Friday, January 4, 2013

Let's Exchange Advice

Lately, I've been tweeting thoughts on writing with the hopes of inspiring and motivating fellow writers, both aspiring and established. The response has been positive and in the process, I've had some great conversations with others and it's been inspiring to hear what they have to say.

First of all, here are some of my tweets in case you missed them:

Now, what I'd like to do is have you all share your favorite pieces of advice. When I was an aspiring author, I loved going to author events (and still do) and listening to what the authors had to say about the life of a writer and the process that goes with it. One of the first and best pieces of advice I received was "Write what you love, not what you know" and I've held on to that for years. So let's inspire one another, shall we? Comment away! :-D


  1. Don't be afraid to write crap.

    That's always been my favorite. If you have crap, you can carve a diamond out of it. A blank page is just a blank page.

  2. I actually keep a scriv file full of encouraging bits. My two favorites are Victoria Schwab tweeting about faking it, "They say fake it til you make it but I think believing you can write books might be one of those things you never stop faking. That fear/self-doubt, I don't think it ever goes away. I asked @Neilhimself once if he still felt it, and he said EVERY BLANK PAGE. I have to get it through my head that it's OKAY to mess up. If for some 'horrible' reason I don't get it right, I can fix it."

    Just knowing that both she and Neil Gaiman have that same fear that comes from nowhere is reassuring to me. Because if they, with multiple books either out or coming out soon, still feel that, then it's normal, inevitable, and all I have to do is acknowledge the feeling and don't let it hold me back.

  3. My favorite quote is this: "Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention." It personally gives me hope. Something else that encourages me is when I hear authors talk about how long it took them to get their agent or get published. That they too have faced rejection after rejection after rejection. But they never gave up. And, when the timing was right, they got that agent and that book published. It will happen. You just have to believe that it will and in the meantime, keep writing. Keep learning.

  4. My advice is that we, as writers in all shapes and sizes of the word, be gentle with one another.

    I have seen writers tear apart others for one reason or another, saying they are an embarrassment to their craft and should be ashamed of how they've made their living. Can you think of anything more devastating? To be told that something you've poured blood, sweat, and tears into is something you should be ashamed of? We all know, whether our work is excellent or abysmal, that is nearly always a labor of love.

    Be critical, sure, offering suggestions where you are able. Certainly like what you like. But remember, behind the words is a real live person who longs to do greater things.

  5. One of my favourite bits of advice isn't specifically about writing, but it applies well.

    By Karen Lamb: "A year from now, you'll wish you started today."

    Another one, and I have this one on my blog, is something that reminds me that the reward (fulfillment/satisfaction) is worth the effort (of writing). It's not really 'advice' but it works to keep me trying when I think that writing is just too hard, maybe I'm not meant to do it.

    By Dorothy Parker: "I hate writing. I love having written."

  6. Great post for the new year, DJ!

    My advice is to find a writing community. Writing is such a solitary pursuit but through Twitter, SCBWI and in-person critique groups, I've found a whole slew of people who can cheer and comfort, offer distraction and provide focus and generally make me feel less alone on this crazy journey.

    Speaking of crazy, on days I feel like the odds are stacked so high, I sing along to Sometimes Even Crazy Dreams Come True (from Smash soundtrack, on itunes) and remind myself of the dashboard drummers, hairbrush singers and all the others pursuing long-shot dreams!