Story Chasers: A Twelve-Step Program for Not Becoming a Successful Writer

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by DiAnn Mills

We fiction writers chase our stories like toddlers on a sugar-high. I’m one of them. I can dream and plan and plot all day long. Yet sometimes I get sidetracked.

For writers who live and breathe their addiction but have a problem staying on task, I’m offering a twelve-step program call Story Chasers (SC). These are writers who want to be called authors but don’t want to do the work. If any of these descriptors fit you, consider your career choice. Writing fiction may not be for you.

1. Pacifier Writers
A pacifier is used to keep a baby from crying. In the instance of a writer, it’s whining about the publishing industry instead of writing better manuscripts.

2. Paint Writers
Don’t paint your world with illusions such as, “My mom says I’m the best writer in the state. I don’t need feedback.” If you want a realistic edit, ask someone other than a relative.

3. Passionless Writers
If a writer’s passion is not for her story idea, then a reader won’t be enthusiastic about it either. Develop ideas that keep you excited about the project.

4. Peacock Writers
Ouch. Pride stops us from success. It also brands us as unteachable. A humble writer learns the craft, develops a sense of the market, and is enthusiastic about edits.

5. Peanut Writers
George Washington Carver discovered 325 uses for the peanut. A peanut writer is one who writes everything from T-shirt sayings to theology books. We all have varied interests, and that’s commendable, but find your writing niche and stick with it.

6. Perspiration Writers
Some writers don’t like to sweat. If you’re not dripping over your manuscript, then you’re not writing a quality story. Writing is a contact sport: your mind engaged with your heart and fingers. Sweat. It’s good for the soul.

7. Pickle Writers

Weak writers are afraid to write themselves into a pickle. They don’t want the challenge of discovery, research, or unpredictable happenings. They also don’t sell their work.

8. Plumber Writers
Plumber writers flush all their work down the toilet and never seek publication. Need I say more? Find your confidence and reach your goals.

9. Plywood Writers
Plywood is flexible, inexpensive, easy to work with and reusable. But it’s very hard to bend perpendicular to the grain. A plywood writer is one who refuses to accept constructive criticism or change with the industry. In short a plywood writer insists upon writing her own way.

10. Popcorn Writers
Popcorn writers are those who jump from one frying pan to another. They submit, are rejected, and submit again without looking at the manuscript for ways to improve it.

11. Potato Writers
Some writers don’t want to write for free. It’s beneath them. Small potatoes grow into big ones, and those nonpaying manuscripts build your resume. A writer always learns in the creative process.

12. Piranha writers
Some writers will do anything to keep from writing. They like to swim through swift
waters with published writers, but they have one excuse after another not to work. They never make deadlines – even self-imposed ones – because I doubt they have any. Piranha writers set themselves up to be devoured by the sharks who are swimming upstream.

If you’ve discovered a characteristic that slides you into a Story Chaser, now’s the time to change bad habits and begin the next bestseller. However, if you’re looking for ways to enhance your craft, now is the time to get started.

DiAnn Mills OctDiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She currently has more than fifty-five books published. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; the 2014 president of the Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope, & Love chapter; and a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn is also a craftsman mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas. Visit her website at and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter (@DiAnnMills), Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Comments 0

  1. Ha! No wonder editing feels like wrestling! Lemme at ’em!

    I’m in that frustrating limbo spot right now. Waiting. To see which way I have to jump on the first ms that’s out there in submission. To make that research trip before I get too far into the next ms.

    But, the reality is, I can certainly be doing more on the next ms to get ready to WORK. Thanks for the reminder.


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