Yesterday, I gave you three pieces of life advice novelists should feel okay disregarding as they write. Today, I wanted to examine a few more.
These are great life strategies, for sure. But when it comes to writing, sometimes, your book is better for ignoring them.
- A CLEAN HOUSE IS A SIGN OF A WASTED LIFE. I saw this on a magnet once: the point is, a few scattered papers never hurt anyone. Make sure, though, that when you get to writing, you have some degree of organization to your process and your thoughts. Maybe that means outlining. Maybe it just means character sheets. Maybe it implies taking the time to go back and double check exactly what occurred in a previous scene you have to reference, to make sure you’re consistent. Your first drafts don’t have to be spic and span, but the chaos should at least be an organized chaos.
- BUDGET. LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS. DON’T GO FOR BROKE. You want to live sensibly and be responsible where the real world’s concerned, but feel free to go for broke taking risks in your fiction. Experiment with new approaches to the writing process. Try new styles of narration. Flesh out that crazy idea you’re not sure will work. Who cares if it’s nuts? If you don’t want a huge investment of time and energy, experiment in short stories rather than starting out with a novel that has you a bit on edge.
- PLAN FOR RETIREMENT/THE FUTURE. In the real world, the importance of this concept can’t be overstated. However, when writing or editing, you have to live in the moment. Work on that one scene that’s in front on you. Thinking about the scene to come after, or publication, or reviews after publication will overwhelm you. If you work on making each scene the best it can be, the rest will fall into place in good time.
- PUT OTHERS FIRST. Being unselfish is a great virtue, and the world would be a better place if more people practiced it. That said, your writing is about you. You make the calls. And while you should always consider the input and suggestions of your beta readers and editors, if a suggested change isn’t true to you and your story, or doesn’t respect your personal style, don’t feel obligated to change to please others. (NOTE: I take upwards of 95% of feedback I get from my beta readers. They are stellar, and when they say something’s not working, they generally are right. Don’t write off valid criticism.)
Well, there you go! Tomorrow I’ll consider this series of posts with a list of life advice you can take when you get to writing, so I hope you stop by then.
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