Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Advice For people Who Want to Write

Write.

There, I’m done. Goodnight folks!

But seriously, there’s nothing to it, but to do it. Schedules, responsibilities, social life, sleep, and excuses be damned. Just write. If you have a 9 to 5, write on your lunch break. If you have kids, write while they’re at school or asleep. If you’re on death row… well, you better get started quickly. Everyone has twenty-four hours to a day. What you do with that time is up to you.

If you can only write for an hour once a week; it’s better than not writing at all. Nothing is impossible. It just takes longer. At least in a year, you’ll have something to show for it.

Read.

I hate when authors give interviews in their tweed jackets and university ensemble and offer that same tired ass advice, but unfortunately it SO true. Here’s why. Your vocabulary will improve. You can broaden your horizons as far as description, world-building, and symbolism. Reading will help a writer research their genre and to see what’s already been done to death.

For example: I will NEVER in my life write a vampire/werewolf book. Why? Because everybody and their mother wrote one. Innovative writers are in luck, because originality is in short supply. Don’t be scared to branch out and be weird. Don’t be a poor-man’s anything; be a rich-man’s you.

My advice: read as much as you write, and for every FIVE books you read, allow TWO of them to be bad. I mean bad! I mean, you-wouldn’t-be-caught-dead-with-it-in-your-hand-so-you-have-to-hide-it-in-the-back-of-the-closet BAD. This helps you point out the flaws in your own writing and learn what not to do. Also, in a sick and twisted way, it just feels good to pick fun of bad writing. It may sound mean, but hey, I still laugh when old people fall.

As for the good books, look for the classics, Pulitzer Prize winners, or authors you admire…and then cry yourself to sleep for your inadequacy.

Kidding.

Learn from the masters and take notes. I have a notebook full of cool words, phrases, and odd descriptions’ that I use for my writing. DO NOT plagiarize! But if you find a new word for blue, then use it.

Be Brave.

Don’t be scared that what you write sounds corny or awkward. That’s what editing is for. I know so many writers who never get past the first chapter because they want to get it right the first time.

BREAKING NEWS: NO ONE GETS IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME!

 By the time you’ve polished one area; you’re thrown off track, or worse, completely forget your idea. Finish your complete thought and go back and edit.

Good ideas are like the McRib; here for a limited time only. Seize every moment to write, take every opportunity to read and you’ll be one step closer to perfection.

15 comments:

  1. Thanks for this! As an aspiring YA writer I am always on the lookout for UNCENSORED advice!

    Bookmarking you and Following you and Twittering you and ... ok so I'm a stalker in training. Call it research for another novel! :)

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  2. Thank you, Jamie Reed. I've retweeted

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  3. Excellent advice- I agree with all of it. I just plowed through an absolutely awful book just so I would know exactly why it was bad to the very last page. And then I won't repeat those mistakes.

    Great blog. I'll be back!

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  4. In spite of feeling my blog reading is mushrooming, I decided to follow. I hope to smile much in the future. [Good advice, by the way, for all those who are t.o.o busy.]

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  5. I love this post!! Great advice that we've probably all heard before but with a new twist :o) I am one of those who (nearly) cries herself to sleep for her inadequacy after reading a great book. But, for every one of those days I have two great, optimistic days when I get thought-provoking comments on my writing, or just read uplifting blog posts from writers who are going through the same things.
    Thanks Jaime! You rock!
    ~Erin

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  6. That was a nice, honest post with spot-on advice. Thanks for sharing it. :) I especially like the point about bad books -- it's so true and so helpful. Even reading books that are "good" but ya just don't like... It helps you figure out what sort of writer you really are. Happy writing!

    -S.

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  7. Confession: I heart you.

    There. I said it. Sue me.

    Actually, please don't sue me. My pockets can't take any more blows.

    Now off to write. And read bad books...

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  8. Jaime, well said, and love your humor. Great advice, looking forward to more posts. :)

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  9. Great advice & terrific blog. Glad I followed Kathleen's advice to pop over :)

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  10. Michelle Kemper Brownlow,
    Thanks! I'm glad I could show support in a small way. I don't mind being stalked at all. Just as long as you stay away from my pets. :)

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  11. LOL! First lines had me cracking up! Thanks for a great post.

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  12. Great advice in this post! Thanks :)

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  13. LOL So, so true...every word. :0) Great blog! Love the version of Dancin' with myself :0)

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  14. Bless you, Jaime, for hammering away at the need to read! You cannot imagine how many writers come to me and actually say they don't read. And it shows :)
    So I'm always saying all of this, but it does a ton of good to point to your success and say, "See! That's what I've been tellin' ya!"
    Thank You!

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  15. I do agree that the vampire IS DEAD. However, there is still infinite ground and mythology to cover with the werewolf that still has not been explored. This is evident in the number of vampire books that have been published VS books featuring only werewolves without another mythical creature stealing their thunder. It is a known fact that the big guns (especially Hollywood) think that werewolves are a harder sell than vampires and this is why werewolves are not as popular and are usually confined to the role of the sidekick mythical creature. I think of them as the minority in the supernatural world. In innovative hands a very original werewolf series can be written. But I guess I prefer for for the masses to believe the werewolf tale is dead. It will make the challenge of restoring its life much more fulfilling. ;0)

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On My Emo Days...

On My Emo Days...
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