Day 8 – WIPtember 2020

Day Eight – Writing Advice

The idea of giving writing advice seems self serving to me, but alas we find ourselves at this place so I shall comply. The type of advice requested depends precisely on where in the process a writer finds oneself. There are stops along the way where I could actually have some potentially helpful advice. There are many more bullet points that I have not yet reached in my own writing journey. That said, I’ll share what has actually been helpful to me.

1) Just yarf it out.

No excuses necessary. Just grab your favorite method of recording – pad of paper, computer, audio transcriber – and spew that story. It doesn’t have to be good. It doesn’t have to be complete. It doesn’t even have to make sense – yet. But you do have to get it out of your head and birth it into existence.

2) Read as much as possible.

Good writers, read – and broadly. Read the genre you want to write. Read a genre you have no experience reading. Read outside of your preferred age range. And while you are reading, take notes. Mental notes are good, if your brain works that way. Most people seem to have better luck taking actual notes to reference later. Notice how stories are constructed. Pay attention to how story and character development happens.

3) Find a mentor.

You are probably surrounded with people just like you. Many people think about “writing a book” but never tell anyone, and fewer still even bother to start. Put the word out and you’ll be surprised who jumps out of the woodwork to share their experiences. If you don’t have anyone IRL who can – or is willing to – be a mentor, find a virtual one. Twitter is a mine field, but there are a lot of talented and helpful people tucked away over there. Instagram has more writers camping out these days, and they are slightly more …friendly. If those options fail you, get a book by one of the Big Guns. I can personally recommend On Writing, by Stephen King – but there are others that a simple internet search can lead you to.