So you wanna be a writer?


In a recent email to our authors, we asked them to share the best writing advice they've ever gotten.

We were hoping to hear that our previous suggestions were valid, as well as learn a few things, and they delivered on both counts!

Anyone was hoping that procrastination would actually be valuable is likely to be disappointed.

Julie Walker quotes Chuck Wendig — “Finish your sh*t” — and Cara Marsi agrees, adding: “Writers who give up never get published.”

It might help you to put it in perspective the way Deborah Leigh did: “Remember, as you procrastinate with entertainment distractions, that everybody you’re observing worked at their art. They didn’t neglect it, and the proof is in the fact that you're looking at it.”

Preparation also helps, too. Evelyn McCabe, another firm believer in not giving up, writes every day and looks ahead. “Write ideas when you have them,” she says. “Devise a system and put ideas in at the moment or you won't have them when you reach for them.”

And now for the new information — a healthy dose of humility seems to help writers.

Mollie Hunt turns to fellow author David Gerrold for her wisdom: “The first million words are just practice.” 

Along those lines, Beth McNamara suggests, “If your writing doesn’t live up to your expectations — lower your expectations.” 

We interpreted that as a mix of self-deprecation and acceptance of the learning curve. The latter was a key theme of Pamela Crane’s advice: 

“Constantly evolve — in all areas of publishing. Learn how to hone your craft so that your writing gets better with each book, learn to how self-edit, learn how to produce stellar-quality books, and learn to how to market.” 

When you’re working on those stellar-quality books, you may want to keep Jim Stewart’s recommendations in mind.

His all-time favorite recommendation was, in an echo of the previous newsletter, that authors must both read and write.

But he also sent in a runner-up, which we got a good laugh out of — while also recognizing the truth of its conclusion: “Your villains are crap! They need to be actual people.”