By Bobbi Romans, author of Swamp Magic
1) Do you LOVE it? I mean really, can’t live/breathe/function without getting all those people yapping in your head out on paper?
For those that answer yes…
2) Write– not joking. Begin. Now. No stalling or talking about. Like Nike said…just do it!
3) If you are able, joining a writing group is a fantastic. Not only does it put you with other like minded people but usually within the group are a few more seasoned authors to learn from. Many groups, RWA included, offers free or low cost workshops and conferences. Silken Sands for example. Loads of classes from morning till night covering an array of topics such as voice and website construction. I usually suggest people simply Google their town’s name and “writing clubs.”
4) A program called AutoCrit is a necessity for me. http://www.autocrit.com/ This program (created by an editor, or so the site claims) picks out all kinds of flaws we don’t believe our masterpiece has. Overused words, clichés, and so forth. Run that baby through and prepare to be floored. Another nifty feature is those overused words are already highlighted within the document you posted.
5) Join a critique group. No, quit thinking, “I couldn’t. I’d be crushed if they hated it.” One may not hate it, but will slice and dice that sucker wide open. You’ll be left saying, “I’ll never post another thing…ever!” Yes, I said that. And I meant it. For all of twenty-four hours. Then I reopened the critted document and lo and behold found a wonderful, hard worked crit where they didn’t hate it. In fact they saw promise! Yes. When you get your first crit, you’re excited. You can’t wait. They are going to LOVE your baby. And then all the nice and bright red marks pop out at you and you ‘wee’ yourself while bawling.
Review and walk away. A day, maybe two. Reopen and review again. Once the shock has worn off, you will see the mistakes and realize they are fixable.
6) Begin researching who you’d like to submit to. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter. Many agents, editors, and publishers toss out loads of advice. Things they hate and wish to never see again as well as genres they wish they received more of. You can gain incredible insight from doing this.
7) Check the publishers for calls they’ve placed for particular genres and plots. This can be a great way for a new author to cut her teeth. The normally smaller stories allow you to get accustomed to the industry. Plus, they’re usually a ton of fun to create.
And remember: Don’t get discouraged.
An author I love once told me, “Until you have enough rejections to wallpaper your bathroom, you aren’t close.”
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever gotten? Share in the comments!