Since I’m waist-deep in my current work in progress, I’ll take the easy way out and re-run one of my guest posts for the 49 Writers blog (http://49writers.blogspot.com). This was published there on June 25, 2014.
Top 5 Tips for Writers
Here’s my two cents on what writers need to know:
1.Forget the “rules.” You hear a lot of rules when you start writing: Don’t use adverbs. Don’t use flashbacks. Always write every day. Always get an agent early in your career. (Or the flip side of that, always self-publish if you don’t find a publisher right away.) Those are good tips, for many people. But you have to do what’s right for you. And everyone has a different writing style and a different journey in their writing life. So don’t worry too much about the rules. Find what works for you.
2.Read. A lot. You may not be aware of it at times, but reading books (or poetry or whatever strikes your fancy) is a great way to absorb lessons in good writing. Plus, it is good to know what’s already published out there. And of course, it will remind you of what you love about books in the first place. So read as much as you can.
3. Write. A lot. Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers popularized the idea that you have to practice something for 10,000 hours to become an expert in the field. I think there’s some truth to that. To become an accomplished writer, be prepared to put many, many hours into it, and really practice the craft of writing.
4. Take your writing seriously. No one, including your family and friends, will take your writing seriously until you do. Make it a priority in your life, make it clear to others that you do, and you will find the time, motivation, and the perseverance needed to keep writing.
5. Write what you love. I started writing Fools Gold in 2006 and (with a few writing breaks and interruptions) got it polished, edited, and published in 2013. I stuck with it because I love my characters, Ellie, Duke, and Billy. If I’d written a certain book because it was the latest fad, I would have become bored with it, and it never would have been published. I stuck with it because I write what I love.
Of course, I advise you to go back to #1, and only follow the tips that make sense for you. Whether you follow my tips or throw them all out the window, I wish you the best of luck and many hours of happy writing.
I recently started a regular blogging gig with Romancing the Genres (http://romancingthegenres.blogspot.com). Their theme for the month is writing advice, so I recommend you go there if you’d like read more tips about writing.