Advice for Writers by Kristen Painter
If you’ve ever dreamed about being a writer, I can tell you very honestly, I totally understand. I dreamed about it too. I’ve written stories since I was kid, made up even more in my head and have always felt like the characters that occupied my brain were a lot more interesting than most of the people I knew.
But how do you go from dreaming about becoming a writer to actually becoming one? Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way.
1. Be Prepared To Work Hard
Right now you’re probably thinking that you already know how to work hard. I thought that too. And I did know how, just like you do, but what I didn’t know was that my version of hard work and the published author version of hard work are two very different things. When you have a deadline, there is very little that can get in the way of that. I’ve worked through birthdays and holidays, skipped hanging out with friends, missed movies I wanted to see, forgotten to eat and lost countless hours of sleep.
It also helps if your significant other understands that meeting a deadline sometimes means they’ll have to order delivery if they want to eat, do their own laundry if they want clean clothes and not look at you too closely because you may not have remembered to shower today. There is a lot of sacrifice involved in writing.
2. Know When To Listen To Your Inner Editor
One of the things that fell by the wayside when I sold was my critique group. There just wasn’t time to write a chapter, turn it over to them for a week, then mull over their comments, makes the changes and write the next chapter (rinse, repeat.) Instead I had to learn to listen to that small inner voice that told me a scene wasn’t working or a character’s motivation was off. That instinct that tells when something’s wrong with your story? You have to learn to listen to it. That takes practice, the ability to trust your gut and the power to be confident in your work.
I also had to learn to shut that voice out. Like when I’m faced with a blank page and a great idea and that voice tells me I’ll never do it justice. Have you heard that voice? Has it kept you from writing? Tell it to shut up, because here’s the secret: you won’t do that idea justice. Not on the first pass. But who cares? Writing isn’t about the rough draft, it’s about the polished, finished product. No one ever wrote a perfect book in one try.
3. Open Yourself To Constructive Criticism
If you have friends and family members that want to read your stuff, great! Just don’t rely on them to tell you the truth. Even if they mean to, they’re going to temper their words with their love for you. And while that kind of positive feedback is great for your budding writer’s soul, it sucks for getting sold.
Find a group of writers, whether online, through your local library or an RWA chapter, that will let you join them and put your work out there. Criticism often feels like a personal attack when you’re a newbie writer, but it isn’t. I promise. Learning to use those criticisms are how you grow and improve your craft. Be willing to critique others work too! That’s another great way to learn how to write.
4. Lastly, Don’t Give Up
If you’re serious about becoming a writer, you must purpose in your mind now that you’re not going to quit. Why? Because I’ll tell you another secret: the people who get published are the people who don’t quit.
It will be tempting to quit. The rejections will pile up, friends will say you’re wasting your time, you’ll start to doubt yourself. It gets ugly. You’ll have days where writing seems about as useful as taking a vampire tanning. You’ll probably get angry, frustrated and feel like if one more person says another word to you about your writing, you’ll snap.
If you get to that point, great! You’re in good company, because many other writers have felt that way too. Now take all those emotions and write with them! Torture your characters instead of your doubters. Killing off characters is very cathartic and it’s totally legal. (PS. This is how I ended up writing Blood Rights.)
Writing is a tough business. There are days I wonder why anyone does it. And although I can’t answer for anyone else, I can tell you why I do it. The readers. I love readers and the times when I get to talk to them, either at book signings or conferences or online through my Facebook page, those are the moments that make writing the best job in the world.
Thank you, Kristen for stopping by today and sharing this post with us and our readers.
Kristen is also giving away a copy of Blood Rights, the first book in her House of Comarré series to one lucky GCReader.
The lacy gold mapped her entire body. A finely-wrought filigree of stars, vines, flowers, butterflies, ancient symbols and words ran from her feet, up her legs, over her narrow waist, spanned her chest and finished down her arms to the tips of her fingers.
Born into a life of secrets and service, Chrysabelle’s body bears the telltale marks of a comarré—a special race of humans bred to feed vampire nobility. When her patron is murdered, she becomes the prime suspect, which sends her running into the mortal world…and into the arms of Malkolm, an outcast vampire cursed to kill every being from whom he drinks.
Now Chrysabelle and Malkolm must work together to stop a plot to merge the mortal and supernatural worlds. If they fail, a chaos unlike anything anyone has ever seen will threaten to reign.
- US ONLY
- Winner must be 18 or older to enter this giveaway.
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- Winner will be announced on our Facebook and Twitter page.
- Winner will be chosen at Random.
- Giveaway ends February 6th.
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