Just ahead of another fabulous blog tour with the superlative Teena Raffa-Mulligan, here she is once again with her tenacity and acuity, teaching us the multi-layered art of the writing life. Not as easy as ABC, that’s for sure! Thanks, Teena. Love it! 😉

A is for Acceptances, and also for Angst because there will never be enough of them to satisfy your need for publication.

Bite the Bullet and start writing that Book if you dream of scoring a Best seller.

Criticism is unavoidable if you share your work with others. Learn to listen without the emotional involvement to Critiques that offer constructive advice for improvement and commit to continuously developing yourself as a writer.

D is for Dreams. You need to have them but they won’t come true unless you add a decent dose of Discipline and Determination to the creative mix and avoid Distractions.

Editing. Become expert at excising excess words, scenes and chapters from your work.

Feedback from friendly readers will encourage and support you as you develop your skills as a writer.

G is for Goals. Set them but don’t give yourself grief if you don’t keep them. Life is for living as well as for writing.

H is for Help. Ask for it when you feel like your work is going nowhere. Offer help to your fellow writers too.

I is for Inspiration. It’s wonderful when a story or scene seems to write itself but few books would be completed if every writer waited patiently for inspiration. There’s a great quote that’s been attributed to a number of different authors: “I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately I am inspired every day at nine o’clock.”

J is for the Jubilation when all the hard work of crafting a story results in an acceptance.

K is for Kick-start. Sometimes it feels like an impossibility to start that story because the thought of completing a novel is overwhelming. Break it down. Every story begins with the first word. Write that and see where it takes you.

L is for Learning. Regardless of how long you have been writing, there will always be something another author can teach you about the craft of creating stories that readers will love.

Marketing yourself and your work is now an important part of a writer’s life if you want to make Money from your books.

N is for Networking. Get to know other writers. They will offer support, encouragement and inspiration, for only another writer fully understands what it is to commit words to the page.

Opportunities can arise in unexpected ways. Be alert. Take chances.

P is for Possibilities. That picture book idea might work better as a chapter book for older readers; taking the Plot of your novel in an unplanned direction could result in Publication.

Q is for Questions. If there’s something you don’t know about the craft or business of writing – ask. It’s the only way to learn. The thought of Query letters is enough to make most authors quiver and quail. There’s so much pressure to get them right. Seek help if you need it.

R is for the dreaded Rejections that are part of almost every writing life, and for Rewriting, which if you do it well will reduce the risk of rejection. Don’t forget to keep Records. Writing is your business.

S is for Submissions. Put your work out there. It has no chance of being published if it never lands on a publisher’s desk.

T is for Tears and Tenacity. Unless you’re one of the lucky writers whose first manuscript gets picked up and becomes an international best seller you will probably shed some tears of disappointment and frustration. Be tenacious. Hold onto your dream.

U is for Understanding. It helps if you know how the industry works. Knowing how you work best will eliminate the stress of trying to force yourself into a writing pattern that doesn’t suit you.

Value yourself and what you are doing even if no one else in your life can see the sense of spending hours working on a full-length novel manuscript that might never be published – and even if it does will be unlikely to bring you a decent reward for the effort you’ve put into creating it.

Work. There’s no getting past this one – no matter how much you love it, writing is work. You won’t be satisfied unless you do it well.

EXcuses not to write are easy to find. Usually it’s because there’s a lot of anXiety around getting it right and doing a ‘good’ job. Release those eXpectations of perfection and let the words flow.

Y is for You – take care of yourself. No one else will do that for you. Set up a body-friendly work space and take regular breaks. You will return to the keyboard refreshed and with renewed creativity.

Zero. Expect nothing aside from the fulfilment of creativity and you won’t be disappointed. When the acceptances and royalties do turn up they’re a bonus.


Teena Raffa-Mulligan is a reader, writer and daydream believer. Her first published book was a stranger danger tale for young readers that was endorsed by the West Australian police and education departments of the day and used in schools around the country.  Teena writes across genres and has published picture books, a junior novel and many short stories and poems for children and adults. She shares her passion for books and writing by presenting talks and workshops to encourage people of all ages to write their own stories. Her writing life has also included a long career as a journalist and editor.

Website www.teenaraffamulligan.com

Blog https://intheirownwrite.wordpress.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TeenaRaffaMulligan


#guestpost #authorarticle #writinglife #abc

2 thoughts to “An A to Z of the Writing Life By Teena Raffa-Mulligan

  • Norah

    This is a great overview of writing, Teena. It’s an alphabet with which I can identify. When’s the book due out? I think it’s a must for every writer’s desk. 🙂

  • Debra Tidball

    Love this! Especially the T’s – tears and tenacity – a great combo! I’d add P for Physiotherapy – needed after those long hours at a computer – although your Y deals with this in another way 😉


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