Do You Have Any Writing Advice For Me?

 Writing Advice

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.

Across the Universe: A Gift For Me, A Gift For You

A Gift for Me.

My birthday is next week.

For at least a decade, I have celebrated a birthday week  or month.  This year, I am very honored to share a Birthday Season with Kayla Olson (Happy Birthday Season!! *glitter shower*), AND with Beth Revis’s debut novel, Across the Universe.

“Nothing’s going to change my world…” Across the Universe, The Beatles

This past November, I had the privilege of reading the ARC of Across the Universe, thanks to Melissa and Kayla’s thoughtfulness.  I remember my delight when my mail-(wo)man hand-delivered the packaged ARC because she didn’t want to scrunch it in my mailbox.  I tore that priority mail envelope open, took a picture, had dinner with The Hubs, and then  proceeded to read that story that night (and into the next day).  I was behind about 5,000 words for NaNoWriMo at that point, but believe me, the lack of sleep, and adding an extra kamikaze do-or-die writing day for NaNoWriMo, was worth it.

(To see how The Want started, read this post by Melissa; The Want intensified after seeing this tribute by Kayla.  Also, see the aftermath of the time I totally made the universe give Melissa an ARC here.  I have actual magical powers.)

In a word, Across the Universe is luminous.  It is an absolute pleasure to read.  Everything about it appeals to me, from the beautiful (purple-y!) cover, to the Firefly influences, to the fact that it is set to launch 1.11.11.  All these things (and more) made this book the perfect 2011 birthday present to myself.

Since I can’t seem to post a non-spoiler review, I invite you to click here to read the summary of the book on Beth’s site. And, you can read chapter one here, and judge for yourself the buzz worthiness of this book.

Sidenote:

Admittedly, I have come across a lot of fabulous books throughout my reading career.  But, the tipping point for me in supporting this book is the author herself, Beth RevisShe is a fantastic author role model, and constantly engages with her readers through social networks.  Also, reading about her career transition from full-time teacher to full-time novelist earned her my undying loyalty, respect and admiration. Read about it here.

A Gift For You.

So, in honor of Happy Birthday Season (*confetti*), and because I love Across The Universe, and admire Beth so much, I will run my blog’s VERY FIRST GIVEAWAY.

The prize?  A copy of Across the Universe. (have you seen the reversible cover??)

Amy's or Elder's perspective...you decide!

Because this is my VERY FIRST GIVEAWAY and since it’s Happy Birthday Season, I am opening this GIVEAWAY to international readers, too. *waves to international readers* *I wish I were multilingual*

Rules (because they’re fun!):

To enter this GIVEAWAY for a chance to receive your very own copy of Across the Universe, simply subscribe to this blog using that “subscribe me” button to the right, AND leave me a comment below!  That’s it!  You will be entered into the drawing.  (Previously subscribed blog friends are of course eligible, too! Just leave me a comment below to let me know you want to be entered into the fun!)

I will begin counting entries TODAY Monday, January 10, 2011 12:00 AM EST until January 17, 2011 11:59 PM EST (My birthday, whatwhat!)

You MUST be subscribed to this blog and comment below to enter this contest.

(Please make sure your email address is correct.  If I don’t get a reply within 24 hours of contacting you, I will move on to the next winner.  I want to send out the book to the winner no later than Wednesday, January 19, 2011, so PLEASE ensure I can contact you!)

You can earn SIX ADDITIONAL entries* by:

1. Following me on Twitter

2. Following Beth Revis on Twitter

3. Tweeting about this contest

4. “Like”-ing Across the Universe on Facebook

5. Blogging about this contest (worth 2 entries)

Maximum entries: SEVEN

*This is on you honor.  Just leave a comment below for every entry you’ve earned.  (For example, if you “Like”-d Across the Universe on Facebook, followed Beth on Twitter, and blogged about this contest, you would leave four separate comments in addition to the one telling me that you are subscribed to this blog and want to be entered into the contest.  So, in this example, you would have earned five entries, so you would enter a total of five separate comments.)

** Previous Twitter followers and Facebook likers are also eligible for your extra entries!  Just leave me a comment per entry on this post!

The winner will be chosen via random.org (which is why you should ensure that each entry is in its own comment box.)

Gratitude

Thank you for celebrating Birthday Week with me (and Kayla and Across the Universe!).  It gives me great joy and happiness to be able to give what little I can back to the reading world that has nurtured me for so long.

And, depending on the level of participation I get here, I will do more giveaways like this in the future.

Tell Me: What upcoming releases are YOU looking forward to THIS year? (I may include it in future giveaways! :D)