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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