Beyond the basics: tips for writers

A billion or more books, articles, posts, and other references about the mechanics of writing, how to self-publish or query agents/publishers and so on, pop up when you Google anything about writing. This post is about what I’ve come to term ‘the soft skills,’ which have more to do with your mindset and relationship with writing rather than the mechanics or craft itself.

This post is dedicated to @yhollieann from Twitter, who asked me for some advice on pushing through her frustration with writing.

These rules seem simple but have taken me years to figure out! At the end of the day, how you approach your writing and how you view yourself as a storyteller are as crucial to your success as the books you write.

  1. Write. Always. Anything. No matter what the length, topic, tropes, etc. Just write freely without judgment.
  1. Surround yourself with supportive, positive people, be they beta readers, editors, fans, etc. All feedback should be given in a constructive, loving, supportive manner.
  1. Challenge yourself. Experiment with your writing style, with descriptions, dialogue, events, even how/when you write. Change something every time you start a new book just to see what happens.
  1. Plot holes, flat characters, trite dialogue, rushed storytelling – these are all opportunities to grow. They’re positives, because they challenge you to grow as a writer. Learn to spot them and then thank them for giving you an opportunity to grow before you fix them!
  1. Your style is unique to you. It will resonate with the right readers – your readers. Your core readers are as much a part of your world as your characters. Love them equally.
  1. Create a relationship with your writing. One built on respect, love, understanding and above all – appreciation for every story. Like people, stories can be flawed and still beautiful. Each story is part of you in some way and also helps you grow. Love it and the process.
  1. Bring only positivity to your workspace. There’s no room for doubt, self-loathing, or any other emotion that interferes with your ability to create.
  1. You’re putting your soul on paper for others to read. This makes you extremely brave. Remember this always. You are brave. You are amazing. You are courageously following your dream.
  1. When needed, find a mentor. Someone who can help your writing grow in a positive, supportive way. When in doubt, read. Books are the best mentors out there.
  1. Did I mention write? Write, write, write!

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