17 May 2014

Nuggets of Advice For Every Writer

I was going to write about my kayaking experience last weekend celebrating my son's college graduation/Mother's Day, but changed my mind as soon as I read this article by suspense /mystery author Russell Blake. I will post a few quotes here but do yourself a favor and go to the original blog and read it in its entirety.

Three nuggets to take to heart:
  "Time is not infinite, and it goes by quickly. Don’t waste it. Don’t write crap, don’t put out stories that are forgettable or that you wouldn’t read if you weren’t the author, and don’t take your audience for fools. Their time is valuable. More than yours. They are paying for your work – you aren’t paying them. That makes them the customer, and you should hold your customer in high regard because without them, you’re nothing."
 "The story is not being able to release 10 books a year. The story is being able to release 10 books your readership thinks are good and thus sell well. Don’t confuse yourself, and don’t settle for good enough. There’s no such thing as good enough. There’s as good as you can possibly do, and nothing less."
  "The internet is filled with gurus who know nothing. It’s hard to turn around without bumping into a writing or self-publishing expert. Most of them are completely full of shit, and don’t sell many books – but that doesn’t stop them from trying to get you to part with your money to hear them tell you what you need to do to sell well."
In my personal opinion there are two kinds of writers: those who do it because they have a burning need to write, and those who want to make a living at it. If you want to make a living at it, you need to take it very seriously and listen to those who have come before, such as this gentleman. Yes, we all want to sell our books, we want readers who love our stuff, and we want our stories to reach as many folks as possible, otherwise why bother getting published? But for me, I look at my writing much like my practice and my life: I don't have to be number one in the world. I simply need to do my best and be happy in the present. I don't need all the trappings of the modern definition of success; in fact, the fewer gadgets, bells, and bling, the better. But that's simply my outlook on life. I think Mr. Russell here has some excellent advice and makes good points--but not all of them apply to me.

As a final note, remember: You don't have to follow anyone else's path. Advice is easy to come by; the trick is finding what applies to you and discarding what doesn't.  Mine the precious metal you prefer, be it gold, silver, or copper, and let the rest remain. Above all, enjoy the ride.

Happy Writing,

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