See the pelicans? I took this over the weekend. Not related to writing, but isn't it pretty?
We've all heard the stereotypical advice:
Write what you know.
Read what you write.
Don't write to the market.
I'll tell you one piece of advice that I think trumps all others: When given advice, LISTEN to what works, throw out what doesn't.
I think in my years as a writer, the one thing I've seen in authors who don't get published year after year is their EGO! This is not a business if you have a big ego. I've heard people who think they're going to be famous. Please. A real writer is about the words. The promotion is usually a painful necessity.
I met a woman the other day who cannot shut up about her writing. She went on and on about her successes and her meeting famous writers, etc. when she's never been published and she has an author of 40 books in front of her. Did she ever ask ONE question? She did not. She knew it all.
The topic of her book is really depressing (cancer) and it's about cancer in a narcissist and how the heroine is victimized by him. Had she asked, I would have told her, your heroine better be likable because even if he is a narcissist, people don't want to see him die without repenting. And they don't want to see the heroine as a victim when she could have walked away for her own health. That makes her a stupid doormat. No one identifies with the stupid doormats. The strong, willful doormats? Like Melanie in "Gone with the Wind" or "Jane Eyre" -- YES!
I've written forty books. I don't know it all. Don't pretend that I do. The more I learn, the more I realize I have yet to learn. So if you haven't been published in a long time, maybe it's time to consider the fact that you're not listening to professional advice that's given to you. Just maybe.
Labels: advice for writers, ego, humility