Since I’m still recovering from Day Job Stuff (which the marathon finally ended on Sept. 30), and just now getting the brain back I haven’t had a good opportunity to process all that was FenCon – so there’s still a convention report coming…probably. I am easing back into all the post-activity normalcy, which means blog posts. AND I just had someone ask for first time writer advice. So this is going to be a quick recap of THAT…
1. Don’t listen to the MUSTs… You MUST write X number of words/time of day/etc. or you’re not a “REAL” writer. No. If you write you’re a real writer.
2. Do THIS ONE THING and you’ll be rich and famous. Yeah, no. Or we’d all be rich and famous.
3. Rosemary Clement said it best… “You do You.” What works for me, works for me. What works for you, works for you. You are not wrong. I am not wrong. There is NO WRONG WAY.
4. In this realm… I tend to be a linear writer: Beginning to Middle to End. I also tend to be a “Discovery” writer (or organic or seat of the pants-er). That’s me. Others write scenes as they come, put it on a corkboard (or digital equivalent) and move things around, or have serious outlines, or whatever. THAT’S OKAY. Does it work for you? Then you’re doing it right!
5. Any day with a word count is a good day. Do they have to be good words? Heck no. Many times they will be unusable words (for that project) or it will be something non-project related. There will be small word counts and big word counts. Does it matter? No. Can it be a blog or tweet or grocery list? Yes it can.
6. Will there be days without word counts? Yes, there will. Is that a bad day? Not necessarily. Stuff happens. Life happens. Health stuff happens. Things happen. If you don’t write one day (or 37 depending on the circumstances) don’t beat yourself up and think you completely suck as a writer. You don’t. It’s not dieting – Yo Yo Writing won’t mess up your health but it may not be the most productive thing. Some people are everyday writers. Others are binge writers. You be you.
Catching the theme yet?
7. It’s okay to write on multiple projects simultaneously. It’s okay to focus on one project until it’s done.
8. Pick a writer’s group that encourages you to grow and be better – or don’t pick a writer’s group at all. It’s good to get feedback from objective individuals that way you find the things that could be better and either make them better or stop doing them. but again if a group is not your thing, find what is and make it work for you – like a group of beta readers. Or hiring a professional editor.
9. Don’t take anything too seriously or personally (this is super tough because it’s all subjective). You won’t always agree on the feedback but it’s not generally designed to be a personal attack – unless it is, then run away from that feedback.
10. AND SUPER IMPORTANT — don’t be a jerk. Be professional and kinda courteous when you ask for advice, make professional connections, or send out your work. Don’t argue or pick fights if someone doesn’t like what you wrote (because not everything is to everyone’s liking). It’s Golden Rule time. You don’t want to deal with jerks – don’t be one in return. Ask questions.
Boom…my top 10 list of advice for up-and-coming writers.
Resource: If you do the podcast thing? Listen to Writing Excuses.