I had a great evening yesterday, talking with the reviewer Fran Lewis on her radio show…You can listen to it here:
Together with three other authors, the show featured us all talking about our influences, how we develop characters, etc. It was great fun. I had a great time, helped enormously by the wonderful fellow-authors who shared air-time with me.
One of the questions we didn’t really have time for was – what would be the 5 most important things you would advise a beginning writer to do. This got me to thinking, and here is my list. You can embellish or reject as you so desire, but these are what I think as being ‘important’:
- Writing is hard work. Damned hard work. As I’ve said many times, it’s not ‘a get rich quick scheme’. It requires dedication, toil, soul-searching and heartaches. It’s also a lot of fun, but be prepared for the long haul. That first draft may take you only three weeks to get down, but the re-writes and the edits, that is where the time is spent.
- As soon as you have written that book, or perhaps even before it is completed, be thinking of your next one. This is essential for an author. To create, to be consumed by stories, that is the guiding principle. Stephen King famously talked about Salinger, and the fact that he never followed up ‘Catcher in the Rye’. King couldn’t believe how anyone could call themselves ‘a writer’ if that person didn’t write, and I agree wholeheartedly. I write, it is what I do,. Simple as. I can’t imagine a time when I wouldn’t write. I have lots of projects all bubbling away at the same time, and as soon as I finish one, I move on to the next exciting chapter!
- Always keep a notebook close at hand. You never know when that inspirational smack in the mouth is going to strike. It might be in the middle of the night, whilst you’re showering, or whilst you’re driving to work, but if you don’t write it down, you’ll forget. Trust me, this happens, as I know to my cost.
- It’s fun. Enjoy it. You are creating worlds, filling a blank screen with your imagination, creating something that didn’t exist until a few moments ago. Relish in that knowledge and smile. This is not a ‘job’, it is life.
- Never, ever give up. If that first book is rejected, submit the next. And keep going. If you’re good enough, someone will pick you up. I’m not talking about self-publishing, I’m talking about your work being validated by people who know what they are talking about – be that traditional publishers, or small independent presses. If somebody likes your work enough to commit a substantial investment, there are few better feelings that I know of.
Writing is not easy, and it isn’t always financially rewarding, but it is such an incredible magical experience to see your book in print that I simply wouldn’t want to do anything else.
Fran said my latest work ‘Roadkill’ frightened her to death within the first couple of pages.
What a compliment that was! She is reading it right now and I can’t wait for her review. To catch your own copy, it is available on all formats, either from Barnes and Noble or Amazon. Here’s a link, and I hope you will see what my philosophy helps me to create. Damned good stories!
Thanks for dropping by, and keeping reading.