H is for Holistic



Ho·lis·tic - Emphasizing the importance of the whole and the organic or functional relationship between the parts and the whole.

Creative writing is an art (or a craft, depending on which definition you favor). It is a learned skill. A book on a store shelf is a piece of inventory, waiting to be purchased for a fair price, of which a percentage of the proceeds will be returned to the writer as compensation for their efforts. The process that takes place between the creation of the novel and having its bar code scanned at the register is long and arduous, involving many steps and facets.

To become one of those published novelist, we as writers need to become vested in the WHOLE process. “I just want to write” isn’t something we can aspire to any longer. And when I say whole process, I’m not just talking about agent searches, querying, synopsis, digital footprints, writer platforms, publishing contracts, book tours, marketing events, publicity, etc…etc. You need to approach it holistically, which means you also must look at how this endeavor affects the other aspects of your life.

Do you already have a full-time job and will your pursuit of a publishing deal cause friction? Do you have the support of your family and how will they react when you sequester yourself away for days while you do line-edits? How’s your health…physically and mentally? I just talked about having enough GRIT to be a writer yesterday; will that be an issue for you?

See what I’m getting at? Becoming a published writer is a lot more than being able to craft a mesmerizing novel. Sometimes I feel people rush into this on a whim (or in my case…a dare), but now that I’ve been immersed in it for almost four years now I can tell you there’s so much more to consider. That book on the shelf represents the tip of a massive iceberg and unless you study all of it before forging ahead you could be setting yourself up for disappointment.

Here’s your piece of personal information for today. Although I struggle to name my favorite movie or book, I have no problem listing my favorite record and recording artist. Born to Run, by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band! You weren’t aware I was holding a contest during the Challenge? You can read all about it HERE.

44 comments

  1. Like your taste in music.
    Writing is time consuming I agree although my poetry books are not like writing a novel there is still the corrections not once but maybe two or three times. But when the book is published what a feeling of "All my own work"?

    Yvonne.

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  2. Holistic? This is a great subject for letter H. The holistic approach to how we relate to others is a great way to think about the world you've created for the individuals in your writing.

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  3. It will feel great once all the work pays off!
    Great album!
    Dani @ Entertaining Interests
    #warriorminion

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  4. I am really new at learning that I love to write. I find it all consuming in many ways. Whether I am driving in my car, watching TV, cooking or whatever else I am doing I am thinking of a new angle that may be interesting to write down.

    Came by from Tales of the Reborn Crafter
    http://talesofthereborncrafter.blogspot.com/

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  5. ...not just affects the aspects of your life...but the other people in your life. It's a blessing when your family is supportive.

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  6. So very true, and not at all what I was expecting from your "H" word :)

    I am blessed to have an extremely supportive family, but I still feel like my writing often takes up far too much of my time... and I'm just getting started!

    Swingin' by from A-Z!
    http://jenelleschmidt.com/blog

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  7. Yes, because that first book will change your life forever. You better be prepared for all the changes.

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  8. I like the "holistic" approach you've presented here.

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  9. Couldn't agree with you more that a holistic approach is important in any endeavour, but at the same time, if I knew everything I was supposed to do to be successful as a writer from the get go, I may never have started. Sometimes you need that 'honeymoon' period of 'ignorance is bliss'. There is time to wake up and smell the coffee. (Never ever use cliches!)

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  10. I'm betting there are millions of potentially bestselling manuscripts out there sitting on hard drives. It takes so much more than writing.

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  11. Love this. You are so right....there is so much more to it than I ever expected. I really like how you said taking a look at everything. With my health, sometimes it has felt like there is not enough time but I just keep plugging away. Slow and steady is my motto! :-)

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  12. I know what you're doing. You're trying to scare away all the newbies. :)

    Good plan.

    Heather

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  13. You got into this on a dare? Must hear more about that!!

    Happy A to Z-ing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

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  14. I've had to put on many, many hats; some of which are comfortable, some of which aren't.

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  15. Hi Don .. I need a holistic cure for my sat upon backside .. any suggestions? Not a drop from the cruising altitude ... thank you!

    Cheers Hilary ... I'd better get up and go somewhere to ease the squareness ....

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  16. I never dreamed of all the things I had to learn to be a writer. Some things (like technology!) are outside my comfort zone, but when you want something badly enough, you will learn it and do it.

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  17. I agree - so many people don't think of all the details before they rush into things. Usually though, those people have a hard time getting published anyways, since they also didn't research the best ways to query, etc. I love Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band! Who knew we had that in common? :)

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  18. There's so much to know, to learn. All of it important, or at least, as important as one makes it.

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  19. I like your holistic approach. It makes a lot of sense. So much goes into writing, then selling, then promoting your work that looking at only one bit of that process is like those blind men analyzing an elephant one piece at a time.

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  20. Thank you for sharing this. It's true that writing is a process so it's important that we realize there are many facets to it; many roads to travel before we reach our goals. I do believe each of us must have some degree of natural talent before we can polish our skills. Just as dancers or singers need the innate abilities first and then they must have professional training.

