Random Friday


For lack of other randomness, I shall let random writers dispense random writerly wisdom… Enjoy these writers on writing! And publishing! And… all the best to all the writers out there!

I do not believe in the assumption in this business that feedback from anyone can really help you. That’s not how a writer learns, folks.

So going to a beginning writer workshop and listening to other beginners tell you what you did wrong is like going to a person who does your hair who never finished high school and ask them for legal advice. You would never do that, right?

So why ask other uninformed and ill-informed and beginning writers what is wrong with your story? The only answer you can possibly get is dangerous, likely wrong, and usually destructive to your belief in yourself and your art.

Just say no, as Nancy used to say.

Set up a networking group and learn craft from major professional writers and keep writing. Trust your own art. Believe in yourself.

A ton more fun that way.

Dean Wesley Smith

 

And that’s what I’ve been having the most trouble with these past two weeks. Once again, my brain has difficulty wrapping itself around the idea that there is more than one path to success in this new world.

I’m aware of it: Hell, I preach it here on the blog almost every week. But apparently, deep down, I’m still stuck in the (almost literal) ruts of my “upbringing” in traditional publishing. When I default for myself, I default to the One True Path idea—and I default hard.

So, this blog is really not for you. It’s for me. It’s a reminder that in this modern world there is no longer One True Path. There are as many new paths as there are writers. The internet has opened the world to all of us, and we can pursue the careers we want—or at least, the parts of the career we can manage.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch

 

The main question I’ve been asking myself is this: What do I have control over? Or at least, what do I have the most control over? Where do I have choices, and how do those choices affect my success? Basically, the idea is that there are four main areas that a writer has the most control over that directly affect his or her success, each of these being a leg of the table:

  1. What you write
  2. How much you write
  3. How much you learn
  4. How you market

Rather than abstract terms like “content” and “productivity,” I prefer concrete words that are more actionable — which, of course, is a fairly abstract word, but we’ll let that pass for now. There are so many ways for a writer working today to spend his or her time that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. These four legs are what I think constitutes a very sturdy table. If you are negligent in any of the legs, well, it can make your table pretty shaky after a while. A lot of writing with a poor marketing strategy often results in lackluster sales. A lot of learning without actually producing much — like the workshop junkie who goes to lots of classes but doesn’t actually write unless compelled to do so by a teacher — is equally out of whack.

Scott William Carter

 

I’ve decided that the next time a writer asks me for that one piece of advice I’d like to give every writer, I’m going to tell them this:

Buy a hat.

No, not because I have some milliner friends who need the support. But because writers, and particularly brand new beginning writers, need to understand the separation of church and state.

Your writing is not the same as your writing business.

These two things have some links between them, but I’ll say it again:

Your writing is not the same as your writing business.

When you have finished your book and it’s time to release it into the world, you must, must, must at that time take off your writing hat and put on your publishing or business hat.

Perhaps you have a pair of steampunk welding goggles instead. Or a leather workman’s apron.

Whatever metaphor or physical object works for you. For some writers, I actually would recommend that they go get a hat or something that reminds them of the difference.

I am not speaking to just indie writers here. Traditionally published writers need to make this same separation.

Writing isn’t the same as business.

Leah Cutter

 

When you’re just starting out, your craft is poor, and it’s endless frustration. You have amazing ideas that are never as good on paper as they are in your head.

Then, as you develop, you eventually get to the point where you can execute your ideas on paper about as well as you can see them in your head–and at that point, you start to feel pretty good about yourself.

But if you keep going, and keep improving your craft, you’ll eventually get to the point where the stuff that comes out on paper is SO much better than what it started out as in your head that you never *quite* believe that it came from you–and you can still improve from there.

That’s really what, for me, makes writing a total kick in the head.

– Stephen J. Cannell

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