We all have received great pieces of advice in life. When running, you should not use your runner two days in a row, in management, you must deal with issues immediately, and in marriage just agree with your wife. As an author, I have come across some simple but very powerful tips:
- At the end of each day’s writing session, spend time to prepare for the next one.
The best piece of advice ever, I have at least thirty minutes to easily warm in to the writing groove:
The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day when you are writing a novel you will never be stuck. That is the most valuable thing I can tell you so try to remember it. – Ernest Hemmingway
- Pick a random person and build a fictional life around them
Flying back from Toronto, I saw my ordinary looking middle aged stewardess had rings on nine fingers except her wedding ring finger. She had the edge of tattoo sticking out from beneath her collar. I spent three hours writing a back story on her. At the end, I had a flushed out and vibrant character. Now, I just need a story to put her in.
- Continually add to a list of blog ideas
I try and keep at least four weeks of ideas for my blogs. I find things that make me think “I did not know that” make good blogs. I’m an average person, so, if I don’t know something then there are other people out there who might be interested to know. I could be wrong and discover I am the global village idiot.
- Always listen to feed back
I get lots of feedback, for my writing, for my blog, and in my everyday life. I love feedback; I cannot get enough of it. The key thing to remember is you do not have to agree with it or act on it, but never dismiss it. You should think carefully about the feedback and clearly rationalize why you are or are not going to follow it.
- Read books you want your story to “sound” like while writing your story
When I am writing, I like to get a rhythm to my writing. To this end, I find it helps to read books which “feel” the way I am writing. They may have a completely different storyline and even a different genre, but I will read them, two or three times, whilst writing. My current favorites are Life of Pi & Kite Runner.
- Like the people you follow
We all want to be followed, either on our blog, twitter, Facebook etc. but, I am not a component of the “I’ll follow you and you follow me (blindly) trend.” I will follow people I find interesting and I hope over time my readership will rise because people find me interesting and not because they want another follower.
- Make a comment a day on others blogs etc.
This is great marketing advice, and I aim to make a minimum of 365 comments in a year. This is not easy though. You need to find an interesting blog and then you have to be interesting in your comments—make people think, “hey, this person has some cool ideas!”
- Don’t blog about you writing a story
If you are writing a story, don’t blog on the struggles or the target words you wrote today or the editing or rejections. We are all going through this, and I rank it up there with Facebook pictures of what people ate for breakfast today…sorry, but I don’t care.
- If you get a comment on your blog, reply to the comment.
You have a comment on your blog…yay! This is brilliant, you connected with someone enough for them to drop what they are doing and talk, so answer back and if you are lucky you will get in to a conversation about a subject and if you are very lucky others will join in.
- Talk to strangers
I know your mother told you not to talk to strangers but I’m not your mother. For a writer, it is absolutely necessary. The other day, I was sitting at the airport and I made a comment to the lady next to me. She asked me a question and, before I knew it, we were chatting away. Then, she told me she worked with Echo Memoirs (they publish memoirs.) Okay, she is not in the publishing line for fiction but it shows, one day you could get that break. Besides, she was a laugh and I enjoyed chatting with her.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received?