SJ Duncan

The Tipping Point Blog


So, I'm at my desk, it's almost noon on a Sunday, and, as always, I'm working. Sounds boring, right? But honestly, when I look back on my life as a writer, I wouldn't have it any other way. After all the effort, all the trials, all the years of struggling to find my voice and establish myself, I've come to this point.





Bash is out. It's good. And I finally feel like the writer I've always wanted to be.




Becoming a writer is no easy path. You begin with a little talent, and visions of success and fame. You spend more time daydreaming about being a writer than writing. You waste a lot of energy talking about story ideas, instead of putting them on paper. You have some talent, so it should be easy. Just churn out a couple of bestsellers, and boom, you're a big, rich writer.


This is where motivations get blurry. Do you really want to write?  Or are you looking for money and fame?


If you truly want to write, you write. And you fail. And you write more. And you fail more. You try too hard. You burden your stories with unnecessary prose and strained dialogue. You labor intensively over individual words without realizing entire paragraphs need to be cut. But you write, and you eventually share your work with your people. Naturally, they tell you it’s great. And you believe them.


This has been your first rite of passage.


The next step for most is submitting for publication. You work up the nerve to send off your stuff, then you wait impatiently for the praise and adulation you’re sure will follow. You can’t sleep at night for thinking about it. You can’t work on anything else until you know something. You check your email hourly. You wait for a call. Your life is about to change. You’re sure of it.


Then, after weeks of waiting, you finally have your answer.


Sorry, pal. Your story just doesn't meet our needs.



You have now entered your second rite of passage. You try again. You’re rejected again. And again. And again.


This is where the story ends for a great many potential authors. It hurts. It knocks the wind out of you. You start to doubt everything. Your friends said you were great, but maybe they were just being nice. Maybe it's time to pack it up and go home. Right?


If your only motivation was to become rich and famous, sure. If you just wanted to be thought of as a writer, absolutely. If writing was nothing more than a ticket out of an unhappy life, then yes, you give up. You try something else. You become a YouTuber jumping off things with homemade parachutes. You relegate yourself to the blogosphere where you can write snide, snarky reviews of other people's work, while never perfecting anything of your own. Because that's safe. You can pretend that's what you wanted all along.


But if writing is in your soul, you carry on. If you need it more than you need the money, or the notoriety, or the accolades, you continue to write. Day after day. Year after year. You write and you grow stronger. Eventually you tire of writing lofty, unnecessary prose. You get sick of your own strained dialogue. You learn to be easy with your words. You learn to spot the desperation in your own voice, and to cut it without remorse. And as you grow into your talent, you find ways to get your stuff in the hands of readers. Even if it means printing up chapbooks. Or creating a webzine. Or self-publishing your novels and selling them at mom-and-pop bookstores and sidewalk signings.



If you need to write more than you need anything else, you find ways to make it happen. And in that trial by fire, you are tempered. You are strengthened. You begin to understand yourself and what it is you’re trying to do. Year after year, you piece things together. Day after day, you forge your ideal self from nothingness.


And then, after all the unpublishable novels, after all the false starts and ugly rough drafts, you write something that sings. Something that stands out from your earlier work. Something that you know, without a doubt, is special.


This is where I’m at with Bash.



Some are calling it my breakout book. And I believe them. Because writing this book was an act of breaking out. I broke out of old patterns and routines. I broke out of desperation. I broke out of myself and my own pain, and wrote something new, and engaging, and entertaining.


So, yes, I believe them when they say this is my breakout book. I’ve been chipping away at this for a long time. This is all I've ever wanted. And now that I'm beginning to breakout, I can't wait to see what's on the other side.




         Available now!




2017-07-06 11:58:52 - Krystal Sutton
I've been a fan of SJ Duncan for years now and have thoroughly enjoyed watching him grow and shape himself into the writer he desires to be. I just ordered my copy of Bash from, and I can't wait to get started on it!
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