I’m a Writer, Not a Waiter!

inspiration writing fiction Julia Munroe Martin Poynter amwriting One of my writer friends has a sticker on her computer that says, “Waiting for inspiration to write is like standing at the airport waiting for a train.”

I’ve been feeling a little bit like that lately, which could explain why I haven’t blogged since December. It doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing, but my writing inspiration has been challenged, and I can really relate to the quote above and others from Dan Poynter—because it turns out that’s who wrote that airport train quote.

He also said, “If you wait for inspiration to write, you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter.”

I feel a bit like a poser. Like an imposter. But I’m working actively against those feelings, and one thing I do as frequently as I can to combat them is to hang out with other writers, particularly at conferences and retreats.

Hence, I just got home from the New England Romance Writer’s Conference, and although I do not technically consider myself a romance writer (even though I do write about love and I am co-writing a romance novel), I go to every conference I can conveniently get to because I always learn so much.

This one was no different. Here are some of the things I learned:

  • It’s really, really wonderful to be around other writers all day long—they “get it.” Meaning what it means to be a writer, and that’s a very comforting feeling.
  • I always meet people who are fascinating to talk to: writers but also non-writers who are traveling through the conference venue.
  • I agree with another writer (sorry, I can’t remember her name) who said she always comes away inspired to write more. Me too—thank goodness, because I’m not sure I could write less.
  • My author time is spent almost exclusively on writing, with almost no time spent on the business side of being a writer, and I need to learn more about marketing and SEO—thank you to Nam Patel and Sarina Bowen for the really excellent sessions on these topics.
  • Closely related: I don’t and have never done enough marketing of my indie-published novel, Desired to Death, written as J.M. Maison. This seems particularly important right now as I’m getting ready to publish the second book in that mystery series.
  • I pitched manuscripts to two literary agents, and I was reminded that any time I have a chance to meet face-to-face with literary agents is time well spent. I’ve read that some authors and some agents, too, have mixed feelings about pitch sessions, but I love them—not only because I can pitch my work, but because I get valuable information from every literary agent I talk to, and also because meeting agents as people helps me humanize the whole experience.

Finally, a word about Dan Poynter. When I decided to write about his quote, I had no idea who he was. Dan Poynter was an author, publisher, passionate skydiver, and parachute designer, who wrote over 130 books and 800 magazine articles. I can’t be sure, but I imagine that Mr. Poynter wrote through some rough patches because he wrote such apt quotes. But more so, I imagine he went through those periods because every writer I’ve ever known has gone through them.

I’ll talk about what I’m doing to address my own rough patch in future blog posts—one of the goals I made while I was at the conference was to set a regular blogging schedule—but I haven’t done that yet…

Stay tuned!

What are your writing goals? Have you ever had a rough patch? If so, what do you do to be a writer not a waiter?




  1. Micky Wolf says:

    Julia, good to read your post this afternoon. Like the quote(s). Your decision to attend a writing conferences and hang out with other writers sounds like it was a great antidote to the whole writing-inspiration-challenged-rough-patch conundrum. And…since you asked. Have had my share of rough patch times for sure. One thing that has helped me a lot–not a new concept for sure–is to simply write something every day. Even if that means only in my journal. Or a sentence or paragraph in my WIP. Interesting how what seemed small at the time turned into a completed book.

    I’m with you on the need to set a regular blogging schedule. Had one for several years until the most recent rough patch last year, so hoping to get back on track soon. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing and looking forward to your future posts, whenever they show up. 🙂

    • Hi Micky! I’m sorry for your rough patches, but I like the steps you took!! Here’s to both of us getting back on the (train) track and waiting for trains not planes all the time!!

  2. SJ says:

    Consider this blog entry a positive step towards more marketing of your novel…I just bought it and am now reading it

  3. Lisa Ahn says:

    Thanks for sharing your experiences, Julia. Your insights are always inspiring.

  4. Congrats on pitching your manuscript to two agents, Julia! That’s a big step, and my hat is off to you.

    I agree that conferences and workshops can be so inspiring. It’s a great boost just to be in the same room as other writers.

    • Thanks, Jackie! Believe it or not I actually have started to enjoy pitching! I know you’re a part of a writing group so you’re around more writers than I am — I almost never am except at conferences and it truly is a great boost.

  5. I hate marketing. I swear if I hit the lotto I’d do something for the self-publishing industry that got our books more recognized. I don’t know what but that’s a one of my lotto dreams. 😉

    As for any creativity writing I have to get out of my business space and go somewhere where there isn’t anything else for me to do but write.

    • That is an amazing lotto dream! Sign me up as your assistant 🙂 Such a good idea to go out of the business space and into a physical place that encourages creative writing!

  6. Jamie says:

    Glad you had fun at the conference. I feel the same with my writing. It’s hard enough to focus on edits, when I feel like I should be blogging, writing for online and traditional press and being visible. I’ve “gone dark” the last few months. No real reason, other than I just can’t find enough time to edit my manuscript like I need to much less to other writing. Hope this generates some interest for Desired to Death. It was a great book. xo

    • You made my day, Jamie!!! Thank you so much for your kind words about Desired to Death. Going dark is what we need sometimes — so I know exactly what you mean. I am so excited to hear that you’re editing your ms. We need to catch up! xox

  7. Good to see you back, Julia. I’m glad you came away from the conference inspired. That’s something I could use right now. I’ve picked up a few new freelance accounts and have my head buried deep in facts and non-fiction. No time for anything else! Sigh. But, getting paid for work is a good thing, right?

    • Getting paid is a VERY good thing. (I need more of it) Here’s to more inspiration AND more time. And it’s good to see you, too — so glad you commented, Karen!

  8. I love when you pop up in my blog reader, Julia. 🙂 I think it’s really cool that you go to so many conferences and meet-ups to talk with other writers and agents, etc. I wish I could go to more! I get some writer love at my critique group, but I don’t get to meet as many new people as you do. I say take your inspiration anywhere you can get it! I hope you do start blogging more–I miss hearing what’s going on with you. <3

    • Aww, thanks, Annie — here’s hoping I can stick with a better schedule so I pop up more often! You’re so lucky you have a critique group; I still haven’t been able to find one! But yes, I have to take my inspiration where I can get it. So happy you commented <3