Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Information Overload (Abridged Version)

As a writer I have found it a bit daunting to make the big step from aspiring writer to published author because of the amount of choices on advice that is available. I pride myself on being able to keep my cool in a crisis, to be able to handle chaos elegantly without fail, however, even I will admit to feeling overwhelmed by the amount of critiques and opinions available online. While I have found some information to be invaluable, some of the others I’ve heard are about as useful as boobs on a man.

Now before you commence with the reading you’re probably wondering where I have any right to decide what is useful and what isn’t, aren’t you? Point taken. I don’t. This is a blog filled with my own thoughts because of countless headaches on the subject.

What I have found to be invaluable have been from random people as well as close friends, and that is the following:

DON’T listen to premade lists of what subject, genre, type, font, book cover etc., you should be writing or using. Write what you feel and what you connect with.
DO get a professional editor to go over your manuscript before you publish or submit to an agent. Beta readers are great for this if you’re on a budget, but some may be less likely to offer constructive criticism because they don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
DON’Tlet anyone convince you you have to have an agent or publishing company to get published.
DO decide up front what your goals are for your work and if they are reasonable.
DON’T get offended by bad reviews of your work. First reaction for me is to get pissed and go off on the person. Sit back, calm down. Take what they say with a grain of salt but try to find what they’re saying constructive and see if it bears any weight on your work and if improvement could be made.
DO have a support network outside of friends and family that consists of other writers/authors. Because when the going gets tough, they will be the ones that truly understand what you’re going through.

At the end of the day though, you could think about it and believe that knowledge is power. It is a saying I don’t agree with fully because I have an uncle that has a lot of knowledge in bullshit, doesn’t mean he’s powerful.

Truth be told I have no more room than anyone else to tell you what to do and how to do it. Fact is, it took a very dear friend asking me what I wanted to accomplish with my writing to get my act in gear. Did I want to be famous or did I want to be published? Once I had that goal set, the rest has been fairly easy to latch onto.

So if you’re a writer or an author, what has been the best and the worst advice given to you about writing and getting published?

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