Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Walkabout Wednesday: The Best Advice I Ever Got as a Writer

It's Wednesday. Let's go walkabout.

(I'm bringing along a few of my mates as I wander through the vast wilderness of the publishing industry, learning the ins and outs, and having a grand adventure.)

Walkabout, Week 67:

I have stored away in the recesses of my mind a lot of advice I've received as a writer. Some of it is just simple common sense, some is insight into the craft, some on the business side of writing. Sorting through it all I can easily pick the best of the lot. Here you go:
You have to figure out what you most like to read and what you write best. Where those two meet is where you need to be as an author.
I'm not going to tell you who said this, because I can't be absolutely certain that the person I think said it is the one who actually said it. Does that make sense?

At the time I remember hearing this, I had more than one project on the back burner that I was struggling with. I asked myself those questions. What do I enjoy reading most? What are my strengths as a writer? Inevitably, the projects that frustrated me the most, the ones I had to really force myself to work on, the ones that really stunk, were the ones that didn't remotely fit me. Writing is hard enough without shooting ourselves in the foot from page one.

Does that mean you should entirely ignore market trends? Absolutely not. Knowing your strengths and your passions will help you find your niche in any market.

Does that mean you shouldn't ever try writing something different? Definitely not. If you love to read a genre, try writing it. If you find out it's a huge struggle or you aren't really good at writing it but are still enjoying it, study and develop the skills you need. Contemplate subgenres that capitalize on what you do well and enjoy most.

What do you like most to read? What are you strengths? What do the answers to those two questions tell you about yourself as an author? You might be surprised.

(ignore "Read More!")---->


Jewel said...

That's brilliant advice...I think you're doing a wonderful job meeting those two demands. :)

Krista said...

I love that advice, and I love that you found your genre, because I get to read it, and it's WONDERFUL. Great questions to ask as a new writer.

Jan Markley said...

I agree, you have to build on, and go with, your strengths all the while being knowledgable of the industry and knowing where you fit into the trends (rather than following them).

Kimberly said...

Wow, Sarah, that really resonates with me. Especially as I have five novel ideas each clamouring for my attention, each one in a different genre.

Thank you so much for sharing that.


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