I was deleting old emails from this blog’s contact form, and stumbled upon an email from a young lady stating that she hoped I was a friendly variety of writer, and asked, “Do you have any writing advice for me?”
I checked my email archives, and was happy that I wrote her back. Her question, after all, was very easy to answer, since I feel like I have to continually advise myself every day I write. My emailed response to her was this…
I don’t really have much advice in the way of writing, since I’m still learning myself! The best advice that I’ve read for any writer is something that Stephen King said: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” That’s pretty much all you need to know and do, especially while you’re still in school. Read as much as possible. Read read read. While you’re reading as much as you can, write write write. When you surround yourself with words, you’ll be able to use them more creatively.
On my blog, I chronicle my writing journey. Feel free to poke around there, and glean any learnings as I stumble around on my own writing path. Though my goal is to be a published author one day, the skill/art of writing is a talent that I believe needs to be strengthened and sharpened continually. It’s like a muscle that way. You use it or lose it. My blog is my way of keeping myself accountable to “using” my writing skill.
Oh, one more thing: as you write, remember why you’re writing. I truly enjoy creating stories, and I love getting lost in the creative process. Sure, it gets frustrating sometimes, and I get tired, but in the end, I write because I love it.
…and re-reading it now, my advice wouldn’t change if she asked me again. The best part? Seeing my old words, “Sure, it gets frustrating sometimes, and I get tired, but in the end, I write because I love it,” and knowing they’re still as true today as they were six months ago.
Friendly Variety of Writer
There was one point in her email that stuck out to me that I didn’t notice the first time I read it six months ago. (Possibly because I was still amazed that anyone would ask me for writing advice, and was distracted by making sure my answer made sense.) (Also, what a great argument for letting a manuscript rest before revising it.) The young lady hoped that I was a “friendly writer.”
Of course, because I’m me, I’ve wondered all morning if she had encountered many unfriendly writers to have phrased her sentence that way, and moreover, if I lived up to her expectation of being a friendly writer.
Anyway, I didn’t write this last part to garner any words of sympathy or encouragement. Only that the realization gave me the opportunity to reflect on my writing journey and public persona, and to hope that I can be a support to my writing peers. (After all, writers provide me with books, my drug of choice, and I need to support my addiction.) 🙂
So, what one piece of writing advice do you share the most? What recent epiphanies have you had that caused you to reflect on your writing journey?
PS: One of my favorite author role models is Beth Revis, and she wrote a blog post HERE that stayed with me long after reading it.
20 thoughts on “Do You Have Any Writing Advice For Me?”
That is excellent advice! The best. Write and read. 🙂
I’m glad we agree! 🙂
Fabulous post, Liza! Love the simplicity and beauty. Her “friendly writer” comment stuck out to me too. Helps keep me honest about what kind of writer/blogger/person I really am. As far as advice goes, “write the story!” is the one I need the most, so I’ll pass it on, hehe. I could be the most amazing blogger in the world, have a million followers on twitter (not that either is true), but if I don’t write the story (usually because I get caught in social networking) the rest won’t matter.
Thank you for sharing your insight, DB! I, too, need the “Write the Story” advice…I should probably tattoo that on to my hand!
Yep, this is definitely good advice. My advice is just write. And keep writing. Don’t give up.
Never giving up is key! Thanks for the reminder!
Great advice from everyone. My two cents are to find, or better yet, form a writers group. It is one thing to sit at your desk, writing and blogging and reading and thinking. It is another thing to take your words and read them out loud to other people.
Two immediate benefits include 1) hearing what you have written, you will find all sorts of glaring errors and quick fixes. 2) seeing how your audience reacts. That is huge. I have saved myself so much time and energy simply by seeing how people reacted to my work. I knew what was working and what they liked, and I knew what to get rid of.
Of course, this means leaving your house and meeting other people, not easy for the writer types. But go for it. You will gain so much from the experience. The way we do it, is we meet every two weeks. We each bring something new to read. For one of our members, simply having to write new material every week, after this past year, he now has more than enough material for his memoir.
Good luck and never give up!
Yes, I agree! Reading aloud is absolutely beneficial! I want to be able to listen to someone read sections of my WIP aloud, but I’m not to that point yet.
And, yes, I *love* meeting with my writer friends for dinner and talk business. It’s so good to feel like I’m not alone!
Thank you for sharing!
I agree with Jennifer E. There are several instances of unfriendly writers and bloggers and it is a shame they feel the need to pull new people down. The majority of us write because it is a passion that cannot be stopped and for someone to come along and say no? Ugh so frustrating. Hats off to a friendly writer.
Thank you for sharing your perspective! 🙂
This reminds me of a post I saw last week. I was in a writing contest, and doing my rounds, critiquing other people’s entries before final sumbission. Under one entry, was a post from the author saying someone had read her blog, and told her she was horrioble and would never get published… can you imagine?
It doesn’t matter how good or bad you are. All writers are on different steps along their journey. I am a much better writer than I was a year ago, mostly because of being blessed by beta partners who saw value in my story, and were willing to help me develop.
No REAL writer would ever diffuse anothers dreams. We are all in this together, and real writers help eachother out.
I hope that girl gets published some day just so she can stick her tongue out at that guy.
Nice post, Liza. Lift your head up high as a “friendly writer.”
That’s so sad that someone feels the need to put others down. It costs nothing to be kind, even if kindness means refraining from saying something hurtful.
Thank you for sharing! 🙂
that sounds like the best advice to me as well. “Just Write”
Beth Revis, is indeed awesome. I saw her video showing how much work she did before her book was finally published. Each time, she thought the book was the one, and each time it wasn’t.
So i guess “Just Write” and “Just Write Persistently”
Thanks for the post
I saw that video, too! Beth’s story is wonderfully motivating to me!
Thank you for stopping by! 🙂
My favorite piece of writing advice is not to be afraid to make mistakes. You can fix mistakes in editing. You can’t edit something that you were afraid to try writing.
The new piece of advice that I’m going over is to torture your characters for the sake of increasing the conflict in your writing.
I love the saying, “You can’t edit a blank page”…that’s one I ought to have engraved on my laptop!
And AMEN to the increasing conflict. That’s what I need to develop in my current WIP!
Thank you for sharing!
Thank you for the advice. And thanks for pointing me to Beth Revis’ post!
My pleasure! I love sharing great content!
Thank you for visiting! ^_^