What advice do you have for writers?
03. Write some more.
04. Show your writing to other writers. Get feedback on your writing.
07. Rewrite again.
08. Show your writing to other writers. Get feedback on your writing.
11. Revise at least one more time.
12. And so on.
13. Also, read.
14. Read a lot.
15. Read books like the ones you are writing.
16. Read the best-written books you can, regardless of whether or not they are like yours. Read to learn
16. about good writing. Read to reacquaint yourself with the feeling of being lost in a good story. And then…
18. Revise some more.
19. Revise another one, three, or dozen times.
That’s it? Isn’t there more to writing than…writing?
Of course! Please see my Links page for recommended writers’ conferences, workshops, and seminars, writers’ organizations, and ways to connect with agents, editors, and critique groups. All of those can be very useful, can relieve the loneliness of writing, can inspire you to meet deadlines, can teach you about the craft of writing and the business of writing, and can connect you to people who will help you in your career. Check out any and all of those things, as you need them.
Keep in mind that while one writer may benefit greatly from an MFA program, another may simply need a month-long writing retreat. One could use a book on overcoming fear of writing, another needs a book on writing dialogue. This week a class on plotting might help your friend, who can’t figure out how to end her mystery, but you might get more from an informal writers’ association lunch where eight different writers describe how they balance writing and parenting.
But mostly, I advise you to do #s 1-19 above. They form the best basic path I know to writing a book. As for everything else, choose wisely. The right book or workshop at the right time can help you immensely. Or it can distract you from the main task at hand: writing.