How Not To Write a Book

Of course – as a writer – there is no dream sexier than flaunting the title of your latest best selling novel.


It has always been my dream/erotic fantasy to be invited on Jon Stewart to discuss the the depth of my characters and the boundlessness of my super genius.

He would smother me in praise – maybe even read my book.

And I would lap it all up like a starving street cat. Basking in the glow of total affirmation – because if you aren’t on Stewart, you are nothing.

So naturally, when I discovered that a certain conference (designed solely for those in our exclusive club of prospective authors) was coming to town – I simply could not resist.


Dressed for success – I strode into the conference room a measly 15 minutes late. Not necessarily the first impression I was looking to make. Creeping in like a student, my eyes locked to the floor in fear that I would receive the judgemental glares of disapproval for my tardiness. Looks that never came because writers are a forgiving and understanding people.

The college classroom hosting the session was packed with Edmonton’s finest talents. Each one scribbling notes furiously as some of North America’s hottest names in literature dished on the secrets to success.

Chuck Sambuchino was our publishing guru, mostly known for his “take no shit” attitude and his best selling book titled “How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack.”

Simply put – he was an enigma wrapped in a charming but douchey outer core. Stupid questions were his kryptonite – making me his slow and painful patience killer.

Not only did I have the audacity to stroll in late, but I also had the misfortune of being misinformed that blog writing is in fact a form of non-fiction.

Apparently my ignorance was blasphemy.

I decided against standing out after asking wide eyed “If a blog isn’t fiction then what is a blog?”

This was received by an array of gasps and disappointed head shakes.

Afterwards I found it best to slouch down in my chair, cradle dearly the several sheets of knowledge he bestowed to us and pray to the lords of writing that I would turn invisible.

Only to be overwhelmed and graciously shocked that other bloggers wanted to know more about my “humour blog.”

Later as the day passed and sessions transitioned, I noticed a trend. A very small percentage of writers were willing to say anything to stand out. “I write about clergy sex,” chimed one, while another explained how her story comfortably fit the genre “erotic horror.”

What in the world is erotic horror?


It didn’t matter because it worked, these bold and balsy peers had achieved their desired effect – I still can’t get the erotic horror out of my head.

And the claims to fame varied – one woman mounted the success train by writing an in depth expose about the history of the menstrual pad.

I know, right?

I observed as others clutched their many manuscripts ready to start the publishing process. People had written not one but several books. Plural.

They wrote about their dogs, their cats, their drugs, their sex – about vampires and Cajuns and wars. Each story more alluring than the next.

And then there was little old me.

With no manuscript.

Not even a chapter.

Industry professionals approached me, curious as to what I was working on – and all I had were some ideas – ideas that hadn’t even touched paper. How do I explain to such a respectable crowd that I’m an aspiring Mindy Kaling hybrid who believes in the power of a good dress.

I wanted so badly to be surrounded by smugness at the elite few who had managed to achieve something truly phenomenal.

But I couldn’t

Because that would be a lie.

I wanted to be discouraged and throw a temper tantrum in hopes that someone from Hollywood would notice me and beg me to star in my own reality show.

But instead I was inspired to write.

Getting a book deal is hard – but not impossible.

And now I know how.

And when I do apply to agents – I will have the good fortune of knowing that blogs are non-fiction.

Jon Stewart – I’m coming for you.

Sweet Dreams World.


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90 replies

  1. Hi Shareen
    Thank you for liking my post. As you can see I just started my blog. I am writing a memoir and have 180,000 pages of the first draft. Now turning it into ‘creative non-fiction’ on the second run through. Stopped at Chapter 4 – writer’s block – and the break up of a marriage – sort of stops you in your tracks!

    Went to a talk about memoirs and blogs and came away deciding to do a blog. I am so enjoying it. So there you go, you can write first then blog. And I so get the bit about wanting to be a writer and being overwhelmed by it all. So good luck with your writing too.

  2. Great post. Finding the motivation to write has been a drag for me lately, but I have found that starting a writers blog and actually posting my short stories for the world to see has really helped me along in getting my first draft of my first novel done.

    The idea of putting my meager attempts at fiction in front of literary types who actually turn them into books is still a frightening prospect. I am almost thankful for the fact that I am not at that step yet!

    Good luck getting to Stewart! And thanks for the follow, hope you like what you read!

  3. Reblogged this on writersspirit and commented:
    Shareen, you offer a unique perspective of what to do at a writers conference. Reposting this on my blog page. I’m sure your observations will be of value to readers that follow my page. Plus I just love your writing style.
    Thanks, G.

  4. Thank you for reminding me that I am not alone in this…

    And yes, I too am headed towards Jon Stewart — or at least some ranting radio shock-jock’s studio…

  5. It would be nice to be recognized by Hollywood but I’d rather write from my heart. If publishers like memoirs about rabbits, being in a blind school, or coming out of a cultic house church, great. If not, I’ll still write what I write. I hope that other writers do the same. It’s much more rewarding to do that than chase trends or use stunts to gain fame.

  6. Reblogged this on watcher and commented:
    love this!!!

  7. Hi Shareen,
    Thanks for the like on my blog – which lead me to check yours out. GREAT writing, I read a few of your posts and look forward to dive into the blog more thoroughly. šŸ™‚


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