Just noting down what I’ve learned over these years I’ve been writing. Hopefully it’s something every writer can relate to and benefit from.
1. Be teachable. There’s no one magical “Right Way” to do everything, and who knows? You may find a tip or bit of advice that proves to be more valuable than you ever suspected.
2. Emotion, emotion, emotion. Learned this from Valerie Parv (http://www.valerieparv.com/) herself. When you think you’ve added enough emotion, ADD MORE.
3. If you can’t handle your critique partner’s less-than-gushing comments about your manuscript, then you’re not ready to submit it to an editor. I’d rather hear from my CP that my ms is crudtastic, honestly, than to have an editor say it.
4. If more than one CP or an editor mentions something they perceive as a problem in your writing, then you likely have a problem you need to address. This also goes back to tip #1— be teachable.
5. It’s not necessary to become an ethusiastic adherent to every new (or not so new) “how to write” process that’s out there. I remember when I first heard about the Snowflake method. I checked it out and decided it had merit, but wouldn’t work for me.
6. It’s okay if the first draft is dreadful. Really. That’s why it’s often called the “rough draft.”
7. The best way to write is the way that works for you. Just because others use note cards or white boards doesn’t necessarily mean you have to use them, too.
8. Editors really do notice if you don’t follow house guidelines when you submit. I know this because I was an editor for an e-publisher for several years. You really are sabatoging yourself by not following house submission guidelines. Why? Because it tells the editor you know nothing about their house or that you simply don’t care and that you don’t have a professional attitude towards this. Take the time and make the effort to tailor your submission to the house guidelines.
9. Rejection isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Especially if you’ve received a rejection letter in which the editor has taken the time to tell you what he/she sees wrong with your writing. Turn rejection into a positive thing by viewing it as a learning opportunity.
10. Have fun while you write. It’s important that you, as the author, connect with your characters and story—it will shine through in your writing.
11. Write, write, write. And don’t be surprised that your voice evolves the more you write and the more you learn and apply.
12. And don’t forget to write. 10 words or 1000…they all count. Unless they are about what you had for dinner shared on Facebook. Those type things are iffy and rather sketchy at best. 😉