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What’s the Best Writing Life Advice You’ve Received?

Have you been reading a lot lately? What was your latest recommended read? Have you read any of the above posts?

The writing life is a roller-coaster. Or a hamster wheel. Or a video game with endless levels. Take your pick. A lot of the writing life is what we make of it, and I learned this the hard way.

The two most important lessons I gained were:

  • There is no one-size-fits-all writing advice other than: read a lot, write a lot, and possibly, be open to feedback.
  • You must define what success looks like for you, in your writing life.

And, that, gentle reader, is the extent of what I thought I had to say. Turns out though, I’ve said more. While pitching for guest posts as part of my (very sedate) marketing plans for The Blue Bar, I discovered a few posts I’d written earlier, which do give some writing advice beyond the basics. So, other than my usual guest post series, here are a few writing advice discussions:

Dear Writer, How Many Times Have You Been Rejected This Year?

“Rejections, when raw, are the worst thing. I should know, because I got rejected  this morning–for a grant I’d worked very hard to get, for an organization I adore. You might be tempted to stop reading, right here. I’ll urge you to go on, because we all face rejection, but not all of us call it a friend… read more.”

Find a Writing Group That’s a Great Fit for You

“The writing life is hard. Anyone who writes seriously, hoping to do it for a long period, needs support, and this is where a writing group comes in. We all have an image of a writing group in a home or a cafe, tea and snacks on the table, a bunch of writers chatting away… read more.

What Difference Does Your Writing Make in This World?     

“I found dozens of stories, and also much inspiration to try and help wherever I could. I wrote them down and they began to interconnect… I heard so many stories. Stories of pain, of rage, of grief. Of deprivation. Of prevailing against the odds. Of small joys. Of friendships old and new.  Of change. Of remaining the same… read more.”                         

How to Improve Writing Productivity Amid a Pandemic

“If we’re writing, and writing consistently and with intention, we are writers. Given our busy lives and the current pandemic that is reshaping our world, the time to write is always in short supply. I’m often asked: how do you make the time to write? In my case, the answer is simple:.. read more.”

Are You Staying Healthy as an Author?

“Managing time better–making lists, and ticking them off as they get done. Consciously make sleep a priority–with no sleep, you’re less productive. Use earplugs, scents, chamomile tea–whatever brings on the snoozies… read more.

And even some writing advice specific to my genre:

How to Plant Red Herrings in Crime Fiction   

Red herrings do not exist in nature, the term is an idiom—for a rather fragrant distraction (herrings are cured in brine and roasted to give them a red color) that would take the detective off the scent of the real culprit. Red herrings are the author’s way of making everyone other than the real culprit a suspect… read more.”                                                                                                                         

Tips on Writing Crime Fiction  

“Characters are everything. Many readers have written to me about how much they cared about the characters, how pleased or disappointed they were for these fictional people. How the novel stayed with them. So I believe characters must be 4-dimensional, unique, independent beings… read more.”

Beyond these, of course, I send out writing life advice each month in my Daily (w)rite Writing Gazette. If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can get some curated writing life advice here.

Do any of these writing advice articles make sense to you? What was the best piece of writing life advice you were ever given?                                                                            

My lit crime novel, The Blue Bar will be out this October with Thomas & Mercer. It is already available for preorders. Add it to Goodreads or pre-order it to make my day.
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Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • DutchIl says:

    Thank you for sharing the ideas!.. I am not a writer but advice wise, I simply let my fingers do the walking and my heart do the talking… 🙂

    Until we meet again..
    May the road rise to meet you
    May the wind be always at your back
    May the sun shine warm upon your face
    The rains fall soft upon your fields
    May green be the grass you walk on
    May blue be the skies above you
    May pure be the joys that surround you
    May true be the hearts that love you.
    (Irish Saying)

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      “fingers do the walking and my heart do the talking” is the best advice–and that’s a lovely way to put it.

  • Sonia Dogra says:

    Great advice as always. I don’t write thrillers/crime, so will talk about the first few. I’ve been rejected so many times. At first it felt terrible. Then I decided to work on my craft. I think just about a few acceptances help you deal better with the rejections and give you the courage to keep sending out. I found myself a critique group last year after several misjudged camps. Don’t get me wrong. I mean not everyone fits in everywhere. The critique group has certainly helped me improve by heaps. Thank you for encouraging. I agree with the first host up there. If there’s one word to describe you, it’s inspiring.

    • DamyantiB says:

      Thank you so much Sonia! That means a lot to me. Also, yes, we can all thrive and be ourselves as long as we find the right support 🙂

  • Thanks for your usual useful notes to help us write better Damyanti

  • JT Twissel says:

    I think the old “don’t be afraid to kill your babies” is the best advice. In other words, you may have written a passage that you adore but if it drags the plot down, delete it.

    • DamyantiB says:

      Absolutely! In order to be our best version, we have to make certain sacrifices that might hurt us at first, but will be the winning move, long term 🙂

  • The best writing advice I received was from my first creative writing professor: Don’t even think about publishing until you’ve learned your craft. I found that advice incredibily liberating at the time.

  • setinthepast says:

    Accuracy in historical fiction!

  • writing life is a roller-coaster. Or a hamster wheel. Or a video game with endless levels – which is true of all life not just a writing life…

  • Jack Eason says:

    Don’t procrastinate. Write, write and write some more…

  • That’s a lot of excellent advice. I like how understated you present it–nothing pushy, only what works.

    Looking forward to your book…