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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Life Advice and Other Things

I thought this week’s post might be best used as a reflection on some of the life advice I’ve gathered during my time chasing my writing dreams and goals. Now, I’m not talking life advice in general, like how grooming your eyebrows can transform your face in both good and bad ways or how it’s easier to get things you want when you’re nice about it. I’m talking about writing advice, you know, usually the last question in all interviews that authors do?

So, here’s my summary of five key pieces advice I’ve gathered and want to pass along to you.

1) If you don’t use it, you could lose it: This is something I’ve very recently experienced myself – when it comes to writing, practice is key. If you don’t exercise your ability in different ways, like writing 3rd person when you’re used to writing 1st person POV for example, then you could find yourself very rusty when you want to make a switch – so don’t let yourself stall in any one area for too long –even if it’s just for practice or experimentation, it can’t hurt to explore other ways of doing things.

2) It’s not personal – really, it’s not: I know that’s a hard one to swallow because we often get really close to our work, but when dealing with professionals in this industry, a rejection or critique is not meant to hurt your feelings, it’s meant to make your work better. Now, I’m not saying that there aren’t cruel people out there ready and willing to crush you at the first chance, but I’m not talking about those people – I’m talking about the professional, respectful people, like the ones I’ve met in my own writing group or my agent and various editors – it’s these people who are trying to help you.

3) It never hurts to ask: As long as you’re respectful and polite about it, it doesn’t hurt to put the request out there and ask for what you want, especially if you offer to reciprocate in some way. What’s the worst that can happen? Someone can say no. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know if someone is willing to help you out or not.

4) You can’t give up: No matter how hard it gets (and trust me, it can get pretty hard) you can’t walk away from your dreams. Your chance might be just there, a fingertip away, but if you give up it will never happen. So find some trusted people to talk you off the ledge and keep going.

5) There’s always something to learn: If you think you’re flawless or that you don’t have anything more to learn, then I pity you. There’s always something to work on, improvements can always happen, especially if you’re experimenting with writing styles and breaking through your own boundaries. You need to put yourself out there, get critiques, have betas read your stuff – go to classes, research, explore and keep an open mind.

That’s it – my five top pieces of writing advice. What about you all? What helpful gems have you picked up along the way?


  1. Great tips, Angie:)
    Mine would be to always keep a journal or notepad nearby, because you never know when inspiration might strike and most of the time, if you don't write it down right away, you'll forget it by the time I get home.

  2. That pretty much covers it, Angie. Well said.

  3. So true, Angela. I think having a supportive network of family, friends, and writers is so important to help you get through the tough times and celebrate when you succeed. #OWG Rules!

  4. The best advice I heard was from David Gemmell who paraphrased Louis Lamour. Writing is like digging for gold, you have to dig through a ton of muck to find the yellow stuff.

  5. An excellent post Angie. I frequently get CW(Tammy) to talk me 'off the ledge' LOL, and she does it with style.
    I also loved the part about 'know it all' people. There's always something to learn...always! We will never know it all or be the best at it, but its fun trying to learn and discover everything that's new as we journey together.
    Thanks for sharing that post. :)

  6. Great tips and so true! Well said. :)

  7. Wonderful advice. Thank you so much for reminding us that no matter how difficult it can be, we can't give up.
    :) Lisa

  8. Just what I needed to hear right now, you must be inside my head this week, especially going through my first ever nano ;)
    Lovely inspirational post Ang. :)
    @ Pat - not sure how telling you to 'suck it up buttercup!' is talking you off the ledge but if it's working i'm there for you. lol! ;)

  9. Being new to writing I really identify with points 1, 3, and 5. I'm experimenting because I need to find out what I can do. I know very little, so number 3 is a given. Going through the process for number 1 means I can find out some of what I don't know, so I'll work on number 5. It's still too early yet for numbers 2 and 4... but now I know what to look out for, and it's reassuring to know others have already gone through this, and survived.