Things I Wish I’d Known Before Becoming a Writer

Hmmmm…I could talk for days about this. But I’m gonna just stick with my top three.

1. Editors…..will make you want to throw your laptop across the room. Until I understood what an editor’s job actually was, I assumed she was put on earth to make me feel ultra crappy about the book I had written. What do you mean I need to change that line? That line is perfect.

If I recall, I had to consume three twinkies, a bag of peanut M&M’s and a half a liter of Dr. Pepper just to come up with that line. I sacrificed size eight blue jeans for that line. And now you want me to CHANGE it? Or….what do you mean I have a Christian publisher and I can’t curse in this book? I am a Christian, too, but sometimes I say #$*& or @#$* or even *&@#. How the $#%& am I supposed to get my point across if I can’t use my favorite verbs, nouns and adjectives? I guess you just want me to join a convent? But, a year in and days away from release, I have learned to get my point across without the colorful language. And I am thankful for my editor and her gentle yet persistent contention that she knew this business better than I did and my wealth of knowledge in football and cursing wasn’t going to help me in this arena. Your editor isn’t out to get you, she’s out to help you.

2.  Writers block is real…and it will make you want to throw your laptop across the room. You get up in the morning, take a shower, eat breakfast, it’s a beautiful day to write a masterpiece. You sit down at your computer and type “Chapter One” and nothing happens.

And you sit. And you sit. And you sit. And you check your email. And you check Facebook. And you watch kittens and puppies frolic together on you tube. Then you go back to Chapter One. And you sit. And you sit. And you sit. And you check Twitter. And you call your daughter. And your mother. And your BFF. Then you eat Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream. And play with the dog. And see if you can get the cat to chase a string. And you go back to Chapter One. And you got nothing. So you watch “To Kill a Mockingbird” for the eight thousandth time in your life and console yourself by thinking tomorrow will be different. And eventually it will be.

Writers block ain’t no joke….but this too shall pass.

3. Bad reviews….will make you want to throw your laptop across the room. I have experienced very few of these…but they will certainly irritate you. You can read ten great reviews and only remember the bad one. I heard that somewhere and I can’t remember who said it. But it is TRUTH. I think, at least for me, I took it personally. I was all redneck, cow pasture girl, softball player “She don’t know me!” And guess what? She doesn’t know me.

So why should I care what she thinks about how I write? It was obviously good enough to get a book deal with a major publisher, so why should I second guess myself now? Book reviews are something for other readers to enjoy, not authors. Either way, good review or bad review, I think I’ll just read the cereal box.

Of course, I realize all these things could also be because I have red hair and need an anger management class. Happy reading, friends!


CELESTE FLETCHER McHALE is a Southern Lit author from Central Louisiana. Her debut novel, The Secret to Hummingbird Cake, is being released through Thomas Nelson in February 2016.

Celeste attended Louisiana State University and Northwestern State University where she majored in history. She currently lives on her century-old family farm, and she enjoys family, writing, football, baseball, and raising a variety of animals. Learn more about Celeste and The Secret to Hummingbird Cake at