This week’s topic is the best and worse writing advice we’ve ever gotten. As most of you know, there is an unending supply of advice people offer when you write. Today, after 30 books, a guy I know insists of talking to me about how he could have my book printed for me for a fe thousand dollars. I explained that I’m fine. When that didn’t work, I tried explaining the differences in print publishing, digital publishing, self-publishing and even vanity publishing to him. Still, he is undaunted. He can help me. Really, he’s happy to do it.
Among all the random bits of advice out there are some gems. But it’s not hard for me to pick the best. That award goes to a relatively simple concept I still struggle every day to implement and remember: your writing career is a marathon, not a sprint. I heard this from my first editor, the awesome Kate Duffy. She died a few years ago but I whenever I start thinking I’m not writing fast enough or publishing the right thing, or feel like I’m falling behind people who started writing about the same time I did, I hear Kate’s voice. It’s great advice. You’ll find that living it is the hard part.
The worst advice I ever got is probably a combination of things. It’s any comment that purports to know THE RIGHT WAY write. Man, if only it was that easy. If you could just learn the magic secret, punch in the right words and – boom! – bestseller. How great does that sound? Do you know how many movies I could watch each day? Uh, no.
One of the interesting things about all this advice is how much of it conflicts. You must write to the market. No, you must write the book of your heart. You should start with traditional NY publishers. No, only an idiot would waste time with that route. And those don’t even touch the conflicting advice you get about the actual craft of writing. Seems to me the only way to succeed and thrive, and not go insane, is to remember no one way works for everyone. I also find eating chps helps.