Monday, 19 May 2014

How I Found The Write Path blogfest

This week, the wonderful Carrie Butler is hosting the How I Found The Write Path blogfest. This is an excellent idea that aims to collect advice from seasoned publishing professionals (or not - we're all on the journey somewhere) in the form of a letter to themselves when they first started writing towards publication. Genius!


Here's the brief:

Please write a letter/note to yourself when you first started writing toward publication. The only thing I ask is that you keep it under 800 words, including as many (or as few) of these elements as you like:
   - A lesson you learned the hard way
   - Something you didn’t expect about the industry (positive/negative)
   - A writing-related resource you could never do without now
   - One thing you’d change about your journey
   - One thing you’re glad you did
   - Your number one tip for pursuing publication
   - Anything else you feel is worth passing on
INFORMATION: 
   - The name you wish to be credited as
   - The title (if any) you wish to follow your name, i.e. author of the series
   - One major link where people can find you, i.e. website, blog, Twitter, etc.
PLEASE INCLUDE:
   - Whether or not you give me permission to use your entry in the e-book compilation. Don’t feel bad if you don’t want in. We’d still love to read what you have to say!

And here is my letter:

So, you finally took the plunge and started writing that novel. That’s a big step, and I wish you all the very best. I’m not really here to give you advice about plotting or characters, because you’ll figure that out as you go along with the help of all those brilliant writers you are yet to meet. No, what I really want to say to you is, CREATE A ROUTINE FOR WRITING. Stick to it! You went part-time at work for this. Make that time count. Don’t just write when you feel inspired, because sadly that isn’t going to happen every day. Get your bum in that chair and get words on the screen. Whatever you do, DON’T spend nearly the next four years agonising over this book, sweating over every word, including six months of waiting to hear back from an editor someone had put you in touch with! She might not like it, so don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

What you really want to do is get online and meet like-minded souls who will offer ceaseless advice and support. It makes everything a lot better. Some of them might even be able to have a look through your stuff and tell you what works and what doesn’t. You’ll get to a point where you can’t tell up from down, so you’ll really need some fresh eyes and an outside perspective. Reading their stuff is going to be a great learning experience, too.

So, my number one tip for pursuing publication? DON’T BE ALONE. There’s no need to be when there’s such an array of welcoming writers out there to share the journey with. Writing is a hard slog. Not going to make any bones about that, so you’d better get used to it. But it’s a whole lot sweeter when there are others you can share the heartache and joy with, who’ve been through the same things and are still going through them. Savour those friendships, because you’ll need them when things get tough.


I give permission for my entry to be used in the ebook.

Visit Carrie's blog to check out the other participants!

54 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's right - get online and suck up the support and encouragement.

Melissa said...

'Fresh eyes' and 'don't be alone.' Two very good pieces of advice.

Great entry, Nick. Wishing you the best of luck with your writing. :)

Stephanie Faris said...

Sadly, "online" wasn't a thing when I wrote my first book in 1994/1995. Okay, it was on the horizon...but even after AOL brought the internet to everyone's homes, we weren't sure what to do with it! I remember seeking out writing groups through AOL and even having a critique group over there. But everything in the mid-90s was so temporary, anyone you found on AOL was soon gone to other things.

Liza said...

I love this! The community of writers we find online is such a lovely, genuine support. Keep going Nick!

Christine Rains said...

Awesome letter! It took me years to realize I didn't have to do this alone. The writing community is fantastic.

Gina Stoneheart said...

I love when you wrote, DON'T BE ALONE... reminds me of these words from my letter... THROW YOURSELF OUR THERE. Writers are some of the luckiest people I know because we get each other. We understand that our journeys are so different, and yet, have so many similarities in that we need support from one another.

Al Diaz said...

Don't be alone. That's gold. Your letter is very inspiring, Nick. Glad you're doing the bloghop and I'm also glad I'm reading it. Plenty of good stuff here.

Lara Lacombe said...

Excellent letter! I wish I had found this when I started writing--it's great stuff!

JeffO said...

Very nice, Nick. Thanks for sharing.

Botanist said...

