Thursday, June 12, 2014

Wise Words for Writers

by Alan


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


This is Giving Advice to Writers Week on the blog, so, first, to recap:

On Monday, Meredith advised writers to:

1) Write a lot.

2) Be patient.

3) Become part of the writing community.

I agree wholeheartedly.


On Tuesday, R.J. advised writers to:

1) Never look back when writing (to prevent getting bogged down in re-writing).

2) Throw something unexpected into the story, if you get stuck.

3) Immerse their characters into their surroundings, when describing their settings.

More excellent advice.


Yesterday, Tracy advised writers to:

1) Get independent feedback and join a writer’s group.

2) Remember that rejection isn’t personal.

3) Keep writing, no matter how unmotivated you may be (or how much Pinterest might be tempting you).

I couldn’t have said it better myself.


Now it’s my turn to pontificate, which is difficult because my esteemed blogmates have mentioned some very helpful hints. However, I shall dig deep and give some advice not yet delivered.

So, writers, heed my words:

1) Read a lot. Not only do you have to write a lot, I believe you have to read a lot, too. Don’t stick solely to your preferred or favorite genres, but read in a wide variety of genres and styles. The more you read, the more well-rounded you will become.

2) Take a writing workshop (or two). Learn from someone who’s done it before. Get a look inside the meatgrinder (steel yourself first!) as you critique other workshoppers’ pages. Getting your own work critiqued will help build rhino hide, which so important for writers.

3) Go to conferences and conventions. Talk to other writers to get a glimpse of their writing process. Form a support network. Meet potential critique partners. Learn about how the craft of writing and the business of publishing relate to each other. Develop your drinking abilities in the bar.

Here’s a “bonus” piece of advice: Learn accounting and the principles of financial investing. You’re going to need that knowledge to properly handle the windfall that comes with being a writer! (Well, all my nuggets of advice can’t be winners.)

Now, go forth and write!


RJ Harlick said...

Three more excellent tips, Alan, especially the first one. I am amazed when I meet an aspiring writer who admits they rarely read. So why do they want to become a writer?

TracyK said...

Well said! Excellent tips. I was tempted to add to mine "Sacrifice a goat to the publishing Gods" in case there is one and they are into that sort of thing, but I decided against it. I didn't want to inadvertently start a run on goats.

Meredith Cole said...

More great advice, Alan! I would have put in reading if I had four tips... Now let's see what Art comes up with! (Going last is tough...)

Alan Orloff said...

RJ - I know what you mean. Sometimes I'll bump into a writer who doesn't read their genre and I think, really? And then I think, Good Luck!

Tracy - Can't have a run on goats, can we?

Meredith - Reading is FUNdamental! Yes, let's see what Art has up his sleeve.

Susan C Shea said...

Good advice! Yes, reading is core, but reading outside the genre is part of that. A steady diet of crime fiction tends to narrow the gaze as well as make the tropes too visible for me! I find that reading about science, or art, or some current topic (other than self-help) can open up my thinking and my writing.

Catriona McPherson said...

I like Susan's "read anything except self-help" tip!

Alan Orloff said...

Catriona, not even "I'm Okay, You're Okay, But That Bloke Down the Street is a Bit Daft"?

Paula Gail Benson said...

Wonderful advice, Alan. What a great series. Many thanks!