This week the prompt involves the worst writing advice I’ve ever gotten. Actually, I’ve got two pearls of wisdom that were shared and aren’t all that great.
One involves reviews. “It’s your book. Defend that sucker and tell everyone who disagrees with you why they’re wrong or hurtful or whatever.” As you can imagine, arguing with reviewers, no matter how much you’re hurt or feel wronged or whatever, isn’t good. That’s their opinion. Even if there are spoilers, keep your mouth shut. I mean it. Seems silly, right? You should be able to defend yourself. Except you shouldn’t. Reviews aren’t meant to be your buddy. They’re an assessment of your work. It’s not like a math problem where there is one answer. What might be good for me, might be a trigger for you. That’s just how it is.
The other piece of advice involves social media. “You need to talk about yourself. You need to put yourself out there. If no one knows anything about you, then how will you have fans?” This might not seem like good writing advice because it doesn’t seem to have much to do with writing. That’s because it doesn’t. It’s about promotion. This one is subjective. You have to do what you’re comfy with. If you like to share, then share, but realize there are lots of people on social media that you don’t know and you can’t be certain they aren’t resharing or stealing. Just saying. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m a chatty person and I tend to share too much if we talk in person. What can I say? I’m chatty. But there are things I won’t share. Politics, my family photos, my dentist visits… arguments with anyone. It’s just not me. I want my readers to see me as a positive person. If you come to my page, it’s to have fun. That’s by choice. Plus, who really wants to see me with no makeup and my hair on end? God knows I don’t want to see me that way.
What advice have you gotten that was just…not happening? Let me know. We can commiserate. 🙂
I was asked of all your published titles to date, which hero is your favorite and why?
I’ve written many stories and deciding which hero is my favorite is hard. I mean, really hard. I want to say I love them all, but are there a few that stand out? Yes, there are.
One of my favorites has to be Brandon, from Seeing You Again, His Valentine, and Sparkling New Year. He’s flawed. He’s an artist with depression issues and he’s not always understood. Another thing that’s a little different about him is initially, he doesn’t know how to deal with his depression. He mislabels it as just being moody. I like him because he’s relatable. There are a lot of people who suffer with depression and don’t always know that’s what the problem might be. There are some who think they’re just artsy and don’t understand there’s more going on. I liked that he was willing to work on himself and find answers. I also liked that he could be so bare and raw with Aydin.
Another hero I love has to be Mason, from Resisting the Rock Star. He’s a rock and roll god who happens to have a son. Now that’s not so remarkable, but I like him because he’s a parent. But in his case, he didn’t know he was a parent until his son was almost eighteen. I like how he threw himself into parenting and trying to be the father his son needed, even if he hadn’t been there for a long time. I also like Mason’s bickering with his parents. Not the ‘I don’t like you’ kind of bickering, but the ‘your girlfriend, no matter who she is, will never be good enough for you’ kind of arguments. It’s something many people go through. I know I have. I like him for his flaws—not knowing about his kid and being on the road so much—but for his good qualities—wanting the best for his son, wanting the best in his relationships and still making music.
What about you? Who do you consider my best hero? I’d love to know.
I have two different conventions I like to attend. I’m sort of an oddball, though. The first big convention I love to attend would be the Lori Foster Reader and Author Get Together (#RAGT18) down in Cincinnati, Ohio. This convention always sells out and almost always in a matter of minutes.
The thing about this con is that it’s smallish. There are only 500 attendees, including the authors and it’s mostly readers. It’s all in one hotel and the hotel is small so there’s little worry of getting lost. One hallway and two turns…and you’ve seen it all. But it’s like being with family. Many of the same people attend and it’s fun. It’s not stuffy. You’re hanging out with your friends. Really.
There are raffles, lots of little things where you can hang with authors and the money for the raffles go to the animal shelter. You’re helping critters and could win a basket. I love it. Want to know more? http://readerauthorgettogether.com/
The other convention I like to attend that’s really not a convention, but rather a tiny event, is the Books and Brunch event put on by the Friends of the Keystone-LaGrange Public Library. Now, I see you’re thinking…a friends of the library event? Must be small. It is. There are only four featured authors. It’s only a couple hour event. But being smallish helps. You get to talk to the authors and you’re served a wonderful brunch for only $12 a ticket. How can you beat that?
I love being able to talk to the authors, to have great food and mostly help the library. That’s the big thing for me. For this event, all the money goes to the library for the renovations to the existing building. How cool is that? Find out more right here: http://www.elyrialibrary.org/KLCLFriends_Home.html
I was asked recently, what is the one piece of writing advice that has stuck with you and why?
This is tricky. I’ve been given a lot of advice. Some has been good and a lot has been bad. I’ve been told to ‘try this _________ because it’s surefire’. I’ve learned that what works for one person doesn’t always work for everyone.