I admit I've never been enthralled with the idea of writing to a routine, although if I gave up a portion of my work in order to write I suspect that would be different. I work better with outcome-focussed goals (15k words this month, or complete revisions by August, or similar).

But I am totally with you on DON'T BE ALONE! We need each others support and encouragement. Every day.

Carrie Butler said...

Yes! This is advice we all need—sometimes on a daily basis. ;) Thank you so much for participating, Nick. I really appreciate your help!

Trisha F said...

I may feel a lot of things while struggling through this writing/editing/whatevering thing, but I certainly don't feel alone! I feel so lucky to be a part of the writing community I found here in the blogisphere. :)

Lynda R Young said...

I love your number one tip.
I'm all too familiar with that point where you can’t tell up from down... ;)

Heather Musk said...

'DON'T BE ALONE' is a great sentiment, and one to be remembered by us all.
I love this community, there's always someone to help through the tough times, and the good times.

And great advice about the writing routine. It's something I'm thinking a lot about now I'm not going into work everyday.

Shelley Sly said...

This is such a great idea, and I like your letter. It's very true -- we need a community of writers to help us progress and keep us motivated.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I was writing back before the Internet and blogs and social media etc. And, as much of a time suck as the Internet can be, I would never want to give up my blogging buddies! :)

Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption

Chrys Fey said...

I used to think writing was a lonely job. I never had anyone to read my work and I never knew anyone (other than my aspiring writer mom) to talk to. But then I created my blog and now I have many writer friends. Now I know I'm not alone. :)

Michael Di Gesu said...

Well said, Nick...

It is great to have company on the bumpy road with us.... They bring us to our feet every time we stumble and fall....

Nick Wilford said...

Alex - Yep, and there's a lot of it!

Melissa - Thanks!

Stephanie - I know, I was barely online when I started writing too. We're lucky to have the community we have now!

Liza - And there's no bitterness or cliqueyness - not that I've seen anyway!

Christine - It does make a difference being able to share things.

Gina - I know, there's no one in my "real" life that I can discuss things with the way I do here. Writers understand each other!

Al - This is going to be a great book, I'll recommend it far and wide!

Lara - Aw, thanks!

Jeff - Thanks!

Nick Wilford said...

Botanist - I need the routine as it's all too easy to let days go by without writing. Then I'll never make my goal!

Carrie - Thanks for coming up with this blogfest - it's an excellent idea!

Trisha - Yeah, no matter how bad things get, you can rely on the support from others, which is great.

Lynda - Lol, thanks!

Heather - I really admire writers who work full-time because I don't know how they do it! I'm happy to be an official "househusband" now. :)

Shelley - Definitely, especially as I don't have access to any such community offline.

Madeline - Writing did feel strange in those days, I think. Knowing like minded others definitely helps!

Nick Wilford said...

Chrys - It's cool that your mum's a writer! Wish I'd had that. :) But family members are definitely too close to objectively assess our work.

Michael - Thanks! Can't go wrong with folk like you around. :)

Tammy Theriault said...

Well said!! 4 years is long enough right?? so no agonizing!! We love you Nick!

Kyra Lennon said...

Brilliant advice! It's so true that you have to make the most of your time. Waiting for inspiration is something many people do, and it eats up a lot of time!

Pk Hrezo said...

Awesome Nick! You are so right on with that. I can't imagine being a writer back with no internet. We have so many benefits these days. Of course, now everyone and their brother is a writer, but hey! At least we're all making friends. :)

Theresa Milstein said...

I like your idea about having a routine. Now that I worked full time, I make it a point to write in the morning and at lunch. It drives me crazy when people don't work as much, say they want to write, and then don't write. I've been guilty of this as well. Now it's non-negotiable.

Theresa Milstein said...

I like your idea about having a routine. Now that I worked full time, I make it a point to write in the morning and at lunch. It drives me crazy when people don't work as much, say they want to write, and then don't write. I've been guilty of this as well. Now it's non-negotiable.

Shell Flower said...

I can totally relate to the "don't put your eggs all in one basket" advice. This is something I did early on and it caused me a lot of heartache. You are so right about the online community, too. Luckily, when I started writing again it was because of the online community on goodreads, but I'd tell my self to start blogging a lot sooner!

