Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday Tips For Writers

We all have a love of writing...otherwise we wouldn't be here. But sometimes life takes off and time gets away from us. When this happens here are some tips to keep your head in the writing game.

1. Take yourself seriously:
Make writing a priority even if it's not something you actually get paid to do. The blogs I visit each day are a kaleidoscope of individuals, each at a different stage of the process. But each one has a common denominator...they take their writing very seriously. They practice their craft, help each other out and seek the advice of their peers.

2. Act like a professional:
When interacting with agents and/or editors, act as you would at any job interview. Be polite and courteous. When sending query letters, be sure to address the particular agent you are interested in and check for any typos once finished. You query letter should be polished to a high shine before you even attempt to contact and agent.

3. Format your manuscript:
Use standard margins and double space. Do not use fancy fonts, I know I have a few that I would love to use that are just so pretty. Don't do it. Stick with a basic font in a 12 point. And don't design your own cover. A title page is all that's needed. When your manuscript has been edited and polished to a shine much like your query letter. Read it one more time. What can it hurt? It's far better to take a little more time than to miss something little.

4. Write your passion:
When there are trends that are climbing to the top of the bestseller lists and flying off of the bookshelves its tempting to jump on the bandwagon. But its important for writers to be passionate about what they write. Your love and excitement for the story bleeds into your writing and gives you the drive to keep pushing through the long process. That's what writers need. That's what brings your unique voice. A writer's passion for their story ultimately shines through and conveys itself to the reader.

5. Love the process:
Whether or not you are a beginning writer or a published one, if you plan to make a career out of writing you will have to go through the process again and again. From sitting down and typing out that very first chapter to editing your final draft, the process will remain. Get used to it. Embrace it. It is hard work and takes perseverance, but the end result makes all the hours of uncertainty and frustration worth it.

6. Read—a lot:
Familiarize yourself with what's out there. What's been done. What's being done. I read tons of books, usually when I am in between manuscripts. I can't say exactly what it is, but whenever I read a good book or even watch a good movie, it motivates me to write. It gets me excited to work on my own manuscript.

7. Stick to a schedule:
Most writers I know have separate jobs that they go to everyday in addition to writing. This can make it difficult to finish what they start. By making a set schedule or giving themselves a deadline it ensures they do in fact finish that manuscript.

When I first begin a brand new MS, I give myself a certain amount of pages that I must write each day. I do the same thing when editing. Sometimes I go over my goal and sometimes life happens and I fall short. But giving myself some sort of guide helps me stay on track.

8. Develop a thick skin:
I think it goes without saying that every writer is going to face rejection no matter stage of the game they are in. I'm currently attached at the hip to my inbox, hoping each day to hear good news from my agent. Querying is the same, though it only takes one agent/editor to fall in love with your work we still have to weed through the ones that aren't as excited and reject us. It's part of the process. A not so fun part, but one we must all go through.

When its all said and done, the important thing is to write what you love and persevere. Ignore those doubts that lurk in the shadows of your mind and keep writing.
Have a fabulous Tuesday everyone!


Adventures in Children's Publishing said...

Renae, my personal favorite? Definitely number 6! I'm always thrilled to read what's out there. So many talented writers are working right now and it's an exciting time. Thanks for the great post!


Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

I agree 100% with everything you mention.
Writing is hard. Sometimes I want to press delete and pull myself into a ball, but I can't. Everytime I read a new book, read a friends writing, or a blog I'm reminded how much I love writing.
The doubts sometimes creep in, but the thrill of writing screams over it :)

Candyland said...

Thick skin is SO important. Writing is subjective, after all.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Great advice.

I used to be a drug rep and had to read all kinds of boring articles for educational and promotion purposes (though some were interesting, fortunately). I much prefer what I have to read now as a writer. Yay to all the wonderful YA books out there! :D

Jaydee Morgan said...

Great tips!!

I totally agree with you that you have to write what you're passionate about and not the current trend. I'm trying to find a schedule that works for me but like you said, above all, you have to follow/enjoy the process.

Laura Marcella said...

Excellent, excellent advice!!! I especially love #4, 5, and 8. So true!

A. J. Larrieu said...

This is great advice! My favorite is #4. Whatever the trends are, passion always shows through.

Connie said...

Great advice!!

Melissa said...

Excellent points. All of them.

Slushpile Slut said...

Such great advice Renae!! Especially loved this-- "Your love and excitement for the story bleeds into your writing and gives you the drive to keep pushing through the long process. That's what writers need. That's what brings your unique voice. A writer's passion for their story ultimately shines through and conveys itself to the reader." So true and well said :)

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great advice. Especially to love the process and develop thick skin. The fun parts are writing what you love and reading a lot.

Jemi Fraser said...

Great advice! I have to work on the schedule and the thick skin :)

Anonymous said...

Pure awesomeness! Schedules don't always work for me so that's my main weakness.

Hannah Kincade said...

So many good tips! A post to bookmark for the future when I'm feeling bogged down.