That said, one bit of advice I got very early on that has stayed with me. Think before you post something online and before you say something because you’ll have to answer to it for the rest of your life. Nothing’s ever gone from the internet. If you keep your message positive, then you’re golden.
This stuck with me because it seems like it would be an easy thing. Be positive and think before you hit post. But it’s not. Individuals get into trouble all the time for things they wish they hadn’t posted or said on social media.
As an author, your presence on social media is your brand. I don’t know about you, but I want to keep my brand positive. I don’t want readers to think of me as someone who complains or someone who doesn’t have a goal. I want them to see this person is having fun. I might not be rich, but I’m having fun writing and I’m following my heart. Do I manage to post every day on social media? Nope. Most of the time, my blog gets sadly ignored. Sucks. But I try.
That’s my advice. Be positive and think before you hit post. Diamonds and posts on social media are forever.
My grandmother is 88 years old and sometimes doesn’t remember the things she says, but she used to give me nuggets of advice.
When I was a kid, she’d expect us grandkids to come to the farm to help with the chores and whatever else she could find to put us to work doing. You never knew if you’d be in the barn, the house or working on the landscaping. One day you could be on the wagon helping with straw and the next weeding the raised flower beds.
As I was outside weeding the other day, I thought about one of the things she’d tell me. A lady is measured by her garden. Like I said, she’s 88. She grew up in a different world than I did and isn’t shaped by today’s conventions. She was very much the housewife and took care of the children. She didn’t leave the farm much and took a lot of pride in her house and landscaping.
I’m guessing she learned about keeping a neat house from her mother. I don’t remember my great grandmother because she died when I was four. But I could see her being very meticulous about her gardening.
My grandmother was right–to a degree. I mean, if you have a neat house, it’s noticed. If you don’t…it’s noticed. I don’t know that it’s the measure of a lady, but it does show that you take pride in what you have. If you’re willing to work hard to make the garden, house or whatever the best you can make it with what you have, then that’s something. I think that’s what she meant. It’s not about having the best or newest or whatever. It’s about taking care of what you do have.
I have taken her advice to heart ever since I started my writing career. If the book isn’t up to snuff for me, then I’ll work to make it so. That might not please everyone and some might see my book as not being great, but I tried and did my best. That’s enough. Do the best you can do. So maybe I’m not measured by my garden, but I’m trying. That’s what she asked of me and I’ll do it.
My grandmother used to say if you tear it down, I’ll help you build it back up. It’s funny. I haven’t thought about my great grandmother in a while. Sounds terrible, but I’ve had a week. I happened on a photo of her and the memories of going to her house, playing and rolling down the hill in the back yard came to mind.
My great grandmother was the type of person who loved disorder.It might not seem like a good thing, but when we went to her house, the grandkids were encouraged to have fun and make a mess. Want to play in the sink? Have at it. Want to build with the blocks, then knock it down? Let me help. Want to dig in the dirt? Spin on the swing? I’m right there. That’s the kind of person she was.
She loved to read my books, too. She had every one that was in print. Loved them. She’d tell me there was no shame in reading romance. “If there’s a fire in the oven, then there’s no crime in stoking it.” Coming from my grandmother, it was a little strange, but knowing her…I got it. She liked to live like it was her last day. She’d have fun, embrace life and enjoy what she was doing.
She’d help us build back up after things crumbled. She taught me to stand on my own and to have fun. Don’t get caught up in small stuff and bogged down. Do your own thing and be your own person. If there’s a disaster, help build it back up. Help build everyone around you up. Don’t be afraid of what might happen or what could happen and experience life.
I’m all for that. Life doesn’t last forever, so I’m here to embrace what I can. ❤
I can’t be the only one whose grandmother (or someone else in their life) reminded them to finish their dinner. In my case, it was my grandmother. We’d sit down for family meals and she’d remind everyone to eat what’s on their plate. My grandfather had a saying, if you don’t like it, don’t take it…but that’s for another post. Grandma was adamant. You’ve put it on your plate, so you’d better eat it.
I won’t lie. When I was a kid, it drove me crazy. Not because I overloaded my plate, but because she’d ‘add’ things to it. Like the beets I never did enjoy or the mush. I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand mush. Blech. But I ate what was on my plate.
This motto has translated to my writing career, though. Food and writing? Are you confused yet? Don’t be. I’m one of those people who tends to take on more than I should. I agree to a lot and try to accomplish as much as I can. If it’s on my plate, I do it. I’ve been told I have a healthy work ethic. I don’t know if that’s true. I just know when I have something to do, I do it.
I’m helping with a small author event in my local town. It’s going to be a nice event, but every time I think I’ve accomplished something, another task pops up. It feels like I’m not getting anywhere. But I keep going. I keep trying. I’m still trying to finish what I put on the plate and what was added for me.
Grandma was on to something. If you say you’re going to do something, then do it. Know what you’re getting into, and don’t be shocked when it’s a lot.
What about you? Got any advice? I’m all ears. 🙂