Lone Wolf Writing

It is of interest to me when stuff appears on the horizon and it seems to pertain specifically to me. Well, not just me. Others like me, and me. 

Edited to Add: note that it’s not necessary to read the articles linked below so as to subsequently enjoy my brilliant writing.

I’m talking about THIS and THIS articles which, at first glance, seemed to be but mirrors for me to see myself in. They deal with being Lone Wolf Writers. I mean, look at my header, my Gravatar, the name of this blog, all of them screaming it . . . I am a Lone Wolf . . . and I write.

Fall leaves,

Yeah, that’s a photo of leaves, not wolves. Since many places on the mainland are experiencing Fall, I thought I would showcase a few photos from days gone by. Nothing like that here, where I currently live. 

Anyway, I could see myself described in those articles. 

Lone Wolf Writers are those who shun critique groups, avoid craft classes, and cross the street when we see volunteer editors heading toward us. We are known for keeping to ourselves and avoiding too many voices in our heads and in our lives.

Not strictly true that in all of the particulars, but in broad terms, yes. I have little motivation to join a writing group. I don’t have nor am I cultivating extensive — or even minimal — contacts in the publishing field. I don’t go to writing conferences (yes, I went to HawaiiCon and it did have a writing track of sorts, but it was not very well focused; fun, yes, but I made no effort to ingratiate — or even introduce myself — to the talent that was there).

I don’t go online and befriend writers, agents, editors. What few panels and workshops I have attended, I’ve mostly kept quiet and indulged in minimal socializing, if any. 

Fall leaves,

When I saw those articles — especially the title and the opening of the first one — what I felt paralleled my experience in finding out there were other atheists out there in the wild, and that indeed, there was even a word like ‘atheist.’  

Yes, Lone Wolf as described applied to me and my writing. Like I said, I use a wolf head as an avatar; how could this not apply to me? Why, it might have even been written specifically to me, a particularly old and solitary Disperser. I cannot deny I had a certain anticipation about the prospect of learning how a Lone Wolf might “make it” in the publishing field.

Fall leaves,

Before I continue, my disclaimer: please do not misconstrue anything I’m about to say as me complaining, feeling sorry for myself, feeling dejected, suffering from a persecution complex, or in any way courting victimhood status.

Imagine my disappointment when I found out the gist of both articles were less about how to be a successful Lone Wolf and more how to stop being a Lone Wolf and court success. 

I commented on that fact, asking if there’s any path one might follow and achieve success while remaining a Lone Wolf. 

The answer I received was pretty much what I suspected but had never before heard voiced (er . . . seen written):

Most of us refer to our books as our “babies.” No one can make a baby alone.

The publishing process itself is so much bigger than writing. It includes editors, beta readers, layout artists, cover artists, marketing gurus, and, if you’re going traditional, agents and publishing houses. Unless the plan is to write brilliant novels and leave your progeny with the enormous task of seeing them into print after you’re gone, you will have to talk to someone sooner or later. Again, no one makes a baby alone.

I know that’s a hard pill to swallow. It took me years to accept it and crawl out of my shadowy coffee shop corner where I hid to play with my imaginary friends. If you find a way to make it without having to make connections, please write that how-to book. It would definitely be a bestseller among this lot of introverts known as authors.

There was a smiley at the end of that sentence. It was probably intended to ease the blow of what is a harsh truth. I don’t like smileys littering my blog, so I’m not reproducing it here. 

I thanked the person. 


I re-read that answer a number of times. Other commenters congratulated the writer on the cleverness and depth of advice it offered. 

I saw something else. The writer avoided the question. What she described was not so much how one might go about getting published, but the professionals involved in publishing. Yes, once a book is sold — or even if I were to self-publish it — all those people come into play in the effort to transform my final draft into a saleable product. But, those are professional relationships, and I can totally see those as part of my life after I sell a book. Some of those professionals relationships may even turn into friendships. 

The problem I have is with the advice repeated over and over in blogs, podcasts, workshops, in the dark corners of dark alleys . . . nurture friendships so as to leverage them into a professional relationship. 

Now, I’m pretty sure everyone giving that advice will immediately jump up and yell “Nay! That’s not what we are saying!”

They will then explain how you make friends without any thought to the possible benefits of friendship to your own career. That, apparently, happens by way of transmutation, and you cannot then be saddled with the mantle of opportunist because your new friend *wants* to help you out; I mean, they are your friend, right?

