Friday, 1 November 2013

An aspiring writer's experience

by Debbie Boutilier

My first blog post. How did I get here? Lets start at the beginning. My friend mentioned to me one day that they were writing a book. That caught my interest. I have always wanted to write a book but never quite put pen to paper but I thought it was a great idea, so I joined in. First as support and then as a co-conspirator.

As a voracious reader who reads everything from murder mystery to romance and at least a book a day, I started by reading a few books on writing, did some reading on the internet and talked to my friend. They had joined RWAC and were keeping me in the loop.

I started to flesh out a story in my head. Then I figured I would just sit down and away we go. Well it didn't quite work that way. It sounded easy when I had the idea in my head but it didn't quite translate that easily when I started to type. A lot of starts but not much substance.

Then I joined RWAC. What an eye opener that was. The first meeting left me in awe with everything I hadn't thought of or considered but I was excited.  Deborah Hale did this fantastic presentation which opened my eyes, and made me realize I had a somewhat psychotic story going on with too many themes crammed into one idea which was why I kept going in circles. So I went back and looked at what I had and ferreted out what I really wanted to concentrate on.

Then I went to another meeting and things became a little less fuzzy. The most amazing thing was this great group of ladies so willing to share their knowledge and experience with others. I don't think I have ever belonged to a group that was so open and willing to share and welcome aboard newcomers and support each other. Makes me wonder what the world would be like if woman ran it. Just saying. . .

There is so much I hadn't been aware of or considered when I first thought about writing - pitching,editors, agents, marketing, blogging, web pages, copy rights, IP, twitter and the list goes on.  Do you submit to a big publishing house, do submissions online, go indie? A whole new world and language to learn.

The best thing that has happened was the writers retreat. It was an incredible experience.  A group of eleven ladies some old and some new coming together for a weekend, living in each other's back pockets, so to speak and it all worked.  I didn't know what to expect going into it but it was the most fun I have had in a long time with a group of people while learning a heck of a lot new things about writing.

The brain storming session was great. It made me look at what I was writing in a whole different way and see what I was missing. Getting a look at how others pull together ideas and plot was so helpful. It made me realize that I had only touched the surface with my writing and I have to delve deeper and build my world for my characters.

Things are starting to solidify a bit for me.  I am not going anywhere fast but that's OK - I am enjoying the experience as I go.  The first book will definitely be one of the hardest thing I do, its a part of me. Will I ever write a top 100, probably not, will my first book get published perhaps not, however, I will never regret trying. To finish,

“It’s better to have tried and failed than to live life wondering what would’ve happened if I had tried” – Alfred Lord Tennyson

Debbie Boutilier is enjoying the pursuit of her own writing while still working in the legal field. She is a devoted wife and mother, who loves to travel with family and friends.


  1. I've heard so many awesome things about this year's retreat that I really wish I'd gone!

  2. Lovely blog, Debbie! I agree, it's wonderful to have such a supportive group of women in RWAC. We all "get" each other :)

  3. I'm happy you're part of our group, Debbie! A lot of your writing path mirrors my experience, and joining RWAC was one of the best decisions I've ever made.

    So glad you had fun at the retreat. I've been to every one since I joined, and I'm bummed I couldn't make this year's. Next one!

  4. So glad to have you hear Debbie! And it's funny when you were talking about what's in your head doesn't translate to the page easily ... I still have that problem ... but everyone does! Good reminder for me that we're all in the same boat!!

  5. Wish I could have been at the retreat. Always love it. But the tooth and jaw infection put an end to that. I would have been the bear with a sore head among all the busy bees.
    Guess I'll get to know you the slow way, over the next wile.

  6. What? No edit function? While.
    Must read before pushing go button.

  7. Loved your blog post, Debbie. This is such a supportive and fun chapter.

  8. Really enjoyed your post, Debbie! All of us in the group have gone through the stages you describe here so well. What I see in this post so clearly is your hunger to write. I can relate to that, as well. The great thing about finding a group like ours is the sense of people truly understanding where you're coming from. You can use shorthand and talk about the things you'd always wondered about but didn't know who to ask.

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