Crystal Collier said...

Awesome and totally agreed. We need this amazing community to keep us going, eh? Here's to awesome friends and supporting one another!

Loni Townsend said...

Yes, excellent words of wisdom. They say a writer's life is a lonely one, but with so many encouraging and supportive writers out there, you can just be alone, without the loneliness!

I wish I had found everyone sooner, but I guess later is better than never. :)

Liz Blocker said...

"You’ll get to a point where you can’t tell up from down" - oh man, does this ring true! After we've spent years writing and rewriting and reading and rereading, we lose ALL perspective. Ever.

This is great advice all around, Nick. I'm glad I came by!

shelly said...

A routine works even if it's for 30 minutes a day. Find support...all great advice.

Katie Doyle said...

Great advice! I love how supportive the writing community is=) And it's so important not to "put your eggs in one basket" as you say.

cleemckenzie said...

You came up with two of my favorite pieces of advice. One I can't keep at all because I'm terrible at staying with any routine. :-( However, I've learned to share the agony and the ecstasy with others. I guess you're one of them. :-)

Genissa said...

Great letter, Nick! I love how you emphasize that connecting with other people is such a great part of being a writer. So many people think it's a solitary pursuit, but it doesn't have to be. It's definitely nice interacting with others and to have fresh eyes to look over my writing!

Genissa said...

Great letter, Nick! I love how you emphasize that connecting with other people is such a great part of being a writer. So many people think it's a solitary pursuit, but it doesn't have to be. It's definitely nice interacting with others and to have fresh eyes to look over my writing!

D Biswas said...

It is cool that the IWSG captain is the first one to comment on this post-- all about online support :)

Great advice, Nick.

Christine Danek said...

Support is one of the most important things. You don't have to be alone. Thanks for sharing!

Annalisa Crawford said...

Routine is something I struggle with - because I always know whatever I try to write will be deleted straight away. I wish I could though, it would save me a lot of angst.

Annalisa Crawford said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meradeth Houston said...

Such a good post! It's a hard slog, but thank heavens for the people met along the way!

Elizabeth Hein said...

'Don't be alone' is wonderful advice. So many days we are laboring at the keyboard in a vacuum. It gets lonely. Thanks, Nick.
Elizabeth Hein - Scribbling in the Storage Room

Robyn Campbell said...

A routine is where it's at! That's THE only way. Reading others stuff is CRUCIAL to our success, too. You nailed it, man.

So, you wrote a bodacious letter to yourself. Now if you could convince yourself to listen. ;-)

Heather Holden said...

Great letter! The writing community is always so supportive, so I agree that it's better to embrace it instead of trying to tough out this journey alone!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Nick - finding the right group of friends has been inordinately helpful .. and we're so lucky today - my younger self would never have considered doing what I'm doing .. but I can - because of that encouragement along the way .. and being able to ask questions ..

Happy bank holiday weekend .. not good weather down here! Cheers Hilary

Tyrean Martinson said...

Wonderful advice, Nick! I completely agree that we all need each other on this wild writing journey.

debi o'neille said...

Excellent letter to your former self, Nick. Writing friends are imperative in this business.
Deb@ http://debeioneille.blogspot.com

Shannon Lawrence said...

Great letter! Support from the writing community, both online and in-person, has been a boon for me.

VR Barkowski said...

Great letter, Nick. Excellent advice regarding support from the online community—it's the best. And I'm still trying to create a writing routine. It will happen one day, I swear!

VR Barkowski

Lady Lilith said...

Thank you so much for sharing your letter. It was so nice to read.

Cherie Reich said...

What a fantastic letter! It's so true. We don't have to be alone as a writer. :)

Heather M. Gardner said...

I love your honestly.

If we only knew then....

Thank you for sharing.
Heather

kmckendry said...

This is such a supportive community! I never would have gotten my first draft completed without the support to just keep going from all the wonderful people in the blogging community.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Excellent advice. I've found it helpful to have several projects going, that way I don't obsess over one. And not going alone is so very, very important!

Nicole said...

I've found wonderful support in the writing community. Great advice about not trying to do this crazy journey alone!