So I said I was going to re-cap what I’ve learned this year in my little writing world. I have done that and listed is as a Volume 2 for my 10 Writing Tips I Wish I Would Have Known. (If you’re looking for Volume 1, I have it right here!)
1. End a writing session and KNOW what is going to happen next.
I used to wrap up my writing sessions by ending a scene. I would then be stuck on where the story was going next so what did I do? I stopped writing. Ugh, do you know how hard it is to go back into your next writing session without knowing where the story is going? Try stopping in the middle of a scene where you know what will be happening next. It makes starting up again easier.
2. Purchase an e-reader.
Guys, I really resisted buying an e-reader because I was all, “real books are so much better”. And yes, they are very nice to put on your shelf and very pretty to stare at for long periods of time, but if you are a writer like me that means you are a very avid reader. If you are an avid reader, you read in many places and different times in the day. Whenever you have a moment you read. That is what makes e-readers so convenient. So many books to choose from right at your finger tips! I still buy my favorites so my shelf display is mostly my top reads. Win-win!
3. Get familiar with sites like NetGalley.
Also, if you want to snag some of the latest release for free, sign up for NetGalley. Make sure to fill out your profile completely and it will probably help if you have at least a personal blog that you update semi-regularly. But basically, you can request digital ARCs from sites like NetGalley in exchange for your honest review either on your blog, Goodreads, or Amazon. This helps you save a few bucks while staying current on releases in your genre.
4. Go to a Writer’s Conference.
I went to the Midwest Writers Workshop in July of this past year and whoa, what an experience. It was so amazing to be around so many writers at the same time. I don’t know how it is in your town, but it is hard to find people as passionate as I am about books and writing. At a conference you are surrounded by them. You can start mention authors and book titles and be rewarded with nodding heads instead of confused stares. Making friends was easy and it renewed my love for the written word to be in a space surrounded by those who shared my passion.
5. Try your darnedest to not write passively…aka use strong verbs.
What this means usually is removing is/was. Something like: “I was fighting the man for my money.” is a passive sentence. A more active way to write this sentence is: “I fought the man for my money.”
6. Take chances.
At said writing conference above, my friend and CP dared me to read a portion of my novel in front of a large audience. I calmly accepted but inside I was freaking out. I would definitely have NOT done it if she hadn’t been there to push me. But looking back, I’m glad I did. Many people came up to me afterwards and told me they really enjoyed it. How cool is that?? I’ll tell you. Pretty freaking cool.
7. Don’t anxiously compare yourself to other writers.
I did this a lot in the past year. Other writers were finishing up their manuscripts and querying while I still struggled through my plot. Friends were acquiring agents while I slaved over the ending of my fifteenth chapter. Others will work faster than you. Others will find success in other ways than you. Everyone has their own path to walk on their road to publication and none of them are paved the same way. Your path is your own. Don’t start to think that other people’s successes and achievements leave less room for your own.
8. Don’t use the above as an excuse to not get your work done.
At the same time, don’t use this as an excuse to never finish. Sometimes if you start to tell yourself TOO much that your creative process takes this long, you may just be stalling to finish your project. Yes, we all have different paces but you need to finish your story at some point. If you are lost in the direction it is going, find some kind of ending and hand over the dripping mess to your CPs. That is what they are there for – to help you FIND the problems. You can’t uncover a solution until you give yourself (and others) a starting point to work from.
9. Be a sponge of information, experiences, and ideas around you.
So many things are happening around you all the time and you never know what could be the gem that finds its way into your novel. No matter where you go, if there are people there, you will have things to observe. If there are no people there, you have nature to inspire you. Be open to new experiences, new ideas, and new information. You never know what will spark the idea for your next story or ignite the beginning of a twisted new character, so keep your eyes and ears open.
10. Be gracious. Be respectful.
When interacting with other writers, readers, editors, agents, whoever – be gracious and respectful. If people comment on your blog posts, thank them. If a writer friend sells a book to a publisher, congratulate them. If an agent turns down your manuscript, thank them for the time they took considering it at all. If a reader doesn’t love your book, accept that as part of being a published writer and move on. There will be many more that love and praise it and that is all you should be concerned about. We can’t touch everyone with our stories, but the few we can will never forget them.