Skip to main content

Sound advice


Some great writing advice from successful authors over at…yes you’ve guessed... The Guardian. I know you won't believe me, but I do read other stuff as well. Honest. Anyway, I particularly liked the following…

"Don't be too hard on yourself if you end up writing less well than you'd hoped. Keep going, but remember there's lots more to enjoy in life." ~ Tim Jeal

"When you finish that first manuscript and send it off to a publisher and start your second immediately. It will be infinitely better and you will have it finished by the time you get a reply about the first." ~ Reginald Hill

"Don't be afraid to fail. Failure tests you, to see if you have what it takes to see it through." ~ Markus Zusak

"Forget the spelling, forget trying to put it into chapters and the layout. Just write the story from the heart. Let it flow, warts and all." ~ Josephine Cox

"The Three Ps: practice, practice, practice. Writing is like everything else: the more you do it the better you get." ~ Iain Banks

"You should write a book as if no one you know will ever read it. Never share your book with your partner. They are the worst people to advise you." ~ Anne Fine

"Don't launch into your story until you are ready to; have a clear idea of the world you intend to create and of the characters who you intend to populate it with. " ~ Mark Mills

"Stick to it; keep persevering until you get something decent." ~ Barbara Taylor Bradford (I loved A Woman of Substance, back in the day.)

"Don’t get hung up trying to write the perfect first chapter. You'll never get it right, and by the time you get to the end of the book what you want from the first chapter will probably have changed anyway." ~ Val McDermid

"Always write as if you are talking to someone. It works." ~ Maeve Binchy

"Use your own experiences and then twist them a bit." Beryl Bainbridge

Phillip Pullman’s was my favourite, though. He says simply, “Don't. You'll never make it. You'll never earn a living. Get a decent job and forget all about it. It's a silly idea. There's no future in it."

The fact I’m ignoring such sage advice must mean I really want to do it. Which is nice.

Another, more relevant piece of advice, from me to me

“Karen. Stop reading articles about how to be a writer and Get On With It.
Capiche?

Comments

Tom Foolery said…
Ms C (have changed your name by deed poll (wink, wink!) (Your blog disappeared in cyberspace!)
.
Stop reading articles about how to be a writer and Get On With It.
.
Wise words seeing as you seem to be stuck on 5000 words! I stand corrected you gave me 8 words so that makes it hmmmm 5008 :) Tommox
KAREN said…
tommo - Yes, I had an Odd Encounter in the library with a, er, fan so thought I'd take my full name out of the address bar.

Regarding the 5008 words, I'm embarrassed to admit that it's actually less than that at the moment as I've been re-doing it. Blushes. It WILL be going up soon though.
Maddie Moon said…
Ooh, I love inspiring words of wisdom from published writers. It's very, well .... um, inspiring.

I'll print these out and keep them to hand for those all too frequent low moments of self-doubt!
HelenMH said…
Stop moving your blog Mrs! I keep losing you! I like Maeve Binchy's advice. And Phillip Pullman's of course!
Lane said…
I lost you again!

Now you give us these links and I end up noseying around and read that Marina Lewycka's Tractor book was rejected 36 times and she believes that many, very good writers never get published. Oh my.
So I then have to return and read all the words of wisdom and in doing so I didn't Get On With It.
(I enjoyed reading all their words though:-)
Faye said…
I have these two little gems of wisdom taped to my computer--stolen from the blogging community. Both get at that perfectionist streak:

"Without words there is nothing." and "You can always edit, but can't edit nothing."
Fiona said…
Thanks for posting these, Karen. They do help.

I know Mr Orwell went to over twenty publishers before he got Animal Farm out and...he'd been published before. So we have to keep our spirits up and keep going. 'Walk on through the rain...' I'm not usually this emotional until after 6pm when the gin's kicked in but that's the power of your post :)
Mercedes. said…
words of wisdon - indeed! Keep going is the motto here. I enjoyed reading your blog, fun and full of helpful advice, keep it up Karen. By the way, aren't kids great? They tell it to you just how they see it - loser! I'd hate to find out what mine think of me. Mad, barking, crazy, and let's not forget, LOSER! Whatever!
Mercedes. said…
words of wisdon - indeed! Keep going is the motto here. I enjoyed reading your blog, fun and full of helpful advice, keep it up Karen. By the way, aren't kids great? They tell it to you just how they see it - loser! I'd hate to find out what mine think of me. Mad, barking, crazy, and let's not forget, LOSER! Whatever!
KAREN said…
maddie - I like them too, although I suspect I'm secretly still hoping to find The Magical Way to Write a Bestseller!!

helenmh - I'm staying put now. It's too complicated trying to change everything anyway! I live Maeve Binchy's advice too :o)

lane - I won't disappear again - unless I'm asked to!
The fact that some good writers never get published was Very Depressing News indeed...amazing too that you can have your work rejected 36 times and not give up :o)

faye - I like the line about not being able to edit nothing...so very true!

fiona - I'm always casting about for inspiration, and it usually works :o) It is so important to keep going. When I read about all the authors who were turned down time and again, it makes you realise how big a part persistence paid in their eventual success!

mercedes - Definitely keep going - and thank you :o) Children really are great at keeping your feet on the ground...whether you want them to or not...
Yvonne said…
Great advice there, really got me all inspired!
Sarah*G* said…
you changed your url! i had you in my google reader but it wasn't coming up with anything new! wondered what was going on!

Popular posts from this blog

100th Post!

100 posts! This time last year I was a Blogging Virgin. Now I’m a bit of a slag. It’s become the highlight of my week, both reading yours and writing mine. Which means either:

a) I don’t get out much
b) I don’t get out much, or
c) I don’t get out much

(I think it's C)

This was my first ever post. Not a single comment did it receive. I dry-heaved into my hanky for an hour and considered leaving the country. Then I cottoned on to leaving comments in order to entice readers over.

Anticipating disappointment, outrage or (worse) apathy, I was pleasantly surprised to trap some lovely Readers in my cage of blathery nonsense. I nearly threw a Comments Party, but daren't push my luck.

It’s been a real journey, as they say on bad reality TV (is there any other sort?) On the way, I’ve been given some fantastic advice from you lot, as well as from a Real Published Author and more importantly I've learned that…

Mugs CAN live without kettles
The price of gravy changes with the wind
You can live i…

Q&A with Amanda Brittany

I'm thrilled to welcome Amanda Brittany to my blog today, to talk about her debut thriller Her Last Lie. 

It's been described as 'gripping with a shocking twist' and I can confirm that it is!

(It also has an amazing cover)



Which character in Her Last Lie would you like to meet?
Hi Karen, thank you for inviting me to your blog.
I suppose feisty Roxanne is the character I’d most like to meet. She’s so determined to get to the bottom of things, and appears to be a good friend to Isla.
There are definitely a couple of characters in the book I would hope never to meet.

I know the book has several settings, which did you enjoy writing the most?
I loved writing the second part of the book set in Abisko in Sweden. I visited Abisko a couple of years back, and it was great fun bringing the cold, bleak landscape to life, and describing the way The Northern Lights swoop across the night skies.
Are any of your characters based on people you know?
No, not at all, they all sprang from my imagi…

It's (not-even-nearly) the Season to be Jolly...

I know it's only September, but my new book THE BEACHSIDE CHRISTMAS is out today. It's the final in the Beachside series and writing three books in a year means I've been pretty immersed in this world.
10 things that stand out about writing this series are...
1. The Beachside Sweet Shop gave me the perfect opportunity to make some coconut ice. I used to help make it with my grandmother growing up, and it tasted exactly as I remembered
2. Also, in the course of research, I tried eating pear-drops to see whether I’d grown to enjoy them – I haven’t. I always preferred chocolate and still do.
3. Shipley, the setting for the series, is based on Swanage in Dorset, one of my favourite places to visit, but I changed the name so I could use some fictional license when it came to naming and placing pubs and shops. 
4. I don’t have green fingers so there was plenty of research involved in writing The Beachside Flower Stall. I loved learning the meanings and symbolism of various flowers …