I’m excited to join Raimey Gallant’s #AuthorToolbox monthly blog hop (third Wednesday of each month) with the theme of resources/learning for authors. Post are related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful. We share our experiences as it relates to these topics. Interviews are also permitted as long as they provide valuable knowledge for authors (i.e. advice.) Straight book reviews are not permitted unless they are reviews of books about writing/publishing/etc.
This month: 12 Survival Tips for Writers
As I get ready to launch my next fiction book, Survival of the Fittest, I can’t help but wonder how we-writers survive–keep publishing one book after another, hoping for that blockbuster but settling for whatever fate doles out. Clearly, it’s not about getting famous or rich. It’s something else I can’t quite quantify.
Having said that, what keeps me going? Here are twelve tricks I use when I get stuck, blocked, discouraged, or f****** p****** off that nothing is going as planned:
- I HODL which is nothing like Yodel. It’s my husband’s acronym for Hold On for Dear Life. If I hang a sign around my neck saying, I’m HODLing. Leave me alone, he avoids me.
- I remind myself that writing is like a race car with blinkers. I must move the plot quickly and aggressively but with purpose. Every once in a while, I must alert the reader (that’s where the blinkers come in) to what’s coming next.
- Every book needs a Goldilocks character–one that is not too smart ( so s/he doesn’t overshadow the main character), not too dumb (so s/he doesn’t bore the reader), but extremely effective in keeping the plot going.
- When coloring between the lines doesn’t work, I try a bigger paintbrush. What I mean is, when those multitudinous rules about genre writing bog my story down, it’s time to try breaking the rules.
- I never forget Mark Twain’s critique of the famous James Fenimore Cooper: “A tale should accomplish something and arrive somewhere. But the “Deerslayer” tale accomplishes nothing and arrives in air.” Good reminder–I’m not talking about the writing criticism. I mean that one of the most accomplished writers ever still fell short in at least one reader’s eyes.
- My husband used to kill flies by snapping them with his fingers. Then he got old(er), tired of his miss rate, and switched to a dishrag. Here’s what that metaphor means to me: If something that used to work no longer does, change it.
- Every once in a while, I sit in a hard chair and reflect. I don’t do this one often.
- Before I read reviews, I don my body armor. If it’s nasty, I dismiss it with, “Well there it is, the stupidest thing I’ll read all day.” Or, here’s a solution from one of my Tweeple: “Wisdom is difficult to define but I think I know it when I see it. I ain’t seeing it here.” Umm, if you wrote that, please tell me so I can give you credit.
- I pick carefully who I trust about my writing. That’s also my attitude toward trusting boneless fish. Or (as another efriend once wrote), gas station sushi.
- Few care whether I overcome or succumb. I just need to pick one and move on.
- Writing is entertainment. It doesn’t make me famous, sell books, or make people like me better. Well, maybe that last…
- For difficult days, I don my I Am a Writer t-shirt, take half a baby aspirin, and howl at the detractors.
BTW, I’d love help launching my book starting March 7th. Here’s the link to signup. I’ll give you everything you need. To promote you, I’ll post your blog and a link, to entice click-throughs. Here’s a link with more information.
If you RT, FB, or share, I’ll send positive thoughts your way for a full day!
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice, a columnist for TeachHUB and NEA Today, and a freelance journalist. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Quest for Home, Summer 2019. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning