Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Best Writing Advice Part 2 #IWSG


There's something deeply encouraging about hearing great advice from peers who genuinely understand what it means to choose writing as a career path. In the last month I've been especially encouraged by all my wonderful bloggy friends who have left comments here and on the Insecure Writer's Support Group website. It's because of your readiness to share great advice and to support each other. I'm truly warmed and gratified to be a part of this community.

Consequently, I want to share just some of the advice given in the comments for my post, The Best Writing Advice Ever. It would be a shame for these tips to become lost in the comments. In my post, I wrote that the best advice I've ever been given is to keep writing and don't give up. I put out the question, what other advice have you been given that's been invaluable? Below are some of your answers:

Stephen Tremp, L Diane Wolfe and Kittie Howard mentioned how important it is to write about what you love: "Write what you're passionate about. If you don't, it will show."—L Diane Wolfe

Along similar lines, Patsy Collins said, "Write what you enjoy rather than what you think will sell".

"Often as beginners we spend too much time worrying about all the advice." A very true statement (and one I wish to expand on in a future post) from S P Bowers.

Jemi Fraser was the first to mention how important it is to read. Laura Pauling also emphasised this, along with Jay Noel and Nas

Madeline Mora-Summonte mentioned the importance of hard work and quoted Stephen King: "Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work."

Toinette Thomas said the best advice she was given was to get some beta readers.

Susan Gowley/Kelley said, "As soon as you finish one project, dig into the next or have more than one going at a time."

"Just keep writing everyday." --Pat Hatt

"Finish what you start." --Chris Andrews and Charlotte Brentwood

Nicole Singer shared what her crit group told her on her first day: "Don't take what we say personally, but take it to heart."

"Put a manuscript away and don't revise it immediately." Wise words from Medeia Sharif.

"'There's an audience for everything.' We shouldn't be discouraged if we feel like our writing isn't as epic as someone else's. It's the core emotions and feel that carry book, and there WILL be people who identify with your core." --Crystal Collier

Denise Covey shared advice she read in Donald Maas' writing tips: Dig deep to make the story worth reading.

And to finish off with a chuckle, Shallee McArthur shared what a teacher once told her: The two keys to a good book are to have a unique take on something, and not to suck.

From this great pool of advice, which have you recently found the most encouraging and helpful? Which do you find particularly difficult to follow through on? Is there any other advice you'd like to share?

This post was written for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. On the first Wednesday of every month, we post about our insecurities or share encouragement. To join the group or find out more info, click here.

Note: Alex J Cavanaugh, our resident Ninja Captain extraordinaire, would like everyone to know that his book, CassaFire, the second of a wonderful space opera series, is on sale for a short time at just 99c. If you haven't yet read this series, now is a brilliant time to start (the first book is CassaStar). If you aren't a scifi fan, then don't worry, this series appeals to non-scifi readers too.

72 comments:

  1. Lynda, that was so awesome of you to compile those comments. There is some amazing wisdom there. There is an audience for everything, and sometimes a bigger audience than we imagine.
    And thank you for mentioning the special on CassaFire this week! I just wrote what I enjoyed. That so many have also enjoyed it will forever stun me.

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    1. I'm more than happy to help out with CassaFire. I hope the promotion is a great success! (I've also tweeted! gasp)

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  2. Write what you love and it will show to the reader.

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  3. That's a great list of advice from some amazing writers and bloggers. Thanks for my mention.

    Oh, and you forgot to mention yourself. You've had some great tips over the years.

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  4. I love the comments! They're all right on point, and Shallee's is hilarious - and so true. :)

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  5. Some great advice there. I'd add Set specific, timely, and realistic goals too.

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    1. Realistic goals! Yes!!! So many of us crazy writers set goals that are unmeasurable and simply way out there eg I want to be the next J K Rowling!

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  6. Great tips, Lynda!!! What a great way to share everyone's wisdom.
    I always say, Chew up the meat & spit out the bones when it comes to being a new writer & getting swamped with them.
    Thanks!

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    1. Great additional advice. Of course, the trick is working out which is the meat and which is the bones. ;)

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  7. Such great advice from the comments. Thanks for sharing them.

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  8. Lots of great advice. My favorite ones are writing every and read lots. Yay! Now that I can do!

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  9. Thanks so much for compiling all these quotes - and for including mine - okay, Stephen King's - in there. :)

    I love the one about "not to suck." So simple and yet so true. :)

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  10. dig deep, keep doing it every day... sounds like a miner's business to me.... :)

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  11. All excellent advice.

    Hugs and chocolate!

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  12. So much awesome advice! I love what Crystal had to say--though that's probably something I have the hardest time accepting for my own work.

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    1. Me too! I guess that's why my hubby reminds me so often.

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  13. Not to suck - LOL!

    Thank you for including my quote, too.

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  14. The writing part of this is easy to me. Joyous even. It's the publishing end that I struggle with. I also don't want to write books that suck. Truest stuff ever.

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    1. Yep the publishing side can be a tricky course to tread at times.

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  15. Look at us! We all know so much. No wonder we hang out together--we're AWESOME when you get us all in the same room. (And probably awesome on our own too, but we have a hard time realizing it.)

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    1. Well said!! We definitely have a hard time recognising our own awesomeness, but get us together and we can conquer the world!

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  16. 'Finish what you start'. I couldn't agree more, Lynda. Here's another one: start with something short and finish it. Too many of my students want their first project to be as hefty as The Lord of the Rings. Size matters - or so they think.

    P.S. I was ill for half a year but I'm back. :)

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    1. Welcome back, Blue. Good to hear you are so much better now.

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  17. A great collection of good advice. I think finish what you start is the one that has served me best.

    mood
    Moody Writing

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  18. Awesome tips! I agree with all of them.

    One I always share is that one should never compare oneself with other writers.

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    1. yep, another brilliant tip. The moment we start slipping down that comparison slide, the ride begins to get too scary and we want to jump off. Or we do silly things like trying to write like other writers. That rarely ends well.

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  19. I so loved the Stephen King quote: "Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work." So good to remember on those days when you compare your talent to others and wonder if you will get anywhere. Hard work DOES make the difference.

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    1. I'd say that hard work makes ALL the difference. Talent can only take us so far.

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  20. Thanks for sharing the great advice from all these smart cookies here. When working on a writing project, I always remember the question--how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! Then I continue to plow ahead.

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    1. Ha, I often bring that particular saying to mind when faced with the mamoth task of a new project.

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  21. Such a great collection of writing advice. I especially find the one about putting a manuscript away for a time before revising it to be particularly helpful. Time away always helps to make needed changes more obvious.

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  22. Loved the comment "Write what you enjoy rather than what you think will sell".

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  23. I have learned so much from the blogging community about writing. Love these comments!!!

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  24. I think this is a great idea! Glad you shared these wonderful words of wisdom. The writing community has been an amazing support to me over the years. :)

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  25. Great idea for a post. I enjoyed reading the advice.

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  26. Great advice. I think writing what you love rather than what you think will sell is important. Also reading helps me see how different express their words and thoughts.

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  27. Great tips. And wonderful inspiration. Thanks for sharing.

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  28. There is some real wisdom here. I'll offer up, "The only goal of a first draft is to get to the end. Everything can be fixed in the editing." That's from Lynne Griffin, author and Grub Street teacher. Another, which may or may not have come from Anne Lamott "First drafts always stink."

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    1. Yep, I'm a true believer of writing fast first drafts. They are about getting that story down. Stopping to fix poor sentence structure or whatnot is simply a distraction.

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  29. 'Not to suck' is the best ever!!! Love that :)

    I'd heartily recommend Alex's book to anyone who hasn't read the series yet - it's terrific!

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  30. Fantastic post! I love this writing community. I've learned so much from them.

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  31. Thanks for including me, Lynda. So much good advice and a really good example of why I learn so much from IWSG. I also can't imagine how long it took you to put this post together!

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    1. lol, yep, it took a lot longer than I had first expected. I was like, 'Gosh, what happened to the morning?' hahaha

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  32. Those are all great words of wisdom!

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  33. IWSG is the best writing community to my knowledge, and these are all wise words and recommendations. You were right to pluck them from comments and honour them in this post! :)

    shahwharton.com

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  34. I agree with the advice to keep writing, even if it means shelving a project that isn't working to start on something new.

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    1. yep, sometimes it's necessary to do a little shelving. We can always go back to those older projects. The time away from them also does wonders.

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  35. Great snippets of common sense! One of the things that helped me was when one author said I ought to stop feeling sorry for myself, and once I got over lamenting the difficulties it all became much more fun again:)

    P.S. I read your FF and loved it:)

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    1. hehe, thanks, Mark. Glad you enjoyed my flash fiction. I have a few published around the place, but the one you read is one of my favourites. I have a second favourite but it's been published in print only (for now).

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  36. "...and not to suck." Loved that.

    These were as quotes spoken by "The Greats," full of truth and wisdom gained by experience. Thanks for putting them out there.

    Sorry it took me forever to get here. Dang I've had my hands full. Been busy, but I think I'll go back to posting weekly instead of bi-weekly (first and third Wed.). I felt too out of the blogging loop with the extra Wednesday in January.

    M.L. Swift, Writer

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    1. There was a time I posted daily. I have no idea how I did that ;)

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    2. No, no, no...now that I could never do. I started at three times a week, but that only lasted a few months, then twice/week, then once...just had other writing filling my time.

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  37. Oh my gosh, these are great!
    Not to suck lol Finish what you start is definitely important and not taking things personally, but taking it to heart, ALL awesome ;)

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  38. This is such a great list of advice. Thanks for sharing!

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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  39. I love all these tips and can't beleive my little comment made it on the list, but it really is the best advice I've been given. This group is so wonderful. I'm so glad to be a part of it.

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  40. An interesting and good sampling of advice we can all learn from, Lynda. Definitely worth sharing.

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  41. I leaned those tips the first year I began writing. They still hold true for today! Excellent advice!

    My only trouble is scraping up the time to write and READ. I used to read book after book before I started writing. Now, sadly, I may only have time for a book a month. I need to change that!

    Thanks, Lynda for gathering all this up for us!

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    1. Yes, you definitely need to change that! It's too easy to let reading slip.

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  42. Great advice from all!
    Like I posted on my ISWG, time to write and read has been scarce lately
    It does seem to come in cycles though.

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  43. Our blog friends have wonderful advice. :) Thanks for including me.

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  44. So much great advice! YAY! Thanks for this collection of wise comments. :)

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  45. I love all these! It's nice to get the wisdom of our fellow writers in this journey. :) Talking about working hard, feeling the passion, and not giving up. Good stuff!

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  46. Hi Lynda, thanks for sharing all the wonderful advice. I agree that we should work on more than one project. Its good for us to keep writing.
    Btw, I read your Flash Fiction 'The Perfect Gift' to my students for FF writing. They loved the story. Hugs.

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    1. Ha, thanks, Rachna. I currently have a huge smile on my face :)

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  47. Love this collection of advice! I feel so lucky to continue to learn from fellow writers including all of you!

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  48. Don't stop, keep writing and reading. All little pieces of great advice, thanks.

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