Masters tales

Advice to aspiring writers

If you want to write for a living then you need to have a few things including an imagination and the drive to want to write, and oddly business sense. This is the paradox of writing. You sit and tap away at a computer or you hand-write your master piece, and it is a work of art. You have poured your soul onto the page. Finished you sit back and wonder – now what?

Now you have to take your work of art and make it a commercial success, and this is where I see a lot of people stumble. You see the manuscript that holds all your hard-fought words is nothing more to a publisher than something that will potentially make money. So to any aspiring author I say – distance yourself. If you send your manuscript out to publishers then you will probably get in excess of 20 rejections before someone says yes. It can’t break your heart with every no. You won’t last if it does.

But before you have completed your novel or novella or story you have to hone your craft. If you don’t have access to a writers group then take a short course at the local college. And write a story a day. Honestly I did it during January and the difference in my writing was alarming. Even the lecturers on the MA said that they thought I was writing ten times better. Try the prompts on the daily prompt or on the write so fluid website. Just do it.

I know it is the old adage – practice. But in this case it really works. The more you write the better your writing.

Stick to your guns – if you write something and someone says it is good but… and the list of changes is so long that you are essentially rewriting the work, then don’t. If the story is so changed that it isn’t your story anymore then there is no reason to do it. The manuscript is yours and you don’t have to do anything that you don’t want to.

Saying that though, it there are a few alterations, then there is no reason not to do them.

Write what you want to. Even if you are offered a job make sure it is what you want to write. Writing is a hard business and if you try to write something you have no interest in then you will be climbing uphill dragging a boulder.

Create an online presence, at the least a blog but if you can include a twitter account, Facebook page and anything else you can think of that is social networking. Publish on your own blog and don’t worry about giving away ideas – no one can copyright an idea. Which is why there are many forms of the same story – ‘Romeo and Juliette’, ‘Westside Story’, “Gnomeo and Juliette”… Write your blog and don’t be scared – just tell your story.

No one can guarantee that you will succeed in the writing world, I may not, but you can give it your best shot. I know I am determined to make it, but even if I don’t at least I’ll be able to sit back and say that I tried my hardest.

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10 thoughts on “Advice to aspiring writers

  1. Great advice. I agree that it’s important to take their advice without being a slave to their comments. After all, it is “your” story.

    1. Thanks. It is hard to keep the thought of it being your story when someone wants to publish you. And sometimes it can be very hard to walk away, but I’ve heard from a few author friends that the re-writes don’t guarantee a contract. They can still turn you away, whereas another publisher will love the original. One author told me that it can be like a tennis game with the ball being the manuscript.
      So far it has only happened to me with short stories.

  2. Good points about the business side, Kate – that is something I tend to forget about, writing with my head in the clouds 🙂

    1. Thanks Vera – sometimes it is hard to hold on to the fact that your writing is art to you but a commodity to others. Still if we couldn’t write with our heads in the clouds and a smile on our faces, the stories just wouldn’t be as good. 🙂 I think you only need to remember the business once the story is finished – then you can worry about what to do with it. Until then it is your own flight of fancy, and hopefully a flight that others will enjoy.

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