Hello, and Merry Christmas! Please forgive me for not posting in a while, but I’ve only just climbed my way out of a mountain of crumpled wrapping paper and cheese. You know how it is.
Anyway, now that we’re in that bit between Christmas and New Year, I’m observing the green shoots of goals and resolutions poking through on the blogs and newsletters. I’ll be adding to that in the next few days.
In the meantime, this blog post is for all the people who’ve asked me what I do this year, and on hearing that I write books (I’m prepared to admit it now), have said ‘Oh, I’d love to do that.’ Here, for your delectation, is some start-up writing advice from people who write books.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give someone wanting to write?
M Black, paranormal author: I’d tell them to think of anything else they would rather be doing, something else they love more and do that. If they are still here, then write. Write. Write. Get something on the page, tweak it. You get better with time and don’t be too hard on yourself. Oh, and have a day job 😉
Ruth White, multi-genre author: Get started. Now you are over the most difficult hurdle. Unfortunately, you have to get started every day. Force yourself to write one sentence, no matter how sloppy. Then you will find yourself editing that sentence, and adding something to it, and you’re on your way.
Kyla Stone, contemporary and children’s/YA author: Don’t give up! And work as hard as you can to be the best that you can. The best way to improve your writing is to 1) read at least an hour or two a day in a wide variety of genres (but especially the one(s) you’re writing in). 2) Write for a few hours a day at least five days a week, and 3) Read books on writing craft. Seriously, the above strategies can teach you more than a $50,000 MFA.
Marissa Marchant, romance and children’s author: As I am also an aspiring writer and still learning the ropes in self-publishing my work, research as much as you can. Write what you love and don’t rush. Take your time in writing it. Don’t worry about spelling and sentence fragments and plot holes and grammar. Once you have an idea, just get your story down. You can edit it later. Never give up. In other words, Don’t Stop Believin’.
JP Cawood, science fiction and fantasy author: Don’t be afraid of what other people will think of your writing. Don’t let other people’s imagined opinions be your stumbling block.
Kay L Ling, fantasy author: Become a more observant reader. Study your favorite authors and note the writing skills that set their books apart. See if you need improvement in those areas.
L Virelli, women’s fiction and memoir author: Join a writer’s critique group that has guidelines for authors to follow. It helped me immensely.
Luke Christodoulou, mystery author: Just go for it. Doubt is a killer. Dive in and keep going until you have a finished novel staring back at you!
Joynell Schultz, speculative fiction author: I have simple advice really. Stick with it. Write and read every day and have thick skin when receiving feedback.
Bill Hiatt, urban fantasy/paranormal author: Be persistent. Getting the recognition you deserve will be difficult at best. Success comes to those who are willing to “hang in” no matter what. Occasionally someone’s first novel will take the world by storm, but most of the time success in this field, as in most creative fields, comes from painstaking ongoing content creation, accompanied by brand-building efforts.
There you go. Heaps of advice, some quite different from others, but all of it has worked. Despite the differences, you’ll note the common theme, which is Start. So if you’re one of those people who have always wanted to write, you know what to do 😉 If you know someone who says that, float this blog post their way. And if you have your own advice on starting to write, please add it in the comments!
All the authors featured here have a new book out (some on discount). To browse, click on the genres that interest you below. Happy reading!