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.
After many conversations with writers of all stages, I feel comfortable saying that most writers who want to get published believe that they want to be traditionally published. This is also true for me, to a point.
I am currently not in receipt of a project that I would consider finished enough to publish on any forum, much less to ship off to a publisher’s office. Additionally, it is (currently) enough for me to just say “I wrote something!” And then move on to the next project.
I have investigated self-publishing via several types of modes but not having breathing work to share is a deterrent. I know that when I get to a good place, I will probably self-publish initially. I have done enough poking around to know that traditional publishing isn’t really what it seems. With that in mind, I’m keeping my options open. Who knows what will be available when I get any of these dozen semi-close projects polished?
We just bought a house and moved, so realistically my writing goals are actually pretty low on the priority list right now. Once I get my office set up, I would like to recommit to writing daily and get the plot points and basic research done by October 1st.
TW: death, loss, suicidal ideation, religious themes, mental health
My current WIP (work in progress) is the final book of an accidental trilogy. I thought it was going to be my #nano2020 project but I’m not sure I can hold off that long. It has been haunting me for about six months already.
So far all I have is that the Main Character is male, and we already met him in last year’s #nanowrimo project. He is on a journey of spiritual discovery after losing his family to a medical incident. This has put him into a tailspin of questioning and pleading with a God that may or may not actually still exist, for him. He feels that something is not right with his life and figures out by chance, that he has possibly ended his life and thrown himself into an alternate reality.
I will be posting regular motivational content at the #FLXwrimo Instagram, as well as our Facebook group. If you need the links, send me a DM or comment!
April is the 1st of two Camp NaNoWriMo events every year & they are much more laid back than November’s nano event. Pick a goal of any size and smash it!
This time around, I’m editing my nano2019 work-in-progress which is a paranormal fiction novel about a family in the Finger Lakes of Upstate NY (what?! How odd! Haha) that finds its members each challenged by a medical event that blurs the lines of reality, dreamscapes & the afterlife.
If you need an escape from social distancing and Covid19 talk, may I suggest you tell your story?
I have been participating in NaNoWriMo for 10 years, and Camp NaNo in April & July for each of the last 5 years, for a grand total of 20 attempts. This is the first time that I have finished a brand new writing project during one of the month-long events. It is a rough draft memoir about motherhood and mental health.
It’s ugly. It’s nowhere near done. And it will probably stay that way. However, I did learn a few things about myself during this process — and got a new novel idea, which I started mapping out today!
Honestly, I don’t feel that much different than I did a week ago — except that now I have actually set a writing goal that I achieved. I always get around to getting it done, but never on time. Frankly, my confidence about my writing has been in the toilet lately. There’s been a lot of *meh* in my notebooks these last few years.
My lack of teasable and usable ideas
My inability to commit to any ideas long enough to create something worth getting excited about
My obvious ignorance about the entire process
ADHD (that actually explained A LOT)
Lack of time &/or focus in my personal life
To be able to say that I pushed through even when I had no idea how I could, would or should, has been a boost to morale around my writing desk. I know that I can finish these other projects. More than knowing that I can, I now how to get it done. I’m excited to move onto my next project, and I hope it turns out to be worthy of sharing.
My goal for this week was to update my website and finish a chapter on my work-in-progress. I was able to update my website last night, although I have made a mental note to *never* attempt to do that again from my mobile. What a nightmare! I haven’t been able to write much today, but I did work on my book cover. I’m not sure I like it yet, but I needed something as a placeholder for another spot.
So, there you have it. I’m not a graphic designer, nor have I ever claimed to be. This one doesn’t sing to me. I may have to get my husband on the payroll once I finish the book. This is kind of his day job area.
My goal for this project is to complete the 1st draft before June 30th so that I can use July’s Camp Nanowrimo to work on edits. Ultimately, I want this completed by Labor Day. After that, I’ll have to figure out the publishing parts!