My 10 Pieces of Valuable Writing Advice (Part 2)
As promised, this week I am bringing you the second half of my writing advice list! If you didn't get to read Part 1 click here to check it out: ashleynicolewrites.com/post/my-10-pieces-of-valuable-writing-advice-part-1
With introductory words already out of the way with the last post, let's dive right in to tips 6-10!
6. Keep it Messy
When we first sit down and put our pen to paper most of the time our words do not come out as eloquently as we picture in our mind. There's going to be lots of typos and some places that just aren't described in enough detail for fresh eyes to really picture. This is okay. Sometimes writers want their first draft to look perfect, especially presenting it to a friend or beta reader for feedback, but you need to understand first drafts are meant to be messy. That is why they are called FIRST drafts not THE ONLY drafts. Even a seasoned writer is not going to get their finished manuscript polished and error free the first time around. Instead of letting yourself get bogged down with revising while writing trying to make it perfect just focus on getting the story out instead, otherwise you may find yourself getting frustrated and tired of the story or forgetting some of the great ideas you had to begin with.
7. Mum's the Word
There's so much excitement surrounding writing a novel, but despite the words almost bubbling over and coming out every time you talk to someone, you should refrain from talking about your book. Talking about your work in progress can start to get the "broken record" effect, not only for the people you talk about it to, but also to your own ears. Once exciting ideas can start to sound dull if said enough times. Also, summarizing your incomplete thoughts can kill ideas and you don't want accidental secrets and plot twists to slip.
On the other end of this, you don't want to completely brush people off if they ask what you're writing about. Once you have the genre and basic idea of your story, create a quick blurb to keep in your head to have ready for when people ask. Just a piece to tell them what your writing is about to pique their interest but not give away major story points in case things change.
8. Don't Change You
It's always scary to put your writing out there for the world to see. Even just giving samples to friends and beta readers gives me a little anxiety. Are they going to like it?
Chances are you'll have readers who don't like your writing, not because it needs work but even because the story just doesn't vibe with them, but that's okay. Have you liked every book you've ever read? I know there's a couple from High School I really had to push myself through...
Even though a rejection can be extremely disheartening because you are proud of the work you have put into this book, don't take it personal. Everyone gets rejections. Everyone gets negative reviews. But just because one person doesn't like your book doesn't mean no one will like it. Don't change yourself and what you love to write to please everyone because that is an accomplishment that can never be reached. Everyone has very different tastes. So write for you.
9. Find Your Voice
"So what kind of books do you write?"
How many times have you been asked that one? If you're like me you've already lost count a long time ago. For a while I would have a word vomit of genres fly out of my mouth because I didn't really know what I wrote. "Fiction-fantasy-SciFi-Romance-adventure? Something like that?" Always as a question.
Though it is important to know what audience you want to target when trying to sell you book, don't stress over being tied down to one genre. The lines blur and overlap so much you don't have to fit yourself in a box. Want to write something Science Fiction but don't like space or time travel, but like science and monsters? Look at Frankenstein. How about fantasy but don't want everything to be governed by magic? Look at the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik, hat's dragons with physical abilities.
Truth is, you could copy from any genre's famous book and write your own, but if it's missing or adding elements that just aren't you then it's not your book. Find your own voice, not another author's and again, write for you.
10. Always keep Writing
I took a creative writing class my senior year of High School and had the best teacher anyone could ask for. When I graduated she gave me a card. Written inside said,
"Above anything else, write. You can always
fix a bad page but you can't fix a blank one."
This piece of advice has sat with me more than any other I have ever heard. There are mornings I get up to write and the words just do not come. I can't figure out quite how I want to describe this one scene... So I don't. I write, "so and so fights so and so and wins" and then I move on to the next scene. You can always go back and change things. It is after all YOUR BOOK. But in order to change it, you have to write it. Even if it's bad the first time.
I just want to take a minute to say thank you to everyone who read my tips! Maybe not everyone of them will help you but if even just one vibes with you and your writing then I will call that a success! I wish you luck on your writing journey, and thank you for being a part of mine!