erica and christy present...

a december blog theme.

since our november author series has drawn to a close, *pauses in rememberance of the good times had* erica and christy are forced to move on.  and, in doing so, will bring you a daily blog (well, maybe skipping sundays) for 25 days and will describe for you...

...the 25 best/worst things about being an aspiring novelist. 

starting right now.  happy december to you all!

#25 on the countdown
 the best and the worst:  all about the word "aspiring"

first, let's discuss the definition. it's denotation.

according to an online dictionary the word means the following:

Verb. as·pired, as·pir·ing, as·pires
1. To have a great ambition or ultimate goal; desire strongly: aspired to stardom.
2. To strive toward an end: aspiring to great knowledge.
3. To soar.

  • aspiring - desiring or striving for recognition or advancement
  • aspirant, wishful
  • ambitious - having a strong desire for success or achievement
  • hopeful, longing, would-be, ambitious, eager, striving, endeavouring, wannabe (informal), wishful
okay, take from that what you will. 

and now?  how about its connotation...what it suggests or implies. 

(we're writers after all. words are what we do. we discover them, dissect them, compare them. it's important to choose the right one. what does the word aspiring mean to you?  how does it make you feel?  ambitious, pushy, opportunistic, reaching for lofty ideals?)

for christy?  the word aspiring stands for hope.  it's a hopeful word.  the dream is still hovering out there all blissful and taunting.  the aspiration and the wonders that may come someday get me to place my fingers on the keys and open that word document...well, that and the story i can't wait to finish telling, um,...myself.

for erica? she hates it. it means she hasn't met her goal. it means no matter how many words she writes and how many books she finishes, she may never cross that line to being published. it means she isn't an author. she could aspire for 60 years and never make it and it's disheartening. (she also admits christy's version is much nicer)

next, here's a bonus comparison for #25 on our list:  the difference between being a writer and a published author vs. being a writer and an aspiring author

the steps to becoming even an aspiring novelist are staggering when you truly think about them:

-come up with an idea for a novel - a whole novel, not just an opening scene you'll ditch at chapter three
-write between 40,000 and 100,000 (or more, God help you) words
-give to one or many friends/family
-join a critique group of other writers
-troll and/or participate in blogs (and/or spend countless hours writing one! or hundreds of them!)
-enter contests
-edit 5, 6, 7 times or more - maybe even rewrite (eeeeeekk!)

then what? oh, send it out to agents and publishers. but first -

write query letter
have query letter critiqued
rewrite query letter
rinse and repeat until perfect
send query letter
get rejected
resend, resend, resend

and this is where you reach the point where you can no longer choose-your-own adventure. it sort of feels like it's chosen for you. sure, you can keep trying, you can try another rewrite/beginning/ending/plot twist. you can shelve that book and start over with a new one. you can try building publishing credits another way (contests, magazines, non-fiction). but you can't make someone want to represent you.

then maybe, just maybe, something happens. we hope this happens to all of you (and, admitedly, us). you are no longer aspiring. you:

succeed at finding representation
succeed at finding publisher
voila...no longer aspiring

then, (we know because our published author friends have warned us) you start over. (along with deadlines and marketing and more-than-ever emails and phone calls) but you will always be able to tell people you are "an author". you hold your book in your hands and know other people do, too! Now, when they ask you if you've met Oprah, you're on your own. ;)

there are many writers out there who write without hoping to be published. we know that. we're here for you and those of you who are aspiring authors, just like so many of you are here for us. thanks for being on this journey and sharing it with us.

we promise to do a happy dance each and every time one of you lets us know you are AN AUTHOR.

that said. here's an actual happy dance for you in advance.
or in belation if you already hold the aspirational title.

(oh, and how many of you knew his name was Mumble...and not Mambo????
mambo just made so much more sense to me....)

come back for the countdown #24-#1, some blogfests along the way, and some awards we need to hand out.  it'll be a busy month.

before you go...what's your take on the word "aspiring"?


  1. to me "aspiring" is what you call it when your ass sweats

    you asked

  2. I hate that word! cant wait to get it off my back, am even tempted to print business cards and call myself an author, I wonder who will call me out on it.

  3. Go for it, Joanna! I won't tell!

    Can I just call myself a writer because I write all the time? I don't aspire to write. I do it. It's just that no one reads it... : )

  4. aspiring = I haven't got there yet (glass half empty) *OR* I'm still enjoying writing in my spare time and not having any real deadlines (glass half full :-])

    And I promise I'll do a happy dance for you too when you get to call yourselves AUTHORS!

  5. ha! thanks, mike. i can always use a good laugh. we totally asked for it. :0)

    do it joanna! nobody here will deny it.

    i'll read it, megan! send me an email! :0)

    thanks, rachel! i totally agree with your glass half full take. and thanks for saying WHEN and not IF!!! :0)


  6. To me it can be hopeful when I'm in a good mood and pleased with my writing but when I'm down on myself (like all writers do...you know...THAT feeling) It's the crappiest title ever and I hate it. It means I'm failing. (though that isn't really the truth. But writers tend to be a little dramatic..;)

    I LOVE this idea for December!! Can't wait to see more!

  7. Sounds so easy! ; )

    I've been aspiring for four years. I hope to just be an author sometime soon. I'm keeping at it!

  8. colene-yes, i get THAT feeling all the time (just ask erica!)

    theresa-that's the best we can do. :0) try, try again...until we get the YES we are all waiting for!

    at least we all have each other!

  9. I like the word aspiring. It's ambitious, it's hopeful, it's passionate, I gives you a goal. Of course there are repercussions, but just remember, if there is no aspirations, there is nothing to aspire too. Where would all those talented people be know without it!


  10. It can be hopeful sometimes for me, and not so much other times. At least I have all that checked off on your list (up until the querying part- not to that yet!). So that makes me aspiring right? The worst is when my hubs tells people I write novels and they're all like, oh are you published? no...grr...How AWESOME will it be when I'm all "yeah, actually I am published, so BAM!" So yeah. Aspiring..we all go through it!


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