Innards, the other white meat. That makes no sense. Just roll with it.

In response to several people reaching out to me for writing advice, I thought I’d put together this list. Each of these require deliberate intent and aren’t always easy or comfortable, but I hope something here helps you avoid learning the hard way, like I tend to do.

1. Trust your instincts, guts, innards, intuition. I’ve had to make countless decisions regarding my novel. Everything from choosing not to work with certain editors anymore, to which genre to market in, to how much and where to cut words from the first draft. You’ll have to make them too, and it can be daunting as hell. You’ll get gobs of advice, some solicited, some notsomuch, and it can be difficult to know what to do. It’s imperative you learn to recognize your intuition and listen.

2. Ignore self-doubt and fear << a different voice than your intuition, which is positive and productive. Doubt and fear are negative and will try their hardest to stop you.

STOMP THEM.

I’ve written a lot about this subject because it’s one of my biggest challenges, but I learned that if you don’t shut the negative voices out and press forward, your work will end up in the trash. That’s no bueno. Never let negativity dilute your creativity. Your story is beautiful and unique to you. If you believe in it, you will soar. WRITE. All of it. Every thought. You can flesh it out later.

Just. Write.

3. Share your work. Very tough to do, trust me, I get it.  We writers tend to be the reclusive sort, but if you’re not letting others provide feedback, your work will never evolve. Producing a finished product takes a village. Find yours and move forward toward your goals.

4. Reach out to others who’ve done it before you. Network. Ask questions. You’ll be blown away by how supportive the writing/blogging community is. Read blogs by people who talk about the real ins & outs of the writing/editing/publishing/marketing journey. Like this one by author Katie Cross. And this one by author & editor Jeri Walker. And this one by the sweary and hilarious author Chuck Wendig. Those blogs are catacombs of writerly inspiration and knowledge.

5. READ. A lot. All different genres, not just the one you typically write in, and not just your favorite. Reading is the most valuable thing a writer can do. As far as “how to” writing books, On Writing by Stephen King is my favorite.

But know this: You will learn more by finishing your first book than you will ever learn in a class, course, book, or blog. PERIOD.

leap 2

 

6. Try Nanowrimo in November. It’s the most insane-eye-gouging-intense writing push you’ll ever experience, but also the most productive. 50,000 words in one month is no joke. It’s amazing what you can accomplish with an inconceivably close deadline. You’ll end up with a heap of sludge, but somewhere in that sludge is a diamond.

7. I came back to add another piece of advice that was left in this here comment section by the fabulous Christine Carter. As soon as I read it I knew it was imperative that I add it. And do you think it’s mere coincidence that this will be number seven??? KISMET I TELL YOU.

Rejection does NOT mean you’re a bad writer. It means your words weren’t meant to be *there* at this time. It means you’re still on your writing journey, which never ends but only evolves at your unique pace. Never compare yourself or your writing to others. It is fruitless. No one can write like you, and vice-versa.

Only compare yourself to the writer you were yesterday.

**This is an uncharacteristically serious post for me. Let’s remedy that.

 

LSD

Anything else you’d add to my list? What part of writing is most difficult to you?

49 comments

  1. “Your story is beautiful and unique to you. If you believe in it, you will soar. WRITE. All of it. Every thought…Just. Write.”

    Thanks for this reminder, Beth.
    Thank. You.

    With heart,
    Dani

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Surround yourself with other writers. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone — don’t get pigeonholed as only writing one type of thing. And write. If you are a writer, then you have to write write write. Great advice, Beth.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Rejection doesn’t mean you are a worthless writer… it means that your writing isn’t supposed to be *there*. Now there is always room for improvement… and I believe the gift of a writer can be developed through painfully long years… and timing is everything.

    I am learning that progress is about practice. some people have a knack for writing eloquently and fluently and flawlessly right at the starting gate. I’m not one of those people. I work HARD through each piece. Every writer has their own progress… never compare to another!

