I’m often asked for writing tips, so I thought I’d put together on one page what my best advice is.
- Never give up. As the saying goes, no one ever succeeded by giving up.
- Always be professional.
- Take advice with grace.
- Remember to congratulate yourself even on the smallest of achievements.
- Write down ideas, plot points and so on as you think of them other you can guarantee you won’t remember them later.
- Enjoy your first draft and if you get stuck on a particular scene, don’t get hung up over it. Move on and write the scene or a scene that comes some place else in the story. You can go back and write that sticky scene once you know what happened afterwards. Don’t let that scene become a negative place otherwise it will make you feel negative about the whole story.
- Attend writing workshops, join writing associations, read widely and learn about writing and the art of writing all the time.
- Understand the industry.
- Network, make connections, make friends and enjoy being part of the writing community.
Of course, there are lots more things and all the advice will apply to everyone but the above is my general rule of thumb.
I’ve also been asked about rejections and how to deal with them.
- Rejection is hard and never gets any easier but allow yourself time to accept it but don’t forget that it is your writing that has been rejected and not you. It’s not personal – it’s business.
- Leading on from that, remind yourself there are many reasons why a manuscript is rejected and a lot of those reasons are outside your control and not a reflection on your writing at all.
- Once over the initial pain of a rejection, take an objective view and decide whether their reasons are constructive and if there’s any benefit in making any changes.
- Take a breather from the story. Tuck it away for a couple of months, work on something different and then go back to it and read it with fresh eyes. I left a book 5 years once because I knew it wasn’t working. I went back to it several times over those 5 years until finally I worked out what was wrong. That book went on to be my biggest seller but in the meantime, I had written two other books. That time and those two books gave me more experience and enabled me to finish it.