TIPS FOR THE WRITING JOURNEY – Part Two

TIPS FOR THE WRITING JOURNEY – Part Two

“I never waited for my Irish Cream coffee to be the right temperature, with a storm happening outside and my fireplace crackling … I wrote every day, at home, in the office, whether I felt like it or not, I just did it.” ― Stephen J. Cannell My goal is to produce good work, on a consistent and joyful basis. That’s right. I want to be happy. Yes, writers write – alone, but that doesn’t mean I have to be grumpy and undisciplined. I am equal parts cheerleader and drill sergeant. Here are a few more observations from my journey: ACT LIKE A PRO Show up daily. No whining. No one is forcing you to do this. Produce and ship according to your plan. Give yourself bonus points for exceeding your goals. Rejection comes with the territory. Not every editor and reader will like your work. Read some of the scathing reviews posted on Amazon for bestselling authors like Stephen King and J. K. Rowling. Snark happens to everyone. Take nothing personally. LEAVE A TRAIL OF GENIUS (Hat tip: Marriott Hotel notepads) Imagine your thoughts, words, and actions ripple out to leave a psychic trail or energetic wake. Does your trail look inviting or repulsive? What sort of wakes left by others – inspiring or discouraging – has entangled you? REFILL THE CREATIVE WELL Recognize your creative needs. What inspires your imagination? Find places or activities which uplift and expand. Museums. Parks. Coffee shops. Libraries. Places of worship. Be open to new experiences. Hang gliding might meet the criteria, but so might reading outside your usual genre. Too much...
Tips for the Journey, pt. 1

Tips for the Journey, pt. 1

“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.”  ― Octavia E. Butler Writers write. Alone. Whether you write fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or fortune cookies, it’s you, all by your lonesome, putting words on a blank page. The weak perish. The persistent develop a collection of tricks to survive and thrive along the path to publication. Here are some of mine: DEFINE YOUR WRITING GOALS Make plans. Be specific. With clarity, a vague goal to “write more” becomes “wake up 30 minutes earlier Monday through Friday and write 540 words before work.” Start with broad strokes, then break it down. A plan to produce two young adult novels per year becomes a math equation: two books, at 70,000 words each, equal 140,000 words, or 11,670 words per month. That’s roughly 2,700 words per week, or 540 words per day, five days a week. Be clear on your Why. Why is fuel. Inspiration. Your reason for writing is as individual as your fingerprint. My desire to entertain is no less valid than someone’s resolve to build an income. KNOW THE FIELD Study the market. Learn the ins and outs of your segment of the publishing industry. If you’re going through traditional channels, know which publishing companies handle your genre. If you’re going indie, you are the company. Know what that entails. Be familiar with your audience. (Hint: most are reading the bestselling and popular writers in your genre.) Understand the accepted practices...