Five tips for writers

As the first day of 2011 slips into night, I wanted to come up with something less awkward than a list of resolutions that won't make it to Valentine's Day. Since I like things short and snappy, I decided to share a list of five tips I've learned as a writer in the last year:
  1. Never forget that writing, while it gets the boys to pay attention to you for something more than your boob size, is a business. If you're serious about writing as a profession, do your research before mass emailing agents with sparkly clip-art ridden queries. Speaking of queries, keep them to the point; you can share more about your Rainbow Pony collection later but right now, stick to the story.

  2. Social media can be your friend -- or bite you in the butt. Twitter is an excellent way to meet people in publishing but take heed that the photos of the lapdance at the convention live forever on someone else's hard drive and can make the rounds.

    Have a grievance during the publishing process? Editor cut out your sub-darling just when it was getting to the sword fight? Talk it over with a friend before venting on facebook. We've seen too many authors fail to tuck it back in when they get upset and screw up a good fanbase when they go nuts on Twitter.

  3. Even if you're not actively writing due to day jobs, travel or that pesky way life can intrude, keep your plot or next article fresh in your mind so you can jump in when you do get a spare thirty minutes. Think of it as priming the pump, baby.

  4. Keep your social life outside of the computer active. I know the friends trapped inside your monitor are awesome but to keep your sanity just a tiny bit longer, make an effort to see people who like you just because you smell nice.

  5. Read. Read outside of your genre, read the newspaper everyday. Read to your children, the neighborhood children, read to the senior who no longer can revel in a good book without help and would love the sound of your voice. There is no writer that cannot learn something new from another's turn of phrase or touched by a writer's experience.
So, what tips can you leave for us? Please post on your blog and leave a link in the comments or within the comment section itself; I'd love to see them!

Happy 2011!

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  1. 1. Journal, babble or fart write.

    2. Schedule your writing time. Hang a sign of your business hours if writng at the kitchen table.

    3. Read books on how to write, grammar, passive versus active, plots, etc.

    4. Join a reputable critique group. I say reputable because some don't know how to tear your manuscript apart. That's what you need in order to write well.

    5. Don't doubt yourself. Keep writing. Go with your gut.


  2. 1. Bloody write!

    That's all I've got. ;)


  3. Awesome tips!! I'll post something like this once I get my blog back up and running.


  4. Thanks y'all!

    Crit groups are their own special blog post. I agree about the benefits of ripping apart a manuscript but since everyone is at a different level of experience, you can easily get bad advice -- or worse, no advice and sunshine blown up your butt.

  5. Wonderful post, and excellent tips!

    One of the goals for this year is to submit query letters. I'll need all the luck I can get! LOL

  6. Well, I'm spoiled because my writer's group has a professional editor guiding us. I've been to others that don't know the hell what they're doing, and tell everyone what a wonderful story they've written, including mine. And may be a wonderful story in passive voice with grammatical errors.

  7. Great tips, and Shelly's are just icing on the cake. I love the idea of a sign on the kitchen table (even if I don't have a family). I could use that at work in the breakroom.

    I think another rule should be to trust your instincts. There are so many 'rules' about what can and cannot be done that people let it stifle their creativity. Go! Be free and write!

  8. That was one tip that I neglected and shouldn't have: be true to your groove. I kissed a lot of literary frogs until I narrowed down what made me happy and willing to sit - with questionable showering habits - at a computer until a manuscript was finished (or at least a chapter).

  9. Nice post, Stac. I have nothing to add. You just rock too derned much ;)

  10. Yes, be true to your groove. Believe in yourself and the story you have to tell. I'm all about positive affirmations right now: You Can Do It!

  11. Great post! The best advice I can give is to invest in other writers and that doesn't mean asking them how much they like your MC five-thousand times. Get interested in other people's work. Beta read for someone or just sit down and talk over their plot with them or help them rewrite a passage. You'll learn so much and you'll make a lot of great friends in the process.

  12. Ah, LeAnne, you are a woman/writer after my own heart!

  13. Good tips. I can't seem to relate to Zombies-must be like a generation gap thing. Bet I'd love your granola though. Great Blog.