See, that argument would carry more weight if the whole advice things did not start with “you need to make friends who will help you achieve success” and end with specifically telling you to “target editors, agents, and other writers.”

Unfortunately, by nature, I can’t make myself befriend someone with the eventual intent of asking them for favors. In fact, I don’t ask friends for many favors, and that includes reading my stuff. Some friends know I write, but they’ve never read anything of mine because the basis for the friendship covers other interests. 

Last year I attended VP and met 23 other writers. I’ve beta-read for a few and I’m glad to do it, but after asking them to beta read a few stories, I stopped asking. I still, however, offer to beta read if anyone makes a general request. No one has specifically asked me to beta read for them, but that’s understandable since I’m not really close with anyone.

At my end, I stopped asking because I felt uncomfortable asking. There’s also the thing that most feedback is too slow. I’m not faulting anyone; people have lives and interests outside of writing.

There’s also the fact that the VP alumni are just a different version of a writing group. Meaning, I’ve not found anyone who writes like me. The Vipers have, in fact, formed feedback groups, but I did not join the two groups. 

Fall colors,

Here’s the weird part: I’m more comfortable with having someone I don’t know very well ask me to read my stuff. In those instances, there is no implied obligation on either side; they are curious, and I appreciate the feedback from someone who has no stake in the matter. Of course, that’s a rare occurrence. It has happened, but not with a frequency making it useful to my writing process.

The advice in the articles explains the process of befriending established writers, editors, and agents. About that . . . I seldom have anything in common with people I see on Facebook and Twitter (maybe because I’m much older than most), so even if I overcame my reluctance to befriend them for personal gain, I’m not sure what would form the basis for an eventual friendship. Add to that the fact most already have a number of friends (sometimes numbering in the thousands) and I see the whole process as futile.

The advice I could really use is how to strike a professional relationship with agents, editors, authors. Yes, I know, sell them something, but that’s the catch-22 I’m facing. Meaning, once I start selling stuff, I will have the level of feedback and interaction I’m looking for now so that I can get closer to making that first sale.

I don’t see is how to jump-start that kind of interaction ahead of making sales. Saying “make friends with them” in not a path I’m comfortable following, and I don’t have the money to hire them professionally.

BUT, fear not, for all is not lost!


All is not lost for I, the Lone Wolf, have a plan. The plan is to shop around the novel(s) I have written (and the ones I will write) as I concentrate on selling short stories. If I can get a few short stories sales under my belt, one of two things will happen; either I will leverage those sales into at least getting a few agents and/or editors to look at my stuff, or I will leverage those sales into selling the novels on my own.

And yes, at that point I would get the village people . . . er . . . the people in the village to help me with my baby; editors, beta readers, layout artists, cover artists, and marketing gurus.

If this a good plan? How the heck do I know? Also, whom would I ask? Isn’t clear by now that I’m a Lone Wolf?

It may very well be I will receive a chilly reception as I shop my stuff around . . . 



. . . but here is one piece of advice I hear over and over and over and over again:

Persistence Pays Off.

Is it good advice? We’ll find out together.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


Note: if you are not reading this blog post at DisperserTracks.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.


Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
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Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Finally, if you interpret anything on this blog as me asking or wanting pity, encouragement, or advice to better my life, know my subtle mix of irony, sarcasm, and humor is blowing right by you.

About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
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19 Responses to Lone Wolf Writing

  1. Eddy Winko says:

    I have to be honest and say I only looked at the pictures and read very little of this post because it asked me to read something else first which was then commented on. I liked the pictures.


  2. paigeaddams says:

    I’ve tried writing groups, but I haven’t had much luck with them. The first one I went to was good, but usually devolved into talking about sports or some topic other than writing and feedback. Then, after moving to a different city, I tried to get into a different writing group, and found that I had to go through an interview process to see if I was good enough – lol, I was not. These weren’t bad experiences, and I did learn from them, but they did make me feel like writer’s groups, although useful, are not for me. :) I might like to try a conference at some point in the future – lol, after I have saved up. XD

    The pictures are beautiful, by the way! :D I LOVE fall! It’s my favorite season – with the changing leaves, the beginning of the holidays, and that little bit of chill in the air. I’m also addicted to hoodies, lol – it’s a serious problem. That’s all I wear right up until it starts snowing, and this begins hoodie season for me. I can’t wait until the leaves start turning here, and I start smelling the carved pumpkins on people’s porches, with the little candles burning inside. Best autumn smell ever, lol. :D


    • disperser says:

      We were lucky there was one here so we saved on the lodging. As cons go, it ended up not being all that expensive. There was one in Denver that would have been about the same since I lived about 40min away.

