"There's no point in spending your life in the pursuit of something that's easy." - Alice Kuipers

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Practical Advice for Writers

I've only been writing professionally for a short while, but in that time I've received an immeasurable amount of invaluable advice. Some of which I'd like to share with you. Some of it has come from writing blogs, some from the always helpful Writers Digest, still more from workshops and classes and of course, from other writers. I can't claim to be an expert (I wouldn't dare!) but maybe a few of the tips that others have been kind enough to share with me can be of some help to you. Please enjoy and feel free to share your own words of wisdom in the comments.

  • Just Write - It may seem obvious, but I still struggle with this one. I get stuck on the mayhem of platform building, publishing, marketing and editing before I even get the words down on paper. I get intimidated by the big picture, by the perfect manuscript that refuses to magically appear whenever I pick up the pen. My internal editor criticizes every word choice, forever scrutinizing whether future readers will find my prose awkward and derived. There is so much that can knock you down before you ever get started. Don't let it. Write first and worry about the rest later. 
  • Put Your Work Out There - Again, it seems simple. You've finished your story, essay, novel, etc and made it as good as it can possibly be. The next logical step is to send it out into the world. But it's a frightening idea. It's easy to feel vulnerable and raw when we expose our work to the criticism of others. But if it's not out there then it can never be published. It's a little like the tree falling in the forest. No one can see your beautiful words if you haven't put them out there for people to see. 
  • It Will Hurt - I learned this one from author Alice Kuipers while she was the Writer in Residence at the public library. She challenged me to send my work out into the world but cautioned me about the rejection. Rejection is inescapable (don't kid yourself) and it will hurt. A lot. Some days it will make you question whether you can write at all. But it's an important part of being a writer. It builds resolve, a thicker skin and if you're open to learning from it, you'll become a much better writer for the experience.
  • Try New Things - When I started writing seriously I was only interested in two things: blogging and writing novels. But as I took more classes and started trying new things, I realized I also enjoyed personal essays and short stories. Likewise, I also realized I had no interest in journalism. I love getting to include a little of my own perspective in my writing. But if I hadn't branched out and tried new things, I never would have known. It keeps things fresh and exciting. It's a lovely gift to give yourself.
And there you have it! Just a few simple tips I've learned as I've explored the world of writing. This isn't everything, not by a long shot. If I tried to include every tip, trick and pearl of wisdom this post would go on forever. No, this is just a taste. I learn more and more every day and I love every minute of it. But now it's time to hear from the readers. What say you, readers? What great advice have you received over the years?


  1. Great suggestions. That putting your work out there thing is a killer! I struggle with that one. I just keep writing figuring that at least I'll have lots to sell if I ever get the guts and find a publisher!

    1. Don't put it off! Don't rob the world of the joy of enjoying your writing!