…I’m delighted to run a five-days consecutive series of posts from my terrific pal, Author, Susan Toy, for every author to enjoy and prob’ly learn lots from… here’s PART FIVE :
10 Ways to Kill Your Writing
This 5-part article is from a talk I gave at the Calgary Public Library Writers’ Weekend Feb. 4, 2012.
Thanks to all of you for reading this series that is very kindly being hosted by the ONE, the ONLY, SEUMAS GALLACHER!
- Stop reading
And this is related to Way #3 – Copy others and don’t search for and develop your own voice.
Do not stop reading for fear you’ll copy others.
Continue reading and read widely and deeply, and well outside your genre or style, so that you may learn how to write well. Read bad writing as well as the award-winning books, so you may learn to tell the difference between the two.
We didn’t begin writing without first learning to read. Reading is the foundation for writing.
And think about what reading a particular book means to you as a reader rather than as a writer. Reading books is the greatest writing instruction you will ever receive.
Don’t just take my word for it … Read Francine Prose’s excellent book, Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them. Prose will teach you how to get the most out of your reading so it helps improve your writing.
- Stop writing
You might think this would have been self-evident or that perhaps it should have been #1 on my list.
You’d be amazed by the number of writers, and successful authors, who have gone through dry periods or never can write again. Some call it writer’s block, but this drought is usually due to a lack of self-esteem. You think your work sucks; you’ve received just one too-many rejection; you lack any good ideas. You lose passion for your craft. You despair that you may never write again.
This too has happened to me. It became easier to find excuses not to write than to just get back at it again.
Sometimes it’s better to take a step back and leave your writing to lie dormant for a while. But if you listened to what I said earlier about becoming part of a writing community, networking, working with a mentor, writer-in-residence or an editor, it is possible to fire up your passion once again.
Whatever you do, don’t quit because you’ve self-diagnosed that your writing sucks. Get a second and maybe a third opinion. Find out from the experts how you may improve.
But whatever you do… DON’T STOP WRITING !!!
- Fail to admit that you are the only gatekeeper stopping your work from being completed and / or published
There’s a lot of talk in this business about the mythical and mysterious Gatekeeper who is stopping your work from being published.
Repeat after me – I am the only Gatekeeper.
The truth is that publishers, editors and agents are constantly on the lookout for the next best book by a talented author that will wow everyone – because that’s how they make their money. Mediocre books do not sell a lot of copies. Books similar to others already published do not sell a lot of copies. And, for the most part, bad writing does not sell a lot of copies.
I attended a workshop and learned about pitching books to movie producers. Surprisingly, the process is much the same as it is for pitching a book to book agents or publishers. Every producer there agreed that what they want most is to make a great movie. Not just a good movie, but a GREAT movie!
I know for a fact that’s also on the minds of publishers, agents and editors – they’re sifting through the slush pile looking for a great book to publish. I bet that if you were to ask each publisher or editor what they’re looking for, they’ll say, “A Great Book!”
So it’s really up to you. You can stop being the gatekeeper by writing a book and a query letter that aren’t just good enough, but the very best you can make them. Never settle for less. Besides, you owe it to your readers to give them a great book.
Remember, if you DON’T follow these 13 ways, YOU WILL SUCCEED!!!
Every writer – EVERY ONE – has faced the same problems, the same struggles – YOU DON’T SUCK!!
You just need to constantly remind yourself that at some time in their careers all writers were beginners, just like you …
But even seasoned and successful writers out there can use a reminder about …
The 10 Ways to Kill Your Writing… including 3 Bonus ways!!
Let’s revisit our new author again to hear what he’s learned…
And, if you require further encouragement, here’s advice from another expert …
Susan Toy has been a bookseller, an award-winning publishing sales representative, a literacy teacher, and is now a published author, publisher, and promoter of fellow authors and their books. Born and raised in Toronto, and after completing a degree in English Literature at Queen’s University in Kingston, she moved to Calgary in the late 70s and immediately found a job in a bookstore, beginning what has become a life’s career working with books and their authors.
Link for Island in the Clouds: https://islandeditions.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/where-in-the-world-can-you-purchase-island-in-the-clouds/
Link for That Last Summer:
…yeez can catch some of m’Lady, Susan’s WURK and links here :
…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!…
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