Welcome to a new year of Writing Tip Wednesday! As many of you know, this weekly blog series is my pay-it-forward project. When I began my writing journey, the authors I met gave me honest but encouraging feedback and taught me a lot about writing and the publishing world. Many have became good friends and I know I can always count on them. I strongly believe writers should support and help each other through shared information, critique groups, writers’ programs and organizations, and collaboration. Most of us are avid readers and are happy to cheer on our colleagues as they work to achieve their writing career goals—finishing a manuscript, getting a new contract offer, signing with an agent, having a new release, etc.—so this year will focus on Writing Advice from published authors. I’m up first!
My top two recommendations for all writers are to study writing craft and join a writing group. Even with a strong background in grammar and language, most writers still need guidance in craft. Using POV correctly, utilizing GMC, and showing rather than telling typically aren’t taught in high school and college writing courses and are often weak areas for those embarking on a writing career. Whether grammar and punctuation are strengths or weaknesses, everyone can benefit from having a copy of Chicago Manual of Style handy. The investment is worth it!
Writing groups and organizations are also an excellent investment. Not only are they a great resource for finding critique partners, many offer learning opportunities like programs, workshops, and conferences on craft, the publishing industry, and research topics. Being surrounded by other writers fosters friendships and sparks creativity. I always come home from IRWA chapter meetings and the RWA National Conference reenergized and ready to dive into writing.
Good craft is the basis for good writing, but learning about the publishing industry is vital as well. No matter the path an author chooses, she needs to be educated on how the process works. Far too often, writers who submit to editors and agents haven’t researched standard formatting guidelines or don’t follow the submission rules. Self-publishing gives her more freedom and control—plus a lot more responsibility. Some writers rush to put their books out in the market as quickly as they can, skipping over important steps like editing and previewing for formatting errors.
In the quest for knowledge, beware of any resource claiming all writers should follow a specific method for writing and publishing. No single way is the right way. The journey belongs to each individual and the path is unique. Self-publishing doesn’t fit every author’s needs any more than plotting makes a pantser write better or faster. We all have varying demands on our time and different responsibilities to balance. Find what works for you. Also, keep in mind that writing methods and processes can change from book to book and with experience.
Setting realistic goals can help with balance. Make them challenging but achievable to avoid the too-easy road and the set-myself-up-for-failure or compare-my-word-count-to-others’ pitfalls. A setback isn’t the end of the world, so adjust goals as needed. Don’t give up!
Write what’s in your heart and be prepared to work hard—because writing is hard work!
When her fingers aren't attached to her keyboard, Mellanie Szereto enjoys hiking, Pilates, cooking, gardening, and researching for her stories. Many times, the research partners with her other hobbies, taking her from the Hocking Hills region in Ohio to the Colorado Rockies or the Adirondacks of New York. Sometimes, the trip is no farther than her garden for ingredients and her kitchen to test recipes for her latest steamy tale. She is multi-published with Siren-Bookstrand (five short stories in anthologies and ten novellas) and has self-published two novels in her foodie contemporary and erotic series, in addition to her nonfiction Writing Tip Wednesday handbooks on writing craft, writing career, and self-publishing. Mellanie makes her home in rural Indiana with her husband of twenty-eight years, their son, and a crazy black cat. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Indiana Romance Writers of America, Hearts Through History Romance Writers, and PASIC. Visit her website at www.mellanieszereto.com.
Romance...With A Kick!