Chocolates For Life And Advice On Writing
If someone promised me endless boxes of chocolate for life to give advice on how to become a published writer in only four short words, I would say this:
Read. Write. Edit. Repeat.
Honestly, that’s my advice in a tiny tidbit.
Read all the time and analyze what you’ve read.
Write all the time and analyze what you’ve written.
Edit your work so tightly that every single word has a legitimate reason for being there.
Repeat the whole thing. Endlessly. Chug chocolate. Do not chug wine or you might end up lying on your laptop making up silly rhymes and songs.
Want more writing advice? Read what these wise women writers have to say…
Weina Dai Randel
Dig a hole at home and write, just write, do nothing else. Don’t tell your friends or family that you’re writing a novel either, because if you do, they’ll ask you how your writing is going each time they see you, and that can be defeating, because writing a book takes a long time, and publishing a book takes even longer.
Amy E. Reichert
Read, write, revise. Repeat. Always keep learning how to be a better writer. Reading and revision are two of the best ways to do so.
Develop thick skin! No one writes perfectly the first time—or any time, for that matter. Writing for publication is a team effort. Enlist the help of early readers, editors, and friends who will be honest and help you make your writing the very best it can be. The better you get at accepting critique, the better your work will become. Remember that the people offering advice are readers: your audience. Their wisdom and insight will sharpen your words, help you develop real, believable characters, tighten your plot, and elevate your writing to new levels
First and foremost, write the novel that you would love to read and trust in your unique ability to tell a story. Once you are finished with a polished manuscript (even though very few authors ever feel truly finished), define what success means to you. There are many roads to publication, from self-publishing and indie presses to ebooks and working with traditional publishers. Once you set your goal, be resourceful and professional in pursuing the opportunities and connecting with the people who can help you reach it.
Be humble. Be open. No matter how much you believe you know about writing and publishing, there is always more to learn, especially in this fast-changing environment. Self-confidence is crucial, but this business has a way of bringing the over-confident to his/her knees. Be humble. Listen.
Join or form a writers’ group when you’re just starting out. Best thing I ever did.
I tell aspiring authors “better out than in.” Sometimes lamenting how to write it or what will or won’t happen after it’s written holds up the process. Plus, I always tell them that getting a story OUT makes room for a new story.
Brandi Megan Granett, Ph.D
Keep writing new things. Don’t say, if an agent doesn’t want this novel, I’m giving up. Each novel you write and each story you put on paper teaches you something new, makes you a stronger writer, and fills your creative spirit. Don’t let the business side of things get in the way of the heart side of things.
My advice to newbie authors: First, and most importantly, it really does take a village to make your dream happen. Writing can be the best solo experience or lonely as hell. Find a writer’s group that is in your community, and I guarantee that they’re there. I’m a journalist as well — and I never just trust my own eyes before turning in anything — be it an article or a manuscript. It is important that you have “your group” or trusty sources lined up to read your work. Find those who will give you raw honesty and not just Yesman-ship.
Write what you LOVE to read — it makes your writing and passion for your topic that much stronger and without a doubt, much more believable. And of course, aside from the necessary writing accoutrement — good vino and great coffee are writer musts to deal with the triumphs and the rejections.
Ignore all the advice. If you’re inclined to write every day, write every day. If you’re inclined to write only when you feel like it, write then and harvest vegetables or walk your dog or love your spouse or read a book in the other spaces. No one else can tell you how to live your life or express your passions, so stop giving them them egress and opportunity to try. Heed the burning in your own gut, and tend your own flames.
Join a formal writing group not just for the feedback, but for the deadlines, which are essential.
Read extensively, but only read books you consider to be “good,” and start to take note of why certain authors appeal to you. Authentic characters? Quickly moving plot? Sharp dialogue? Original description?
When you write something, let it sit for a few days, then print out in a different type face and try to reread/rewrite with fresh eyes.
Learn to separate criticism of your work from criticism of you.
I tell aspiring writers who are not yet published to never give up and to consider all of their options. If you have a polished, finished, edited manuscript but have hit a wall with traditional publishers, maybe you should consider another path. I’ve been small press and self-published as well as traditionally published – yep, I’ve done them all – and each path provides its own rewards. If you’re tired of waiting for your dream agent, or your dream publishing deal, maybe it’s time to take your writing career into your own hands? I have a free download on my website, Real You for Authors, that explains my philosophy. (http://www.kairarouda.com/real-you-for-authors/)
It’s up to you to make your dreams come true.
I know that isn’t typical advice – but it’s my path.
Don’t give up! The road to publication is all about perseverance. You just have to wait for the right person to fall in love with your book.
Katie Rose Guest Pryal
Do everything you can to establish yourself as a professional. Create a professional-looking email address. Claim a professional URL and put up a professional-looking website (even if it’s nothing fancy). Pitch some shorter pieces to publications to develop your professional writing credentials. In short, believe that you are a professional writer, act like you are a professional writer, and you will (voila!) be a professional writer. It’s like magic.