Advice From Other Authors

I dislike advice as such from other writers – I believe that each artists has their own path to tread. But by advice in this context I mean ‘You have to do it this way, you are doing it wrong, that is never going to work’. This may have been true for them, may even still be true but I have always learnt best by doing and altering the mix to change the outcome – I am by nature a scientist.

However I LOVE advice from other writers. I seek it out, I read how to write books – most of the annoy me but I tend to still get something from them. A different way of starting a story, ways to find ideas, processes for growing those ideas. And then there are those books that are about the authors own story – how they made it, what they did, why it worked and why it will, wont, might work in todays flux of markets. These are the advice gold!

I often find via friends or youtube or both interviews with writers whos works I like and I will listen and learn and discover that hey these people aren’t very different from me. Often they didn’t do things the ‘right way’ but they had determination and stuck at it and carried on even when money was tight and life was hard.

My favourites are Success and How To Avoid It by Mat Coward and Stephen Kings On Writing.

I also tend to follow authors on Twitter, Facebook is not so interesting for authors as alot of them just have their page managed and for fans to talk about stuff and learn of new releases. However Anne Rice does interact which is great as do those involved in various writing challenges like PiBoIdMo. this creates for me a sense of not being on my own with the writing and art. It also leads me to forget that people are famous and I tweet at them like they are at the same point in their careers as me, obviously they often don’t respond but sometimes they do and this is great, sometimes they join in the chat. And sometimes I find the person that I thought was ‘just’ a writer friend of a friend is someone who wrote the stories that were turned into films I love (Neil Gaimon) but I only found that out by seeing a video of him giving advice and being inspired and watching more videos of his to gain more ‘advice’.

Authors blogs can be great too and sometime they are boring as…

So my advice on advice from other authors or writers or communicators or artists etc… is listen and learn but listen to the most valuable voice in the cacophany – your own. Only you know where you want to go with the writing, what path will suite – and be aware that the easiest isn’t always the best, the well word ruts of an established industry maybe slippery with polish from all those who have gone before. If you are stuck climb, dig or scrabble your way out – you may need help to do so – ask for it and ask others if you are not given the help initially but be prepared that the help maybe instructions on how to build yourself a ladder and that you will have to do the hard graft.

What I have gleaned from other authors:

  1. Write about what interests you
  2. Be true to your own voice don’t try and copy a voice or style
  3. Don’t be discouraged when you get a rejection or things go wrong – learn from it and move on
  4. Be-aware of the sting of success when you can end up over worked and under paid and have no scope to escape the cycle
  5. Live your life, engage with the world
  6. Be flexible
  7. People will look down on you, hate your work or worse love your work without seeing it for what it is.
  8. Keep writing!
  9. Don’t be afraid to write a story idea that you think has been done to death – it has not been done by you with your style and your insights.
  10. Finish projects!

This list counters many points I found in How-To write books such as only write what you know and practice writing in voice, stick to genre and so on… I am not saying they are invalid just that they were not piece of advice I could use.

Posted: Wednesday, November 7th, 2012 @ 12:17 pm
Categories: Publishing.
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