Friday, August 28, 2009

A few tips for new writers

If you're just starting out in writing, here are a few things you should know:

1.If you haven't finished a book, no one cares what your pen name is. Seriously. Even after you've finished that first book, no one really cares what your pen name is. Pen names and the exhaustive effort to come up with one are just tools of procrastination. If you want people to care about your pen name, write a book that will do that. Oh, and just for the record? Some of us use our real names.

2. Support the published authors you know. That means, if you go to a book signing, buy their book. If they ask for comments on their blog, do it. Treat them the way you'd want to be treated when you achieve that same level of success.

3. If you want to be a published author, stop talking about writing and write. And then keep writing until you get to the end. Even if it sucks. If you can't finish a book you're in deep doody.

4. No one is an overnight success in this business. No one's success is comparative. My journey has nothing to do with your journey. Some people sell the first book they write. Some people sell the 13th. Jealousy will eat you alive if you let it. So don't.

5. Don't write to trends, unless you enjoy it. Write what you love, because if it sells, you may have to keep writing it for a long time.

6. Develop a full body callus. Critiques are hard, rejections are hard, reviews are hard. The sooner you figure that out, the better off you'll be. There might be some crying involved, but there's also chocolate and wine.

7. Know when to keep your mouth shut. There are going to be times you want to vent. Don't do it in public unless you're prepared to be called out for it. The internet is a very small place. So are local chapters and writing groups. I suggest a small circle of trusted, like-minded friends.

8. Lastly, when you do make it, remember those who helped you along the way.


  1. A good list of writing dos & don'ts. :)

  2. Wonderful advice, thanks for posting.

  3. I'm just glad I have someone like you around to keep it real, sister blister!

    And I totally agree with #6. Learning to take criticism is freaking hard. I have discoverd a pattern of mine, and I try to ride the wave before I start whining.

  4. Very to the point and very true.

  5. Wish I hadn't failed at some of those even after hearing the advice.

    Excellent list of things that some of us need to hear many times - he says, knowing his blog is a psuedonym(which took 10 minutes to pick). :)

    I'd add -

    9. Not everything is about you - or "I can't believe Kristen hates my psuedonym!" :)

  6. Great advice Kristen! And sooo true, all of them.

  7. I agree with all your points. :)

    I feel like you dug in my head and wrote what I was thinking. LOL

  8. Excellent advice, Kristen:)

  9. Great points! Thanks.

  10. Thanks for sharing. They all get stirred up at times and I need to remember them.

  11. Probably the best list of tips I have read. Short, sweet, and to the point. I love the way you cut to the chase.

    Hmm... isn't Tuesday a big day for you??? :)

  12. You should do a workshop. I'm not even kidding, people need to know this stuff.

  13. Very good advice, and I agree with all of it.