Skip to main content

Do’s and Don’ts for the Beginning (and Experienced) Writer

Week Five in the Writerly Chronicles from my Orangeberry Book Tour:

1.     Do read widely. Yes, you must read historical romances if you want to write historical romances. There are familiar styles and jargon that readers expect, as well as trends in the market that you would be wise to know. On the other hand, don’t limit your reading menu to only the books you intend to write. Broaden your literary and imaginative horizons by reading widely. Think of this as you would your daily diet. Although I love chocolate (too much), I appreciate it so much more when I’ve enjoyed a widely varied palate of foods. Your writing mind will thank you if you’ve fed it a colorful diet of fiction and non-fiction, poetry and cookbooks. Okay, maybe the cookbooks are just for me.
2.     Don’t talk about wanting to write your first novel. Write it. It has never been easier to become a published author. So if you truly want to be one, then start writing and don’t stop until you’ve reached the end. Attending conferences, reading books about writing, sharing your writing journey with your friends on Twitter or Facebook, are all wonderful parts of the writer’s life. But the most essential part is actually finishing that book! And do finish it. Get the first draft down as quickly as you can so that none of the above distractions will keep you from reaching your goal. Once you’ve finished the first draft, pat yourself on the back, tweet all your friends, post a pictures of the manuscript you’ve printed out on Instagram, and then go back to work. When you finally bring your book to the market, either through a traditional publisher or through self-publishing, you will win the well-deserved praise of your friends and family.
3.     Don’t let the negative criticism of others stand in your way. Trying anything for the first time, such as writing a novel, can be intimidating. Most of your friends and family will be incredibly encouraging and generously tell you that they believe in you, just when you no longer believe in yourself. Savor those words and hold them in your mind when the fear of failure begins muttering in your ear. You’ll especially need those kind words when some unknowing or worse, uncaring, buffoon attempts to rain on your writing parade by telling you that there are too many writers in the world. That you’ve never been successful at anything, so why would  you be able to write a book. And that self-publishing your book isn’t as valid as getting published by a traditional publisher. Those words are not the truth. They are a distraction. They are meant to keep you from achieving your dream. Which is why you must ignore them and keep writing.
4.     Never give up. Or let a lack of funds stand keep you from publishing your book. Keep writing until you’ve finished your story. And then begin the hard work of getting it published. If you choose to pursue traditional publishing, start writing those query letters to literary agents. If money is a concern, go to the library speak with a reference librarian, who will gladly provide you incredible resources for finding and reaching out to agents and publishers. Many of these resources can also be found online for free, as well. If you choose to self-publish, don’t feel that you must wait until you can afford the fees associated with obtaining a professionally designed book cover, a beautiful book trailer, a professional editor, an industry recognized reviewer. Yes, all of those things are wonderful and sure to help you launch your book. But, with the help of your capable friends, and the free online resources such as KDP service or Createspace, you can literally publish your novel for free. One caveat: Line editing your manuscript is essential. If you can’t find a professional editor, try trading editing services with a writing friend.
5.     Pay it forward. Once you’ve achieved your dream, soak up the adulation, revel in the notoriety, and then pay it forward. Share your hard-earned platform with another aspiring author. There are plenty of readers to go around, you won’t be losing yours by introducing them to your friend’s literary debut. Make it your goal to be the most generous of your writing friends and you’ll never be poor. And no, I’m not talking about money. But you knew that, didn’t you!


wayne said…
Very well said, Suzanne.

Alisha said…
Great tips! Passing these on to one of my writer friends. She is going to LOVE the encouragement from this. THANK YOU!! :)


Popular posts from this blog

When our spirit hungers

The precocious toddler’s interest in talking to her mother grew in insistence as the gathered group settled in for an hour of silent prayer. Shushing didn’t work, so the mother led her child into an adjoining room where she would still be part of the sanctuary, but sound would be dampened. Despite the closed door and heavy glass walls, the child’s fervent desire to speak with her mother was still audible.
I said a prayer for the patient mother determined to stay, and for the child who was either tired or hungry or impatient for Mom’s undivided attention. And then tried to bring my wandering thoughts back to prayer. I had come to Adoration with my own pressing need for answers.
Over the past few weeks I’ve noticed a growing emptiness in my heart. A void, as if something is missing. It’s not psychological. Not physical. After doing an internal check, I determined it’s a spiritual void that I’m experiencing.
No, I’m not doubting God, his existence or goodness. I have full confidence in…

Open to the Spirit - Book Review

Open to the Sprit is like reading a letter from a friend. McKnight writes a very accessible introduction to the Holy Spirit and its role in our spiritual life. McKnight uses several stories from his life and others to share how the Holy Spirit consoles and deepens our daily spiritual walk. A terrific book for those seeking an introduction to a relationship with the Holy Spirit.

Simple Spinach and Kale Fettucine

On Wednesday I picked up my first box of organic from the High Country Conservation Center’s Summit CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Way back in February, I bought a ‘share’ in this summer’s crop, which entitles me to a weekly box of organic vegetables from mid-June through October.

Now that the vegetables have arrived, I have two reactions: 1) Wow! This is so exciting! Look at these beautiful vegetables, I’m going to be so healthy. 2) Yikes! What am I going to do with four bags of greens?

For the next sixteen weeks, I want to share my culinary adventures as I cook my way through my CSA box each week. Even if you don’t subscribe to the CSA share, you’ll enjoy these recipes which focus on our summer bounty. I hope you’ll also be inspired to try more vegetable-centered meals. Now, back to those four bags of greens! 

This week’s recipe polished off two of the bags immediately. You can make this easy and tasty recipe for two or four people, just increase the amount of greens and th…