    Love your advice, Beth!! Maybe someday, I’ll be at that point where I will feel ‘ready’ to write a book.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. CHRIS OHMYGOSH. This is such an important addition to my list, I think I need to edit and add it!!! YES YES YES. I will credit you for the idea, of course, and thank you for this reminder. It’s sooooo important to trust the journey and never ever compare! You are a gorgeous writer, Chris. If penning a book is what you desire….I have NO doubt you’ll do it!! xoxoxo

      Like

  4. This post is seriously amazing perfection. And thanks for the shoutout! The best advice is to just do it. You can’t publish or fix what you haven’t written. It’s scary advice, but it works for a reason!

    Love you, Miss Beth!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I get frustrated because I self-edit too much as a I go, but I guess I come by that honestly since I edit manuscripts for a living. When I just sit down and just do it… Just. Write. It goes well enough. It’s just getting the butt in the chair that many of fight so much and for what? I always love having written🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My Favorite: 1. Trust your instincts, guts, innards, intuition.

    Somebody once asked a very famous writer (I forgot who!) about her best advice for other writers.

    She said, “Three words. Read. Read. Read.”

    I agree,

    And Write. Write. Write.

    Congrats on your book, Beth. x

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My favorite Pinterest pin (yeah, I went there) about writing is “Three words for a writer: make me care.” — Buffy Andrews. Or Abe Lincoln? Who knows who really said it. It’s the internet.
    Love your list🙂

    Like

  8. Just write. That’s the simplest advice, but the hardest for me to follow. Writing has to be something you just have to do, like eating or sleeping. If I wrote as much as I read, I’d be more prolific than Stephen King.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I knowwww, Dana! It seems silly that we have to *make* ourselves write, but with a gazillion distractions/commitments in our lives….it’s actually tough to make the time and just do it.

      Like

  9. Why am I always last to a party? Ugh. This is great, Beth. Many things filed away in my head for reference. And somehow I need to save the post.
    Now – how does the NaNoWriMo work if one is not writing a novel, per se. Not everyone does novels, savvy?
    That’s all.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, better late than never, emirate?🙂

      as for Nano, I have two things to answer your question:
      1. you can have the 50,000 be a compilation of poems, short stories, essays…really anything you want to get to that 50,000 words. does’t have to be a novel.
      2. there’s also camp nanowrimo in april; in this challenge you set your own word count. Can be as little as 500 or as much as 200,000 words (yeah right). It’s a much more customizable challenge. For instance, I joined this april and I set my word count at 30,000.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Fantastic post Beth & I’m very glad to find your site (via Jeri). Bizarrely I did a similar post a couple of weeks ago. But as a writer I think it’s good to take stock and really look at the key things. As I’m in the querying agents stage at the moment, I particularly liked the point you meant about rejection. It’s hard not to take it on board as if your writing is for ***t but , just as with accepting criticism (which I now love BTW) we have to have a thick skin, and truly believe in ourselves. Drop either one and you may as well throw in the towel. Thanks so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. well hello there! So nice to see a new face round these here parts! Thanks so much for reading and stopping in comments to say hi! Good luck with your queries! I hope an agent snags you lightning-fast!

      Like

  11. Very nice. While not the same thing, the doubts & fears about throwing everything to the wind and opening a small business keep me up all through the night. I take great inspiration from every single section, except #6: of course I do Nano!

    Like

    1. Your small business situation is a million times scarier than anything I’m doing! And I’ve said in more than one place in this here blogosphere than a certain cousin of mine (wink wink) is the reason I started doing nano in the first place! *nano fist bump*

      Like

  12. Always late to the party, I am. This is terrific advice and I find it incredibly valuable. So, since you’ve done this before you won’t mind when I reach out to you ;)! Seriously, the book is fantastic, the advice is fantastic, you are fantastic and I am so proud of you. I can’t wait to get that book on my shelf!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love when you talk yoda to me, Sandy.🙂 And YES, OF COURSE I will help you! The only way to get through the publishing process is with help from those who’ve done it before you! Even the authors I bug to death with questions say they did the same thing when they first started. You pay it forward.

      Liked by 1 person

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