- from Susan
That’s a big topic. As a relative newcomer - three books in a series out by the end of next year and thrilled to be at that stage - I am balanced between sucking up all the advice I can get and perhaps beginning to have a few pointers I could share. I’ll do a bit of both today by passing along some of the best advice that I have received, pithy counsel that works for me and that might work for other writers who are not yet as rich and famous as my fellow LadyKillers. (What’s that sound of raucous laughter I hear in the background?)
Write regularly. Yes, every day if you can. But even if you’re carving out less time than that, make it the SAME time and the SAME day – think of it as a “date” with your computer or legal pad.
Set some kind of measurable goal for each session, be it number of words, pages, scenes, portions of acts…set something specific with no wiggle room.
Write down what your next day's problem/goal is before you quit for the day.
Write forward – only edit what you wrote the day before as a way of getting back into the rhythm. This advice is part of a set of tips related to writing faster, important when editors want more than a book a year.
Block the Internet during your writing time. Not everyone needs this, but I sure do. Trolling your messages is easier than starting a load of laundry or cleaning the refrigerator and doesn’t tend to put on the pounds the way compulsive snacking does. But you’re stealing time from yourself and your professional success.
Write what you know, even if you know it because you did a crash course in the subject for the project. If you know the time period in which your story unfolds, the place, the available resources, the people, the motivations that drive characters, the legal systems they live under, and so on, you can be specific, evocative, and convincing in telling your story.
There’s more, so much more, but I’ll leave it to my esteemed colleagues to share their own advice. The best advice I ever got was from my S.O., whose voice I still hear telling me whenever the going got rough to “Go for it!” Don’t give up, don’t get scared, don’t demean or discount your ambitions. And good luck!