  My Love Flew Away.  I love my characters from that one, so they have plans to appear in a later novel that has a much better premise.

I stopped writing for a while after that, up until I took my first writing course in college.  I then took up writing as a serious hobby, and when I transferred to university, I took it up as a possible career path.  I received a BA in English with an emphasis on Creative Writing.  But, I still didn’t really know what to expect as a writer.

Sure, my courses had taught me invaluable information about writing, but what they didn’t teach me was how much of that information really didn’t hold a candle to what being a writer was all about.

I’m not saying I have all the answers to what it takes to be a writer, but I can tell you a few things I’ve learned along the way.

First, you need to have a social presence.  Be sociable.  Start a blog.  Tweet.  Interact with other writers and readers and book reviewers.  THEY’RE the ones who help you become the writer you are.  Other authors will help you with your writing journey.  Readers and reviewers are the ones who help you SELL and PROMOTE your books (if you’re published).  You also feel like part of a community you’re missing out on.

Like with Laura who has so graciously asked me to do a guest post.  Her tagline says it all.  Community.  She makes EVERYONE she comes in contact with feel like they’re part of her community.  It’s so very important as a writer to have that feel of community.  Who else are you going to complain to about writing?  Surely not your readers.

Join a few places where you can discuss things about writing.  I have met some amazing people through The WoMen’s Literary Café and The Women’s Nest, and they have helped me with my social presence tremendously.

Secondly, know who you’re writing for.  This is important because you will interact with readers who like your genre.  If you write YA, you’ll more than likely talk to teens who read your book, but since the YA genre is popular with more adults now, you’ll talk to them as well; however, you need that common ground, and if your readers can connect with your writing, it’ll be so much easier on the both of you when it comes to communicating.

Thirdly, call yourself a writer.   How can you convince others if you don’t believe it yourself?

Lastly but most certainly not the least, WRITE. You can’t be a writer if you don’t write.  Being a writer doesn’t mean you have to be published.  It means you write for others or yourself, but you’re still putting that story on paper.

Don’t worry if you don’t know what to expect from being a writer.  Heck, I still don’t know what to expect most of the time.  I’m just getting out there, meeting new people, and relishing in the bonds that I have created by being a writer.

What do you expect as a writer?

Thanks so much for visiting, Emerald! You can find out more about her and her work at Dreaming Awake. And if you’re interested in being a guest blogger here, please pop me a note at laurastanfill at hotmail dot com. 


About Laura Stanfill

Publisher, Forest Avenue Press
This entry was posted in Fiction, Guest Post, Writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Guest Post: Emerald Barnes on What to Expect as a Writer

  1. Thanks for hosting me, Laura! It was a pleasure to join you on your blog today! And thanks for making me part of your community!

  2. Laura, thanks for hosting Emerald. I loved this post. It gets to the heart of who we are as writers. Also I love the title of your book. Is Emerald your given name, because that marked you from birth for this special calling 🙂

    • Thank you! Yes, Emerald is my given name. 😀

      I am so glad you enjoyed my post!

    • So true, Florence. I loved hearing about Emerald’s early work and I’m struck by how she kept going with novel after novel in high school. I was like that too, with a lot of unfinished “training wheels” books. That’s so much of the process of becoming a writer, I think. Wanting to try, and then try again, until you get to that point of deciding you’re a writer. And being unafraid to name that calling.

  3. Emma says:

    Your mention of the floppy disk made me smile. I’m sure I have some real “gems” on those too, wherever they are now, probably in storage boxes up in the attic.

    • haha! I know what you mean, Emma. I found all of mine not long ago, but I moved and have lost them. 😦 Kinda sad. I had almost a whole novel on one of them that I wrote during high school. lol

      • I have floppy disks somewhere too! In fact, when I was growing up, my parents had an unusual operating system on our home computer. I used the monitor in my room and all my stories, poetry and that first fantasy novel were on there. They still have that operating system available on one of their PCs, but I’m not sure my work is on there any more. On the positive, I can remember that old work fondly because it’s inaccessible!

  4. Hey Emerald, it’s great to get to know more about you after connecting through WLC!

  5. The only expectation I had was that I would write. Which is definitely enough to keep me at it. the rest is gravy (and there’s nothing wrong with gravy 🙂 ).

    Oh, and floppy disks? I have a couple of cartons in my closet of pages I wrote on a _typewriter_ (and the closet is where they belong 🙂 ).

    • Anthony, that is definitely enough to keep a writer going! 🙂 And no, there is never anything wrong with gravy! 😉

      I loved typing on a typewriter as a kid, but I don’t even remember what I had typed back then. 😛

    • A great expectation, Anthony, and one that I’ve had of myself since high school. That goal often is what gets me going when I’m stuck–oh yes, this is what I do and what I have always wanted to do, so I should sit down and open my file and GO.

  6. Dalya Moon says:

    Thanks, Laura and Emerald! I wanted to add a little bit I’ve learned lately: You need to have a non-web-based cheering section. Even if it’s mainly populated by you and some cheery post-it notes you’ve written to yourself! Your social media friends are part of your team, and you’re part of theirs, but you need something on those days you click the magical internet button (for me, it’s the wireless switch on my laptop) to off. 🙂

    • Oh, I agree completely, Dalya! I honestly can’t believe I forgot to mention that. lol I have a great friend who – well bless his heart – has to listen to me whine and complain about writing in general. Plus, he’s very helpful when it comes to me figuring out what I need to do in my books. He’s amazing, and so is my family, when it comes to that! 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

    • Well said, Dalya! I love this online community, but it’s also important to have a supportive cheering section away from the Internet, because it is important to take computer breaks and social media breaks. And now I’m off to add some positive post-it notes to my desk…

  7. deshipley says:

    LOL — every female character named “Rachel” and high-schoolers falling in love in droves… Now, if you’d said the names were “Jesse Cassidy” and “Geraldine Elizabeth” and the setting junior-high, I would have sworn you were describing my “pre-serious” writing career. Always kind of adorable to see the earliest incarnation of an author. (:

    • I love seeing what my writer friends were like before they were serious authors. 🙂

      Thanks for commenting!

    • I had several Elizabeth characters and was thinking of that as a pen name in middle school… It is amazing how many of us have “way back when” writing memories of naming characters and putting stories together. I’m sure there are a lot of fantastic writers who came to the craft later, but I do love hearing these early reminiscences and knowing that these writers have continued to write and hone their subjects and stories over the years.

      • When I started writing, around age fifteen, I had a bunch of characters. Most are forgotten now, even their names, but there was a well-dressed writer named Jan Sleet and a well-armed woman who called herselt Starling. They survived and evolved and I write about them still. I’ve never written anything that didn’t have Jan Sleet in it somewhere.

  8. Pingback: The (un)glamorous lifestyle of a writer | Emerald Barnes' Dreaming Awake Blog

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