RSS

Author Archives: thewritersadvice

About thewritersadvice

Jai is a full-time writer in the Pacific Northwest. An award winning journalist and published author, Jai writes mystery thrillers, ghost writes articles and books as well as feature articles for several national magazines.

The Friday Writing Pebbles #13


th

Like throwing a pebble into the water some writers put advice out into the ocean of hopeful newbies hoping the ripple effects will reach them and they will learn a thing or two. Fridays here at The Writer’s Advice is pebble collection time. I will post some of the pebbles of wisdom I discover and I encourage you all to do the same. Each Friday we will help each other. So here are mine….show me yours!

50 pieces of writing advice from authors – http://www.shortlist.com/entertainment/50-pieces-of-writing-advice-from-authors

Authors’ sleep patterns & productivity – http://www.shortlist.com/entertainment/books/authors-sleep-patterns-and-productivity

Literary drinking spots you can actually visit – http://www.shortlist.com/entertainment/books/literary-drinking-spots-you-can-actually-visit

Seven Things Every Writer Must Know to Survive – http://www.authorspublish.com/seven-things-every-writer-must-know-to-survive/

Weird Al airs all his grammar grievances in hilarious spoof of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” – http://twentytwowords.com/weird-al-airs-all-his-grammar-grievances-in-hilarious-spoof-of-robin-thickes-blurred-lines/

 

 

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I Read a Book I really Hated…It was Mine


970868_798451986848791_1954332797_n

Have you ever picked up a piece of work that you have completed and thought…how can I call myself a writer? I do it all the time. Hating your own work appears to be part of the process of being a writer. We all finish stories and then tend to be the most critical reader in the room. But the difference between being a writer who gets his/her work published and being a writer with a trunk full of finished novels that will never see the light of day is allowing someone else to read your work.

We really are our own worst critic. I often read over something I have written and, if I allow myself, I rewrite it 1000 times. The truth is, in our minds, we can always do better. I will bet that if you asked Stephen King today if he would have changed anything in Carrie he would tell you, “oh yeah, a thousand things”. It is for this reason that I am sure Mr. King allows his wife to read through his work. We need someone who will be honest although not as critical as we are on ourselves.

My first book was the bane of my existence for a long time before it was actually published. A friend dug it out of a drawer and read it while I was away for the weekend and then, when I returned, demanded to know why I hadn’t sent it to a publisher. If it hadn’t been for that friend, my first book might still be in that drawer. You have to recognize that we are critical of ourselves and because of that you have to allow your work to be read by someone else. They may still announce that it is crap but at least then you will know for sure.

 

 
© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sometimes Giving Up is a Good Thing


 

its-okay-to-give-up1
How many times in your life have you heard someone say…”don’t give up”? We literally get beaten over the head with the concept of not giving up from the time we are kids. Well I’m here to tell you, that advice isn’t always a good thing…sometimes there are things that you just need to…well…give up.

1. People Pleasing – OMG give this one up. Let’s face it, you really can’t please everyone and it is a crap shoot trying to figure out which ones will approve and which ones will disapprove. It’s not worth it to try and write your stories in such a way that everyone will be happy…in fact, it isn’t even possible. The key is to write what make you happy and then hope that there are others who will also find your work enjoyable. And for Pete’s Sake don’t allow some editor somewhere to try and make you write their version of your story either. (and there are ones out there who will try)

2. Stop doubting yourself – Definitely give this up. Self-doubt will only lead to a work stoppage that you can’t fix. Self-doubt is paralyzing. We will all tussle with it from time to time but the key is to not let it over take you. Acknowledge that you are feeling insecure and then move on.

3. Negative thinking – While this should be a no-brainer many of us do it without even realizing it. I am a big fan of positive thinking. If you continue to tell yourself that you will fail…even in your mind…you will.

4. Fear of failure – “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”….truer words have never been spoken. As a writer, failure means one thing…you have to begin again. Don’t let the fear of failing stop you from trying.

