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.
When I set out to be a writer, I had this odd notion that the first thing I wrote would be wonderful and edits weren’t important. Boy! Was I wrong? You bet. Way off. I need edits and at least one or two sets of eyes on my work before it’s ready to go places.
A lot of authors, though, fall into that trap. My work is great without editing. Unfortunately, it’s wrong. We need edits. The first thing we say isn’t perfect and the first thing we write isn’t award winning.
I’ve had authors and those wanting to get published ask me why I bother with edits. I’ve given them the above reason. Practice sure does make better, but no one is a perfect writer and certainly not straight out of the gate. I can’t tell you how many teh and hte I’ve had in my manuscripts. Now I can hear you saying, um that’s what spell check is for. True. But when you’ve been writing and you’re tired and you mix your there, their and they’re… spell check won’t catch that.
But truly an editor is your best friend. They can help you mold a rambling story into a tight-knit tale. They can help you find your voice by snipping the unneeded bits out. They show you where you shine and where you could use some work. A good editor is a gem.
Which brings me to why I’m writing this blog post. Easy. I’m procrastinating. Snicker. Yep. I have an edit to do, know I should be doing it, but I needed a break. The edit will make the story better and needs to be done, but I need a couple minutes. It won’t be a painful edit, but…a few moments will help.
So what are you up to today? Are you procrastinating, too?
I’m notorious for having to have noise while I write. It’s crazy. I can’t concentrate when it’s quiet. Just doesn’t work. So this past weekend, I binged. I did. Once Upon a Time. First season. Why? I wanted to see Sebastian Stan. I admit it. Along with my thing for Cap, Young Professor X, Falcon, and Captain Hook…I’ve got a thing for Bucky/Winter Solider/White Wolf. Yep. And seeing him as the Mad Hatter was pretty great. He works the eyeliner well.
So I binged. I’m glad I kept going. Part way through the first season, I got a little bored, but finally…Mad Hatter.
While I binged, I wrote. I’m happy to say I finally have 9k on something accomplished. I had a few setbacks and started to think I wasn’t going to get anywhere. Between writer’s block and a few other things, I just felt stuck. Not now. Phew.
So what do you binge? Recently I’ve binged OUaT, plus Political Animals, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders. Suspect Behavior had Matt Ryan from Constantine. Sorry, I’m a sucker for that accent. Oh and I binged Constantine. Not all this weekend. This has been my month for the binge. What’s on your binge list?
I love my dog. I really do. She’s a great dog. Loyal, sweet and my constant shadow. She’s a great dog.
But she’s got this reverse sneeze gagging thing she does that’s…well…gross.
What do I mean? It sounds like she’s about the throw up, but she doesn’t. Just sort of gags and makes gross sounds. Oh and if I’m lucky, she toots, too. Yeah. It’s great. Stinky and noisy at the same time.
So here I am, trying to write a love scene and what’s she doing? You guessed it.
Excuse me while I get the gas mask…
I did an author event recently where a participating author spoke about her writing. Cool, right? Sure. I enjoyed her presentation. I bought a few of her books.
But something she said stuck with me. It’s still stuck in my head, to be honest. She mentioned she writes sweet because she wanted to write something her peers and family wouldn’t be ashamed of knowing she’d written. Something clean.
Initially, I thought I’m not ashamed – I mean, I write what I think is at the best of my ability. Who would want to sell stuff that’s not their best? Not me. We all want to do our best.
But I knew what she really meant. Clean writing is better than dirty. If you write clean then you have nothing to be ashamed of. People won’t look down on you for what you’ve penned. What if you’re writing something with sex? According to her mentality, then you should hide it and it’s shameful.
I’m not ashamed of what I write and well, much of what I write isn’t clean. Far from it. I’ve penned some clean reads, but for me, dirty is more fun. I’m not going to lie and say that’s not me on that story. If it’s clean or dirty, then fine. I wrote it.
Everyone likes what they like—me included. Sometimes I want a clean read, but most of the time I want something a lot hotter. I don’t care who knows what’s on my kindle because that’s my tastes. If you’re all for clean reads, then that’s great. If not, that’s great, too. I want everyone to be an individual and read the heat level that makes them happy.
Are my peers ashamed of my writing because it’s dirty? I don’t know. Are they ashamed because they might believe it’s not my best? Hey, it happens. Either way, it’s fine. I do what I think is my best and want my readers to be happy. Isn’t that supposed to be the plan? It is for me and I’m good with it.
My grandmother’s been through a lot in the last year. My grandfather passed away a year ago on Sunday. It’s been tough. He was the cornerstone of the family. He laughed loudest, stood mostly the tallest and was just an all-around wonderful guy.
One of the things she says to me often and has since his passing has been patience. It’s hard. I know. Patience with others, patience with yourself. Patience. I’m horrible with patience. So I asked her, okay, why be patient? Sometimes isn’t it good to be pushy?
Her answer: sure, there are times to be pushy, but there are times to just wait. It’s tough to wait, but you never know what will happen next. You might wish you hadn’t rushed. You might realize you missed something awesome because you rushed. Plus, when you’re patient you get to experience things you might not otherwise.
In the last year, I’ve tried to be more positive. I know I haven’t always succeeded. I get frustrated and it’s hard. But I try to be a positive force. I try to realize the people here right now might not be tomorrow. I can attest to that being tough. In the last three or so days, I’ve lost one member of my graduating class. I don’t know what happened, but she’s a great person and at least she’s in Heaven walking with Elvis, her idol. In these last three days, a guy I had a major crush on and was friends with–he taught me how to fight. He said, if you’re going to defend yourself, then do it right. I’ve never forgotten what he said. He was killed in a car crash. My heart hurts for both people. It’s been too fast. Too soon.
So my complaining about patience and not wanting to wait for a response from someone is truly small potatoes compared to what the families of these people are going through…what my grandmother is going through.
So yeah, patience. It’s tough, but it’s important. I’m glad she’s trying to club me over the head with this point. I love Grandma. ❤
I’ve got a secret. I do. I’m horrible at waiting. HAWRRIBLE. I really am. Christmas is like a fresh kind of hell. I can’t wait for that day. I want Christmas to be like 25 days long so I don’t have to wait.
Okay, I’m kind of a brat that way. I know. It happens. This post is my way of ranting without getting into too much trouble.
You see…one of the hardest parts of being a writer is waiting. Waiting for edits, waiting for art, waiting for the release day….waiting for an acceptance or rejection. It’s tough. If you’re not a waiting kind of person…which I’m not…it’s murder. I don’t know how some authors do it. I mean, I don’t. How do you put a submission out of your mind?
For me, the stories aren’t my babies. They’re like paintings or drawings. They’re something I created. My work. I want them to be received well, don’t get me wrong. But they’re work. The thing is, I can’t figure out how to separate myself from the hope they’ll be accepted. I know going in that not every book will be accepted. It happens. It’s part of the business.
Still, I’m not great at wondering while the submission is out there floating around the slush piles or email folders…wherever it ends up.
Anyone have an idea for how to not lose my mind while waiting? I’ve tried writing. Trust me. That’s helped, but I can’t write 24-7. Life won’t let me. If you’ve got suggestions, I’m all ears. Hit me with your best suggestions for filling the void while waiting.