The Writer’s Life – Jodine Turner

“You simply sit down at the typewriter, open your veins, and bleed.” ~ sports columnist Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith, 1949

“I think all writing is a disease. You can’t stop it.” ~ William Carlos Williams

Words come from an author “drop by drop.” ~ Reverend Sydney Smith, 1855

“All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Of all that is written I love only what a man has written with his blood. Write with blood, and you will experience that blood is spirit. Whoever writes in blood and aphorisms does not want to be read but to be learned by heart.” ~ Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, 1880s

“Writing is simple, Muffy,” says Jeff MacNelly’s Perfesser in the comic strip Shoe. “First, you have to make sure you have plenty of paper. . . sharp pencils. . . typewriter ribbon. Then put your belly up to your desk. . . roll a sheet of paper into the typewriter. . . and stare at it until beads of blood appear on your forehead.”


Yes, the life of a writer. We are familiar with how we sequester ourselves in our office equipped with our computer or even pen and paper. Our companions are our creativity, inspiration, dreams, visions, and our muse sitting on our shoulder. Oftentimes our cat or our dog sit at our feet (or walk across our keyboard!)

When I wrote my first novel, The Awakening: Rebirth of Atlantis, I told my husband not to open the door to my office where I was writing unless it was a dire emergency. I had to occasionally remind him that the question, “Where do we keep the peanut butter?” doesn’t count as an emergency.

I penned that first book in 6 weeks. Revising and editing were another matter. Years, actually. The other novels also took years.

The Hidden Abbey coverThat is why when we, as authors, receive accolades, good reviews, or letters telling us how our novel changed someone’s life, we rejoice. So, I recently rejoiced when notified my latest work was awarded. The Hidden Abbey is a finalist in the NIEA (Annual National Indie Excellence Awards) 2020 in the Visionary Fiction category. A good thing for me to celebrate, especially with my novel’s timely visionary message aimed at today’s turbulent world: embodied love.

Excerpt from the 14th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards (NIEA) Press Release:

Winners and Finalists are determined on the basis of superior written matter coupled with excellent presentation in every facet of the final published product. Indie Excellence proudly celebrates the talent, dedication and love authors put into the book product.

Talent, dedication and love. That’s a sure recipe for writing a novel.

What is your sure recipe for writing a novel?

Which of the quotes mentioned here, above and below, is your favorite?


“You write in order to change the world…if you alter, even by a millimeter, the way people look at reality, then you can change it.” ~James Baldwin

“Write what should not be forgotten.” ~Isabel Allende

“Because this business of becoming conscious, of being a writer, is ultimately about asking yourself, How alive am I willing to be?” ~ Anne Lamott

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is … the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” ~Mark Twain

“I don’t need an alarm clock. My ideas wake me.” ~Ray Bradbury, WD

“To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard.” ~ Allen Ginsburg

“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.” ~Harper Lee, WD

“Life is like a recycling center, where all the concerns and dramas of humankind get recycled back and forth across the universe. But what you have to offer is your own sensibility, maybe your own sense of humor or insider pathos or meaning. All of us can sing the same song, and there will still be four billion different renditions.” ~ Anne Lamott

* Editor’s note: this article was originally penned in July 2020.



16 thoughts on “The Writer’s Life – Jodine Turner

  1. margaretduarte says:

    Oh so very true, Jodine. Especially… “I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.” ~Harper Lee, WD.

    Congratulations on finaling in the NIEA . So well deserved!

  2. Gordon Keirle-Smith says:

    Thank you, Jodine for your wonderful collection of “authorisms”. Ring true for all of us. Particularly in Glastonbury. I had an epiphany there at the age of 16. Did a retreat at Chalice Well at the age of 40 – and went back a couple of years ago for a private meditation in the “Upper Room”. Such a magical place…
    Enter “Glastonbury Chalice Well” on YouTube and you’ll find the video you should find…

    • Jodine Turner says:

      Your words touched a special place in my heart, Gordon! Yes, Glastonbury is indeed a magical place. I , too have visited several times and eventually lived there for 13 months. It is sacred land and gave me so much inspiration. All of my novels take place in Glastonbury/Avalon. Would be interested one day to hear of your epiphany at age 16 that you had there.

  3. Gerald R Stanek says:

    Congratulations on being a finalist in the NIEA! I think a sure recipe for writing a novel is being deeply moved by one you’ve read—and bored to death by another. My favorite thought on writing is from Steinbeck: “The writer must believe that what he is doing is the most important thing in the world. And he must hold to this illusion even when he knows it is not true.”

  4. Jodine Turner says:

    “sure recipe for writing a novel is being deeply moved by one you’ve read—and bored to death by another. ” You always make me smile, Gerald! I was deeply moved by “The Mists of Avalon.” Hence, my travel and eventual living there for a while, and researching for my novels there. Love the Steinbeck quote.

  5. Christina Greenaway says:

    Congrats, Jodine. Your nomination uplifts us all.
    I love all of the above quotes about writing, but here’s the one that serves me best:
    “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” – E.L. Doctorow

  6. Robin Gregory says:

    Big congratulations for your NIEA nomination, Jodine! I love Fitzgerald’s underwater quote. Writing really feels like that sometimes. Regarding the question, “What is your sure recipe for writing a novel?” I’m not sure there is such a thing. But one REALLY important aspect of good writing is to choose a theme and address it somehow in every chapter, turning it upside down, subverting it, dissecting it, and reveling in it through character’s actions. Delivering through a teachy manner doesn’t seem to be effective.

    • Jodine Turner says:

      I like how you say “choose a theme and address it somehow in every chapter, ….and reveling in it through character’s actions.” Yes, infusing everything with it!

  7. rea nolan martin says:

    congratulations, jodine!
    and thanks for all the quote reminders that when we persevere, we are surely swimming against the tide, not only of our craft, but of pedestrian consciousness . it does help to remember that what we do isn’t easy. your nomination is well-deserved!

    • Jodine Turner says:

      “pedestrian consciousness”…Yes, and addressing that is the art of opening our readers to expanded consciousness. Muggels?!


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