Though it’s hot enough in Texas to fry an egg on the sidewalk, strolling through the autumn decorations at my favorite craft store reminded me to be thankful. So for all the newbie writers out there, I’ve put together lists of things that have helped me over the past eight years.
First, three pieces of advice:
- Find several critique partners. Not beta readers, nor your mom, nor your neighbor who minored in English Lit ten years ago. Real CP’s. Ones who are writers and will encourage you, but also point out your issues with commas. And echoes. Things like that. They need to be brave enough to point out issues, and you need to do the same when critiquing their writing.
- Don’t be intimidated by editing. While finishing a first draft is an exhilarating feeling, you’re only partially done. I equate a first draft like a sketch. It’s not bad, but when you paint in the details, the picture comes to life. That’s what editing does to a story. The big picture items are done. Now it’s time to add the little details that make a character feel alive and ensuring the story is consistent.
- Develop a thick skin and/or start hording pints of Ben & Jerry’s. If the goal with your writing is to someday publish, then most likely, it’s gonna be a brutal road at times. Rejection will happen. So will bad reviews. Just keeping writing.
Helpful writing books:
The first writing book I read was Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. It’s an oldie, but a goodie and has helpful advice.
Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have written several books on writing. I have the Kindle version of The Emotional Thesaurus so I can refer to it when I need a creative push.
There are hundreds of other books out there on writing. Just remember what they say about opinions…
Finding your own writing voice takes time. But it will happen.
Next week, I’ll share websites and blogs that have helped me.
If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!