5. Criticizing yourself – Yeah…give this up right now. We have enough folks out there waiting to pounce on us for what we do…don’t add yourself to the fray.

6. Saying yes when you mean no – Writers, by nature, are people pleasers….stop that. You have enough on your plate without trying to do stuff that you really don’t want to do. I get caught up in this all the time whether it’s agreeing to watch the grandkids or stopping to do something for one of the children. It’s okay to say no when you are working. This tends to be a huge problem for those of us who work from home….remember to have that boundaries conversation with the family.

7. Procrastination – We have had this conversation over and over again. If you want to be a successful writer you have to give up procrastinating. Putting it off means it doesn’t get done….that’s all.

There are other things that you have to give up as a writer as well but these are the 7 biggies. It’s okay to give these things up; in fact your writing life depends on it.

 

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Friday Writing Pebbles #11


th
Like throwing a pebble into the water some writers put advice out into the ocean of hopeful newbies hoping the ripple effects will reach them and they will learn a thing or two. Fridays here at The Writer’s Advice is pebble collection time. I will post some of the pebbles of wisdom I discover and I encourage you all to do the same. Each Friday we will help each other. So here are mine….show me yours!

15 Questions Authors Should Ask Characters – http://writerswrite.co.za/15-questions-authors-should-ask-characters

Killer writing tools that will help you get the job done – http://blog.bookbaby.com/2014/07/killer-writing-tools-that-will-get-the-job-done/?utm_campaign=BB1428&utm_source=BBeNews&utm_medium=Email

15 Words That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean – http://www.buzzfeed.com/patricksmith/words-that-dont-mean-what-you-think-they-mean

Writing tips! – http://taylorgraceauthor.wordpress.com/2014/07/11/writing-tips-2/

It’s Not Cheating to Use Writing Tips and Tools- http://theeditorsblog.net/2014/07/11/its-not-cheating-to-use-writing-tips-and-tools/

 

 
© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

OMG…Some Days…..


1926795_606912029386754_1177368430_n

The graphic above is very representative of my day today so far. There are times when, as a writer, I am nowhere near reaching my daily goals let alone any other long term goal I have set for myself. Writing, at times, can be very frustrating.

I consider myself a creative person and a hard worker but, let’s be honest, there are more day than not when motivation is an elusive beast. Summer is a tough time to write because the sun is out and there are so many things tugging at your shirt sleeve. If you have kids, and I do, they want your attention. Many of your friends and family are taking summer vacations and it is easy to justify that, well, hey, you work from home so why not tag along. Then there is that overwhelmed feeling that can sometimes creep in because for some strange reason every writer thinks that they can get more done during the summer time. (I’m a winter writer by the way) Whatever your distraction it is easy to lose sight of what it is we do in the first place….write.

So here is what I did this morning to ensure that the summer months don’t come and go without me having truly accomplished anything at all…I made a list. I’m not, by nature, an OCD sufferer but I do tend to need some concrete direction and a list is often the only way to motivate myself. I created my summer to do list today so that I can hold myself accountable to the things that need to get done. Here is one important point when making that list however….start with the writing stuff. It is easy to start with “the dishes”, “the grocery store”, “feeding the dog”, (okay maybe you should go ahead and feed the dog) but try setting the household chores aside until the writing chores are done.Too often life gets in the way of our craft and the only person who can keep that from happening is you. As long as you get those household chores done before the spouse gets home it’s all good…right?

So sit down and make yourself a summer list for your writing. Promise yourself on the list that you will get “X” number of words on paper every day before you do anything else. Your to do list is your commitment that this summer will not fly by with you standing there in the Fall wondering what the hell you did all summer long.

 

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Friday Writing Pebbles #11


th

Like throwing a pebble into the water some writers put advice out into the ocean of hopeful newbies hoping the ripple effects will reach them and they will learn a thing or two. Fridays here at The Writer’s Advice is pebble collection time. I will post some of the pebbles of wisdom I discover and I encourage you all to do the same. Each Friday we will help each other. So here are mine….show me yours!

