Monday, June 9, 2014

Three weird tips for aspiring writers

What three tips would you give to a new writer to help them along their journey?

What tips would I give a new writer, besides how to create a blog headline everyone will want to click on? It's hard to pick just three (weird) tips, but here are the most important things I can think of to tell you:

1) Write. A lot.
The more you write, the better you get at it. You may think you're a terrific writer but we all have our weaknesses that we need to work on. So write. Every day if you can. And then write some more. Revise. Repeat.

2) Be patient.
Publishing time is on a different time/space continuum as far as I can figure out. From first idea to first sale to first day of publication years and years will go by. People will ask you what you're working on and if you're published yet. You will try not to growl at them. You will feel that it will never happen. You will want to give up. Don't.

There's always that story about that one guy who wrote a book in a week and then sold it for a million dollars or something. Ignore it. It never happened. And it will very likely never happen to you. Write not because you expect to be rich or famous. Write because you love it. And getting published will be exhilarating when it happens, but it will never be as exciting for me as that moment when I get a new idea that's so wonderful I can't wait to start writing it.

2)  Become part of the writing community.
Writing is a solitary profession, but you sometimes need a reality check and a few people to bounce ideas off of. Join a critique group (in person or online). Join writing organizations like Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. Join the writing community and begin participating. You will soon have new friends who understand what you're trying to attempt and will help you through the dark days of rejection and Writers Block. They will also help you celebrate when you get great news. They will give you query tips and help you learn about the business. They will be there when you go to your first writing conference and will help you work up the courage to approach your favorite writer and tell them how much their work meant to you. You won't regret it.

7 comments:

Paul D. Marks said...

All good tips, Meredith. But I think #1 is the key: write a lot. Or at least just write. Too many wanna-be writers don't write for one reason or another...

Dana King said...

Great advice, all three. I do them all, and have found not only my writing, but my attitude toward writing are much improved over several years ago.

Meredith Cole said...

Thanks Paul! Writers have to write--there's just no getting around it... But for some newbies it's hard to get a routine going.

Meredith Cole said...

Dana-
It was hard to pick just three things to tell a newbie--but I think these three are absolutely non-negotiable. I'm glad they've worked so well for you.

Catriona McPherson said...

Great advice, Meredith. I love No.3 - who else would give a Hurrah! for a box of ARCs or a second printing . . .

Susan C Shea said...

Excellent and can't be said too often. If there's one good habit for writers, it's writing every day. I sometimes fall out of the habit and pay for it. I'm taking that advice these days and whipping through a manuscript that was getting bogged down when I got lazy. Hope a lot of writers/would-be writers read this!

Robin Spano said...

I love it. Thanks. I'm in the "be patient" phase right now. As in, patient with myself because I'm in slooooow motion with #4 after banging out three back to back. All of these are great points.