…Susan Toy outlines 10 Ways To Kill Your Writing… PART FIVE…

…I’m delighted to run a five-days consecutive series of posts from my terrific pal, Author, Susan Toy, for every author to enjoy and prob’ly learn lots from… here’s PART FIVE :

10 Ways to Kill Your Writing

This 5-part article is from a talk I gave at the Calgary Public Library Writers’ Weekend Feb. 4, 2012.

Thanks to all of you for reading this series that is very kindly being hosted by the ONE, the ONLY, SEUMAS GALLACHER!

 Part 5 

  1. Stop reading

 And this is related to Way #3 – Copy others and don’t search for and develop your own voice.

Do not stop reading for fear you’ll copy others.

Continue reading and read widely and deeply, and well outside your genre or style, so that you may learn how to write well. Read bad writing as well as the award-winning books, so you may learn to tell the difference between the two.

We didn’t begin writing without first learning to read. Reading is the foundation for writing.

And think about what reading a particular book means to you as a reader rather than as a writer. Reading books is the greatest writing instruction you will ever receive.

Don’t just take my word for it … Read Francine Prose’s excellent book, Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them. Prose will teach you how to get the most out of your reading so it helps improve your writing.

  1. Stop writing

You might think this would have been self-evident or that perhaps it should have been #1 on my list.

You’d be amazed by the number of writers, and successful authors, who have gone through dry periods or never can write again. Some call it writer’s block, but this drought is usually due to a lack of self-esteem. You think your work sucks; you’ve received just one too-many rejection; you lack any good ideas. You lose passion for your craft. You despair that you may never write again.

This too has happened to me. It became easier to find excuses not to write than to just get back at it again.

Sometimes it’s better to take a step back and leave your writing to lie dormant for a while. But if you listened to what I said earlier about becoming part of a writing community, networking, working with a mentor, writer-in-residence or an editor, it is possible to fire up your passion once again.

Whatever you do, don’t quit because you’ve self-diagnosed that your writing sucks. Get a second and maybe a third opinion. Find out from the experts how you may improve.

But whatever you do… DON’T STOP WRITING !!!

  1. Fail to admit that you are the only gatekeeper stopping your work from being completed and / or published

There’s a lot of talk in this business about the mythical and mysterious Gatekeeper who is stopping your work from being published.

Repeat after me – I am the only Gatekeeper.

The truth is that publishers, editors and agents are constantly on the lookout for the next best book by a talented author that will wow everyone – because that’s how they make their money. Mediocre books do not sell a lot of copies. Books similar to others already published do not sell a lot of copies. And, for the most part, bad writing does not sell a lot of copies.

I attended a workshop and learned about pitching books to movie producers. Surprisingly, the process is much the same as it is for pitching a book to book agents or publishers. Every producer there agreed that what they want most is to make a great movie. Not just a good movie, but a GREAT movie!

I know for a fact that’s also on the minds of publishers, agents and editors – they’re sifting through the slush pile looking for a great book to publish. I bet that if you were to ask each publisher or editor what they’re looking for, they’ll say, “A Great Book!”

So it’s really up to you. You can stop being the gatekeeper by writing a book and a query letter that aren’t just good enough, but the very best you can make them. Never settle for less. Besides, you owe it to your readers to give them a great book.

Remember, if you DON’T follow these 13 ways, YOU WILL SUCCEED!!!  

Every writer – EVERY ONE – has faced the same problems, the same struggles – YOU DON’T SUCK!!

You just need to constantly remind yourself that at some time in their careers all writers were beginners, just like you …

But even seasoned and successful writers out there can use a reminder about …

The 10 Ways to Kill Your Writing… including 3 Bonus ways!!  

Let’s revisit our new author again to hear what he’s learned…


And, if you require further encouragement, here’s advice from another expert …


Thank you!

Susan Toy has been a bookseller, an award-winning publishing sales representative, a literacy teacher, and is now a published author, publisher, and promoter of fellow authors and their books. Born and raised in Toronto, and after completing a degree in English Literature at Queen’s University in Kingston, she moved to Calgary in the late 70s and immediately found a job in a bookstore, beginning what has become a life’s career working with books and their authors.

Link for Island in the Clouds: https://islandeditions.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/where-in-the-world-can-you-purchase-island-in-the-clouds/

Link for That Last Summer:


 …yeez can catch some of m’Lady, Susan’s WURK and links here :

Blog: http://islandeditions.wordpress.com/
And a blog dedicated to promoting other authors and their books
Reading Recommendations 










…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!… 








Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

40 responses to “…Susan Toy outlines 10 Ways To Kill Your Writing… PART FIVE…

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you; I have followed this series with intense interest while cringing sometimes. Will be coming back to check it again regularly.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Susan Toy on how to kill our writing.. the final part of this very motivating series hosted by Seumas Gallacher.. bottom line.. stop whining and get on with it..

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Seumas, I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve spent here this week with you and your readers, and I can’t thank you enough for hosting my series! Thanks to everyone who has liked, commented, reblogged, and READ what I’ve written. I hope it has helped each of you in some way or that you’ve come away with information that will assist you in producing great writing everyone really will want to read! I tried to like and thank everyone who commented at the end of each part. If I missed you it was simply an oversight. And if you don’t already subscribe to Seumas’s blog, then I recommend you do so immediately, because this man is a very special friend who strongly supports his colleagues within the writing community.

    Seumas, MWHAAAA!!! You are THAT MAN!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing and commented:
    This is the final installment in my 5-part series that has been kindly hosted by Seumas Gallacher!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank YOU (and Seumas for posting your series) for your wise advice. I’m an avid reader, of course, but sometimes when I read a book that blows me away, I block myself because of that low self-esteem (why even try? I could never write like this, etc.). But then I remember the quote :”The worst thing you write is better than the best thing you did not write.” 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Reblogged this on Tricia Drammeh and commented:
    It’s part five of Susan Toy’s feature on Seumas’s blog. I love #13! Print it out. Post it on your wall. This is fantastic, amazing, and helpful advice.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you so much for this truly enlightening series,. I have enjoyed them all and read them in one sitting. It must have been a lot of work for you.
    Reblogged on Three Hoodies Save the World.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    AUTHORS for the LAST TIME – Go check out Susan’s great series of articles on Seumas’ blog( this is the last part in the series) 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I have really enjoyed this series–thank you for your wonderful and inspirational advice! I’ve posted the links to each of the installments to my FB author page and on Twitter. The Francine Prose book is required reading in the English classes at my daughters’ high school, and the kids learn so much from reading it.

    And I LOVE the Bob Newhart clip!!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Yes, yes, yes. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. This has been a fabulous series. I enjoyed every single post. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Okay, okay, I’m going…

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thanks again, Susan, for this great 5-part series on writing. I’ve taken notes and saved it my Pinterest file so even more others can benefit from it. Thanks also to Seumas for bringing this to us on your blog. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Thank you, Suzanne, for reading and for passing along the posts to your friends. Your support is very much appreciated!


  15. Reblogged this on Maegan Provan, Author and commented:
    Part 5! I hope that you all have enjoyed these as much as I have.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.