8 Easy Things To Do BEFORE You Start Your Novel -http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/excerpts/8-easy-things-to-do-before-you-start-your-novel

Let me guess, spelling isn’t your fourtay…fortay…4tay? (19 photos) – http://theberry.com/2014/06/23/let-me-guess-spelling-isnt-your-fourtay-fortay-4tay-20-photos/

155 Words to Describe an Author’s Tone – http://writerswrite.co.za/155-words-to-describe-an-authors-tone

10 Ways to Seduce a Writer – http://writerswrite.co.za/10-ways-to-seduce-a-writer

9 Memorable Writing Tips from Authors – http://rowanvalebooks.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/9-memorable-writing-tips-from-authors/
© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 27, 2014 in Writing, Writing Tools

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Let He Who Can Spell Perfectly, EVERY SINGLE TIME, Cast the First Stone!


1896787_776576419036348_1572531495_n

Admittedly, I am a writer not a speller. Those who know me realize this early on and after some light ribbing, leave it alone. They enjoy my stories and so they can look past the occasional misspelling that my word processor doesn’t pick up. I love each and every one of them for that because they realize that I am a storyteller not a spelling savant.

But let’s not talk about those who know and love us…let’s discuss those who are faceless readers who, although they are readers and not writers, are all judgey when it comes to the occasional misspelling. Let me say that I am not talking about misspelling in the form of needing a decoder ring to read the thing…I’m talking about the occasional misspelling that everyone does once in a while. For instance, when my first book came out I had someone go through it line by line and then send me a scathing letter explaining that I needed to go back to school and how dare I call myself a writer because she discovered…glup….5 misspelled words in the entire book. FIVE! How dare I?

Yes it hurt my feelings….I was young and idealistic when it came to that first book. I poured myself a drink and spent an entire weekend swimming in self-doubt. Some writers may have stopped writing books right there but I’m stubborn and by the end of the weekend I decided, screw her, from now on I’ll misspell at least a few words on purpose just to piss her off should she ever read anything else I write. Believe it or not, I actually do that to this day 30 years later.

My point is that you can’t let those folks out there who have nothing better to do but to point out other people’s mistakes take you down as a writer. Yes, you should pay attention and try not to misspell stuff but if it happens, and it always happens, don’t let it get you down….everyone does it; even those judgey people who will send you letters. Spelling and the mastering of it does not make you a writer.

There are plenty of folks out there who have degrees in spelling related stuff who can’t write. You are a storyteller…so tell your stories and don’t let the spelling get you down. And if you are a total train wreck when it comes to spelling, hire a good editor….after all they get paid for that.

 

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Some Days I Just Don’t Know Where to Begin


0511-1009-1319-0462_Black_and_White_Cartoon_of_a_Stressed_Out_Guy_with_the_Word_Overload_clipart_image_thumb[1]

I got up this morning at 6 a.m. and sat down at my desk…then I spent about an hour staring at my computer screen trying to decide where to begin. I have several ghosting projects, my regular articles, a book I’m trying to edit and one I’m trying to finish….and yesterday was the last day of the school year. Needless to say I was feeling a bit overloaded.

So what’s a writer to do when it seems there is an avalanche of work to do? Over the years I have developed a few techniques to help me when I get overwhelmed. Some of them are from friends and other writers who also have found themselves staring at the screen as though it was a foreign object and some are my own tried and true methods.

1. Walk away – I know, I know….but you have work to do…I get that, but sometimes it is better to get up and do something completely different. I got up this morning and did laundry. If anything was going to make me want to go back to writing it is the laundry. (that and dusting)
2. Read – I find that sometimes I just need to be inspired by another writer. I pick up a book and read and it seems to help me get back on track.
3. Work on something unrelated – When I am overwhelmed with projects that I HAVE to get done, I work on something I want to get done. Sometimes it helps to step into a project totally unrelated to what has to be done today.
4. Make a list – I am a list person. I love lists. I often sit down and write down what I have to get done and then knock it out one thing at a time. My saying…one dragon at a time.
5. Take a day off – Every now and again it is a good thing to just take a day off. I have to get away sometimes to remember what it is that I love about what I do. It’s okay….the work will be there when you get back.
These are just a few suggestions and I am sure that other writers have more. Please share those ideas with the rest of us. We can all use a little help from time to time.

