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.