Advice for the Beginning Writer

When asked by the New Yorker Magazine how she wrote so many books, Nora Roberts answered ‘Ass in chair.’ That’s the best advice for beginning writers.

  • Spend time each week and write. Not thinking about writing. WRITING.
  • Keep a journal to record thoughts and impressions. It’s amazing how those little notes can inspire you years later.
  • Edit, edit, edit. Don’t show anyone your work until you’ve gone over it carefully 5 times.
  • Before you publish your work, hire a professional editor and a proofreader. Having a clean and error-free manuscript is worth every penny. My editors can be found here and here.
  • Develop a thick skin. Don’t argue when someone offers criticism. Some of ‘my’ best ideas have been suggested by other writers.
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  • Take writing classes at adult education centers. Join a writer’s critique group. You’ll learn as much critiquing others’ work as you will from their reviews of your work.
  • Join Facebook and Facebook logoLinkedIn groups for writers.
  • Send out your work to websites that publish new authors — not to make money, but to get your work out there and gain self-confidence.
  • Never give up. Don’t panic if you think that you’ve got “writer’s block.” Sit down and write whatever comes into your head. You are a writer as long as you write. Publishing doesn’t make you a writer.
  • Take time to live your life. You don’t know everything when you’re 25 or even 40. I’m still learning at 68.
  • Read, read, read. Everything. Never be without a book. Take two with you in case you finish one while you’re away from home.
  • Observe, listen, and daydream.

Good luck.

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