 
© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Friday Writing Pebbles #10


th

Like throwing a pebble into the water some writers put advice out into the ocean of hopeful newbies hoping the ripple effects will reach them and they will learn a thing or two. Fridays here at The Writer’s Advice is pebble collection time. I will post some of the pebbles of wisdom I discover and I encourage you all to do the same. Each Friday we will help each other. So here are mine….show me yours!

The Remarkable Writing Tools of Eight Famous Authors – http://writerswrite.co.za/the-remarkable-writing-tools-of-eight-famous-authors

30 Famous Authors On Writing in Plain Language – http://writerswrite.co.za/30-famous-quotes-on-writing-in-plain-language

A Smart Way for Writers to Make Money: Offering Social Media Services – http://thewritelife.com/offering-social-media-services/?utm_source=The+Write+Life&utm_campaign=4211a83440-main_list_11_6_13_11_5_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ae07a22b59-4211a83440-102165677&mc_cid=4211a83440&mc_eid=40bab78bd5

If Strangers Talked to Everybody like They Talk to Writers – http://electricliterature.com/if-strangers-talked-to-everybody-like-they-talk-to-writers/

4 Danger Signs To Search For, Before Sending Off Your Novel – http://io9.com/5520058/4-danger-signs-to-search-for-before-sending-off-your-novel
© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on June 13, 2014 in Writing, Writing Tools

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I Judge Thee Because You Don’t Write Like Me!


5.0.2

One of the reasons I got into writing full-time was because it afforded me a few amenities that I couldn’t get with a full-time outside job. First off I didn’t have to get up at the butt-crack of dawn to haul my rather large butt to an office. Second, I could be at home for my kids and work out of the comfort of my home office. But perhaps the most important reason was because I didn’t have to have a boss. I could be my own boss and I alone could be responsible for what I produced. It’s a cool gig really…imagine my shock when I received an e-mail this week from a “successful” writer telling me that I wasn’t stacking up to her vision of what being a writer was all about. According to her, I, and many other writers out there, was doing it all wrong.

What did this “successful” writer mean by “all wrong”? Her e-mail went on to explain that, in her opinion, writers who work for content mills or answer ads on Craigslist were losers. She said that those of us who were taking on the “little” jobs were no more than hacks that would never be as successful as she was. Keep in mind that this e-mail was a newsletter that this “successful” writer produces and then sends out to unsuspecting fledgling writers. I had to wonder…how many young and beginning writers had this “successful” writer destroyed with her idiot opinion?

The truth is that a lot of the time writing is scraping for every writing gig you can get. Sure I write novels and they do well but day to day, in-between royalty checks that come nowhere near what Stephen King makes on a Saturday, I have to live. I take on the Craigslist ads and they Freelancer job announcements. Sometimes I make $30 for a gig but you know what…its $30 more than I had before and could mean pizza for dinner. My point is that, sure we would all love the high paying jobs every single day but it is unlikely those will come on a regular basis unless we are so well established that we are in high demand. In the meantime the rest of us can continue to take those “little” jobs so we can keep the damn lights on. It is also building our portfolio so that someday we will be in high demand and that’s okay.

The sad thing is that there will be many “successful” writers out there who will want to tell you to back off the smaller jobs…my response to them…”you buy my kids food and I will stop answering the Craigslist ads…deal?” The wonderful thing about writing is that we can do whatever we want so if you like writing for content mills…do it. If you like answering Craigslist ads…do it. Write anything you darn well please because the definition of success isn’t always a wad of cash….sometimes it is just making it from payday to payday selling something you wrote and that’s okay.

 

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: