Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Some writerly advice

As some of you may know, I'm the featured writer at Word Weavers this week, and I promised them a blog for Tuesday, so I thought I'd dedicate the entry to some of the things I've learned as a writer and an editor over the years.  Some of it is common sense, and I'm sure most writers already know this stuff, but you never know, you might learn something new.
A writer should always try to write every day.  It's not always easy, and I'm certainly guilty of not doing this anymore.  I used to write almost every day, but now that I'm married and have kids, it's not as easy.  As the little one gets older, I imagine it will get easier.
Always follow guidelines.  This one may seem pretty obvious, but you'd be surprised by how many people do not follow guidelines.  None of the magazines that I edit publish horror, and yet I get at least one horror submission every month.
Network, network, network.  In the computer age, every writer needs to network with other writers, and most certainly with readers.  Be sure to have a Facebook page, since that's where the majority of people are hanging out these days.  When that changes in a couple of years (remember MySpace), move along with the change, and keep meeting new people.
If you're a genre writer, go to Cons.  Some people are intimidated by cons, because let's face it, some of the fans can be a bit intense, but they are fans, and if you can get them reading your work, and liking it, they'll be fans forever.  Cons are also a great way to meet other writers, and to talk face to face with editors.  I'm approached by at least a dozen people at every con wanting to talk about Sam's Dot.  You can really learn a lot at a Con.
Be open to criticism.  Even people who don't like your work might be able to give you some good pointers on how to improve.  Now, I'm obviously not talking about the haters out there, but people that have genuine reasons for not liking your work can improve your writing skills.  Yes, you most certainly have to have thick skin, but no matter how good of a writer you are (or you think you are), someone is not going to like your work.
Most important advice of all...persevere.  I have seen a lot of truly talented writers that couldn't take the rejection of writing, and gave up because of it.  And I've seen a lot writers who didn't have much talent to start with, but continued to write and submit no matter what.  After years, these writers developed into true talents because they kept practicing and they learned from their mistakes.
Not sure if any of this helps, but I thought I'd put it out there for anyone that is interested.

1 comment:

Mel Chesley said...

J, your advice is always worth it. I agree with everything you said and I hope Jenna and I can reach as many people in the writing industry as we can with the Word Weavers group. Perseverance is what got us this far!