When Holly invited me to write a post for her blog, I wondered what on earth could I say that you haven’t already heard or, for that matter, something I haven’t already said and/or written about. So I thought I’d just recap some of my most valuable writing advice. Here goes….
Read. Read extensively in your genre and out. Take note of phrases and descriptions that capture your imagination or make your heart sing and mind race. I’ve yet meet a writer who isn’t an avid reader!
Write. Doesn’t matter if it’s daily, weekly, or 2-3 days a month, just make time to write consistently. Don’t worry if it’s dribble to begin with, just write. Whether you’re at a desk, the kitchen table, the library, or a coffee shop, get in the habit of sitting in your writing space and putting words on paper (or computer, or notebook, or iPad) …you get my drift. Forget the rules and write the book you want to read! You can always check for publisher guidelines and edit/revise your project to fit, but those first drafts can be whatever you want them to be.
Edit. Most projects need a minimum of three edits. Initial where you layer in descriptions, the five senses, etc. Second pass is where you check for plot holes and pacing. Third round is where you check for grammar, punctuation, etc. Make sure you take at least two weeks to a month between edits! If you don’t, chances are you’ll miss mistakes that could cost you a contract or precious time in edits after the contract. While you’re letting one manuscript cool, start another! Keep several projects in the works at all times, so you don’t worry that one to death.
Query/Submit. At some point you’ve got to turn that baby loose. Even if your initial submission is to a critique partner or group, don’t let fear stop you from getting the feedback necessary to help you grow as a writer and produce the best work you can. Read the last two sentences above – they apply here, too. Keep writing while you wait to hear back from your submission.
Revise, Re-submit, Resell. This applies mostly to articles and essays, but sometimes you can even revise/rewrite a story and sell it elsewhere. Make sure you abide by any current or previous contract limitations. If someone doesn’t normally take reprints, be sure to let them know the extent of changes you’ve made that add a whole new twist to the version you’re querying about or submitting to them.
Promote. Okay you’ve sold a book or two or a dozen articles. There will be no (or very few) sales, reviews, or new opportunities if you don’t let people know! Set up a website, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon Author Page. Spend a few hours a week building your fan base and readership. When you do a book signing or speaking engagement, ask for the name and address (email, too) of everyone who buys a book! This is your readership. Ask to add them to your mailing/newsletter list. Don’t bombard them, but keep in touch on a regular basis, whether that is monthly, quarterly, or even annually.
These tips and hints apply to the craft of writing but here are a few more …
Keep good records. Writing is a business, and even unpublished authors can claim business expenses such as office supplies, ink, business cards, etc. Check with a CPA or tax preparer and don’t miss out on these valuable deductions especially when you begin to make money!
Take Care of Yourself. Sometimes life throws us a curve ball or hand grenade, and we have a hard time focusing on writing. Don’t worry about your career at this point. Take the time you need to recover and/or regroup and start over. Real writers never quit. We may take an extended leave of absence, but, at some point, we always return to our passion.
And last but certainly not least …
Don’t Quit! Writing is a gift and a talent given to you by God. Don’t hide your gift or bury your talent.
Author bio: Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the co-founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction, as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.” Sign up to receive Pam’s newsletter and get a FREE short story!
Amazon Author Page:
Circle of Fate by Pamela S. Thibodeaux
Set at the tail end of the Vietnam War era, Circles of Fate takes the reader from Fort Benning, Georgia to Thibodaux, Louisiana. A romantic saga, this gripping novel covers nearly twenty years in the lives of Shaunna Chatman and Todd Jameson. Constantly thrown together and torn apart by fate, the two are repeatedly forced to choose between love and duty, right and wrong, standing on faith or succumbing to the world’s viewpoints on life, love, marriage and fidelity. With intriguing twists and turns, fate brings together a cast of characters whose lives will forever be entwined. Through it all is the hand of God as He works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.