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  21. Love this, DL, because it applies to anything we do in life. I hadn't considered writing in this way before. Thank you.
    Karen

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  22. Great post! I am still struggling to be holistic in my craft; for years, I just wrote like crazy, but now I'm learning (slowly) to balance all the parts of being a writer.

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  23. Yes, this dance involves so many elements~ Sometimes I think of it as a ballet!
    We must suffer for our art~

    This is a great reference to the real task at hand!
    Be ready and not journey into uncharted waters with icebergs or sharks!
    I know there is always a chance of sharks~

    Thank you!
    :D

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  24. I love to write, and although I didn't really know the whole deal when I started dreaming of being a novelist (age 11-12), I just kept writing. Over the years, I learned more and more, and my family has kind of accepted that it's part of who I am. In fact, I'm not sure if my kids would know what to do if I wasn't constantly writing something down or searching for a pen and paper at odd moments when an idea strikes me. My husband, thankfully, has been a huge supporter all along, even when we were dating. It's true, I didn't know enough before publishing my first book, but I had done quite a bit of research and thought I did. I don't know if there's ever a way to know "all of it" before finishing a novel, or publishing one. Some of the knowledge comes with the practice of just doing it, just writing, just editing, just revising, just publishing or submitting work to be published. It is time consuming, but it's time I wouldn't spend any other way. (I make sure I have family time and writing doesn't get to take over that.)

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  25. I can tell you my favorite band...

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  26. You bring up some great points. There is so much more to being an author than just writing.

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  27. The holistic approach has some scary components... such as the technological aspects!!
    I'm wondering if it was simpler back in the day, when technology was almost non-existent?
    For example, what aspects/elements/components comprised the "holistic" approach for a 1970's writer...?

    Writer In Transit

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  28. You picked a GREAT song. My favorite is Thunder Road!
    You make a great point about the entire "idea to register" endeavor. I'm reading L.Diane's book right now and boy does she cover all the bases. (The only time I have to read in my life is the 20 minutes between when I get the elementary school kids and we then sit and wait for the middle schoolers...maybe in April there'll be more time...
    Tina @ Life is Good
    Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge Blog
    @TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

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  29. You bring up some important issues to consider for aspiring writers, especially looking at family responsibilities or full time job responsibilities (or both). We have a lot of hard choices to make - maybe balance goes hand in hand with holistic!

    Good album, but I am a Queen girl myself. Night at the Opera was the best album.
    Lyre at Lyre's Musings #atozchallenge

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  30. so much truth in your words! writing doesn't mean just writing! it's a very complex process that requires a great deal of attention, passion and time! but I love it and I aim to get it done in its entire complexity.

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  31. Would I still have started to become a writer had I known all that it entailed? Probably... though I might have thought twice about it ;)

    Allison (Geek Banter)

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  32. The creative process can be all encompassing. I know more than a few cases of writer's widows. Holisitics is important in whatever we pursue given that few of us have the opportunity to focus only on one thing.

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  33. It will touch every inch of your life and consume some of it if you're not careful.

    I mentioned you in my post today, DL.

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  34. I have to say that I am getting intimidated by how challenging it seems to publish. I wouldn't even know where to start.
    Shawn at Laughing at Life 2

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  35. When I moved from writing to editing it, the fun went out the window but I had to stay with it. I'm honestly sick of the characters now and dream of killing them all. :) But ... can't do that. It's a whole process, like you say. Now, the manuscript is sitting with an editor for evaluation and based on her comments, I might have to edit some more.
    Silvia @ Silvia Writes

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  36. Fair truth. I didn't know what was the work behind being published. I now can't help but to laugh at my naive dreams.

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  37. I had never thought of the holistic idea when writing. Interesting blog. Visiting from A-Z

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  38. Holistic is a great H word, and I love holistic things in my life, in general. Great post!

    From A to Z, Kristen's blog: kristenhead.blogspot.com

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  39. Sometimes the whole publishing thing seems so daunting. Lately I've just been writing for me and enjoying A2Z. But May will come before we know it....

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  40. These are important things to think about. I've learned along the way how writing affects other areas of my life.

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  41. Writing is not a typical day job. It's not a sit down and express your job either. There's so much that goes into it. Yet, there are many options and choices for us along the way too. As writers, we can create our worlds, decide our approach and determine our fate. When I saw your word for today, DL, I was excited. Holistically speaking, we're not boxed in as writers anymore. We're not dependent on others to promote or discard our work, and we have many doors and windows to open and walk/fly through to achieve our goals and become successful in the process.

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  42. Thought-provoking post, DL. I've always admired people who can hold down a full-time job AND write for several hours every day. Not me. I was lucky to get in 15 minutes a day of writing while I worked. Too exhausted, most of the time.

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  43. The Boss rules!
    Feeling guilty now because I'm devoting all this time to catching up on the AtoZ but haven't edited in a week...

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  44. You have to do what you love and love what you do, right?! I've only just started working on a manuscript for a non-fiction highly disjunctive text. It's my baby in the full sense of the word (except for the literal sense) and I don't foresee it growing very quickly, but I do feel that it has a very bright future ahead of it!

    Cheers from Brandy at http://brandysbustlings.blogspot.ca/

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