11 Things Writers Need to Know

I was asked recently what advice I would give to someone who wants to writer. Here are my Top 11...

1. Read. Read. Read. Read everything you can get your hands on. Learn about the genre. Learn about techniques and style. See what works and what doesn't.

2. Seek out writers like you. Find a writers' group. I write mysteries, so Sisters in Crime was a perfect fit. I am also in the online community, Guppies. They have tons of resources and advice. And they are so supportive and helpful. If you are a student, check into student rates.

3. There are a lot of books out there on the craft of writing. My favorite is Stephen King's On Writing. Invest in books that help you. Use your library. FREE is good.

4. If you are serious about writing, find  a critique group. It's an investment in your time to read the submissions. Make sure that the feedback is helpful. Critiques need to be constructive and not personal. My critique group specializes in mysteries and crime fiction. And that works for me. I don't want to have to provide feedback on other genres that I don't read or enjoy.

5. Your first draft is never your final manuscript. Very few people get a polished work in the first few drafts.

6. Start thinking about your social media platform. When you work with a publisher, he/she wants to know where you have a presence. I started with Twitter and my blog. Since then, I've added a Facebook author page, website, Pinterest, Goodreads, LinkedIn, Amazon Author page, and Instagram.

7. Make sure that you carve out time for writing. Work, life, and everything else vies for your time. You need to write regularly.

8. There are tons of creative writing courses, workshops, and conferences, and the costs vary. I learn more from writing and working with other writers in my critique group than I do from most workshops.

9. Google and your library are your friends. You would be amazed at the FREE resources available.

10. Learn to use the basics of your word processor. Many agents and publishers reject manuscripts that don't fit their submission requirements. Each agent, publisher, and contest have different preferences. Make sure that you always review the submission requirements and follow them.

11. Don't give up. Rejections are hard, and they hurt. Learn from the criticism, but don't dwell on the rejections or negative reviews. Keep writing.