      However, if you are talking about going to one of the big ones, I would not advise it as a first con. Look for locals ones so you can get a feel for it.

      As for fall, this will be the first year ever that we will have no discernable change of seasons. There are some plusses, but I don’t know how we’ll handle the one season life. Well, two seasons . . . warm and really warm.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. AnnMarie says:

    I like two things, 1) your fall leaves (especially the frosty ones, and 2) your plan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • disperser says:

      Thanks. No SmugMug since they are odd shots I gathered here and there (you can’t see where I’m pointing, but it’s three folders on my hard drive, here, and there).


  4. I think your plan is a good one! And I feel like a lone wolf when it comes to writing, too. So I appreciate that you shared how you feel and what you are learning, etc.

    I read a lot of writers on Xanga for years…and felt my writing was “less than”, so I rarely share any of the stories or poems I write on WordPress. I’ve, also, written 3 books that I’ve not been brave enough to let anyone read. Okay, I let a published writer (and a few family members) read my children’s book/story that I wrote and the writer didn’t give me any feedback positive or negative. I guess it was crap. Or she was too busy. Or something. ??? My family members who read it (who are good writers and very honest) and happen to like it. Oh well.

    Love your Autumn photos! Tis my favorite season!

    HUGS for you and Melissa!


    • disperser says:

      Thank you. I’m a fan of all the seasons, so I have no favorite per se. I suppose my least favorite is Summer, but only if I absolutely have to pick one.

      Sorry to hear about a writer that failed to give feedback.

      If you are truly looking to publish a book, I cautiously offer to beta-read it. That said, if you have no intention of tackling a publishing effort, I would still make that offer but quantify the offer by preceding it with “if it’s in one of the genres I like or if it has a lot of bad-ass/kick-ass heroes fighting for justice”.

      If it’s something with sadness/drama/tragedy and the exploration of how human beings handle such, I’m not likely to enjoy reading it no matter how well-written it is.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. PiedType says:

    I’ve always felt making a “friend” with an ulterior motive in mind is inherently dishonest. That’s not “friendship.” That’s a business arrangement, or politics, or something. It’s a problem I always faced when I was working — my dislike of “networking” just so I’d be able to ask favors of someone later. Of course, minus the politics of networking, a lone wolf who loses her job is sort of up a creek with a very small paddle. (I did my lone wolf writing back in the 70s and it went nowhere.)

    Love your photos. Fall is my favorite time of year and you took the time to take a close look. The red leaves with frost are particularly spectacular.


    • disperser says:

      Thank you. They are, of course, from previous years. I think I will miss the opportunity to photograph the changing of the seasons, but I think I will survive. Plus, I have a large store of photographs spanning many seasonal cycles.


  6. That’s one thing I’ve always enjoyed; autumn/fall, weather always seems nicer, more predictable (well here in Sydney it dos) and the colours, glorious, the only problem that I have with this season s that it’s not long enough.


    • disperser says:

      You’d hate it here. The differentiation between seasons is marked by a slight change in how hot it is. Plants look the same, flowers look the same, and everything grows very quickly.


      • I actually like Hawai’i, I wanted to go there for RR after I forget what it was but my wife said no, whenever she says where do you want to go on holiday I say Hawai’i and she says no. I’m thinking of having a record made of it to play to her every morning as I get fed up repeating myself!


      • disperser says:

        . . . you could stop asking . . .


        • Hoping to wear her down before I’m too bloody old!


        • disperser says:

          It would be mean, but . . . you could give her a choice: visit Hawaii while you live, or agree to scatter your ashes there after you die.

          However, be aware that’s highly manipulative and it could backfire and she takes you up on the latter. Also, seeing as it is a toxic choice, she could decide she has had enough of your gutless self and go find someone else.


        • NO ashes, I’m being bottled, the corpse of me goes to the University of Wollongong, as soon as I’m pronounced dead; for the medical students there to chop up and bottle or whatever else they want to do with said corpse, they’re oing to be surprised at all the missing pieces :)


        • disperser says:

          That’s mighty poor planning on your part. Lost what could have been great leverage.

          I’m out of ideas; you’ll just have to beg longer and more persistently.


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