Before we are writers we are readers. Perhaps that is the one thing that encourages us to start a writing journey of our own. I’ve discovered some inspiring tips from Emma Dryden of the SCBWI. Her philosophies in regards to reading, expanding, adapting and investing in our writing are very useful. Happy Writing!
Do you love reading? [Explored #28] (Photo credit: Fiduz)
Staying on the Road: 7 Tips for Authors & Illustrators
I was asked recently by my colleagues in the SCBWI-Oregon region to share some inspirational thoughts for authors and illustrators. I am happy to share these remarks with a wider audience:
Read. Read as much and as often as you can. Read books within the genre and style in which you write. Read books in genres and styles with which you’re less comfortable. Read aloud – from books you love, from books you don’t love, and from your own work – to learn about voice and narrative flow. Read in order to become a stronger writer.
Explore & Expand. Explore all options for yourself as a writer or illustrator—explore creative options and publishing options. Expand your thinking as a creative person to try new styles in your own work. Explore new avenues for the exchange of ideas and for inspiration, be it through social networking, critique groups, conferences. Expand yourself and expand your art – try something you’ve never tried before in your writing or artwork.
Adapt. Adapt to change. The creative environment and the publishing environment are underdoing significant changes right now and it’s critical to remain as adaptable as possible. Be flexible and open to new ideas, new strategies, and new business models. Be flexible and open to new approaches to your own work. Adapting to the new environments in which we live and work doesn’t mean giving up any creative instincts; rather, it means expanding the possibilities for yourself and your work.
Diligence. Be diligent with your craft. Practice. Write and rewrite. Sketch and re-sketch. Be as diligent with revision as you are with the first draft of anything you create. And be diligent as the marketplace throws up its barriers: if you get rejected, keep sending out your work; if you get feeback, revise; if you have questions, take time to figure out the answers.
Invest. Invest in your work and in yourself. Figure out what you’re willing to invest in your craft and recognize it as an investment in your future, your career, and your confidence. Investment can be many things: saving up to attend a conference or two throughout the year; working with a freelance editor and designer to ready your work before you submit or self-publish; taking the time to research the marketplace, agents, and publishing options. Read more here.
Writing isn’t as easy as some people may think. We writers worry and second guess each word we put on a page. We worry that we aren’t good enough, that our work isn’t interesting and we wonder how our favorite writers would tell the same story. If you are wonder how you can learn to trust your writing simply read the article by Australian author Lynda R. Young over at Rachna’s Scriptorium. Lynda has some simple tips to help you begin to trust your writing.
How to Trust Yourself as a Writer
Learn the Rules: Whatever it is in life you want to do, you’ll first need to learn how to do it. The same goes for writing. Sure, anyone can string a few sentences together and call it writing, but not everyone can do it well. Learning the craft will give you the confidence to be the writer you want to be.
Find Support: Find a supportive writing group, a family member who believes in you, a friend who will cheer you on. Keep going back to these people to find the encouragement you will need. They will keep you positive in the face of rejections. They’ll hold you up and tell you the words you need to hear, such as: Yes you made the right decision to pursue writing. Yes you can do this.
Don’t stay in isolation: Writers tend to have a distorted view of their work. We fluctuate from thinking our work is pure genius, to thinking our work is dog’s body. Critique partners, beta readers, editors, and mentors will help to give us a clearer picture of our work. And they will help to improve our work, which in turn will give us confidence. The more we share our work, the easier it becomes. Read more here.
Are you having fun writing or does it seem to be a chore?
I love writing. I giggle every time I come up with a new idea and jot it down in my journal. I love talking about writing even when it annoys those around me who get to hear it all the time. Again, I giggle. I love reading about writing and learning about writing. I can’t get enough. Some of the information sticks and some rolls off when I get information overload.
There are times when I feel overwhelmed with all of the information and the list of things I need to do. But, I just take a little break and venture out into the world, picking up more new information and eavesdropping on conversations, just in case I can use it in one of my projects (*giggle*). I do get tired sometimes, but like anything else we need to just take little breaks to get rejuvenated.
If you are starting out down the road to writing and you are feeling overwhelmed, ask for help. You can find a writing buddy, take a class or join a writers group. If that doesn’t help ease your pain then perhaps writing isn’t for you. I have been writing and creating for a long time. It’s in my blood and literally in my genes. In my opinion, if you don’t eat sleep and drink writing you probably won’t write.
As writers we know that revising our projects is crucial in regards to getting our work look at by an agent or publishing company. I know for a fact I am a glutton for punishment when it comes to rewriting. It’s natural and normal for a writer to be this way. We want our stories to be perfectly polished. We want someone to want to read our story and be able to enjoy it without stumbling over the type-o’s and unclear scenes.
Speaking of stumbling, I came across a really fun blog where Assistant Agent, Natalie Fischer is offering some great advice on how to revise your manuscript successfully. Her wonderful blog is Adventures in Agentland. Stop by and visit and get some great advice.