More pieces of life advice authors should ignore

not listening!!!

not listening!!!

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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11 responses to “More pieces of life advice authors should ignore

  1. angel7090695001

    I hate planing and outlines.

  2. Reblogged this on Julian Froment's Blog and commented:
    Useful advice, and an interesting blog. Well worth following!

  3. My brain has an extremely small buffer. If I’m asked to to do three things in a row, one of them is bound to get missed. 🙂 Therefore, I need to be organized or else a lot of ideas that I dream up get lost when it comes time to write.

    I like the idea of going crazy, as well. That’s what outlines or first drafts (or both) are for!

  4. Hello Victoria,
    I just came across your site and added it to my blogroll. I just launched a writing site called “Corkboards and CoffeeHouses.” It’s more of a personal journey through my own writing process. I have another blog called “The Old Lady in my Bones” which is a blog on living with Rheumatoid Arthritis. I write it from a writer’s point of view, telling stories of my life with arthritis. I am very happy to have come across your site and will pop by often. BTW, I am very experienced at ignoring quite a few of those life strategies. 😉
    J.G. Chayko

    • thanks so much for stopping by! It’s wonderful to get to know a bit about you, J.G.! Appreciate you taking the time to comment 🙂 I’ve followed your blog as well!

  5. “If a suggested change isn’t true to you and your style…” I could have used this advice last year when I deleted (didn’t just set aside) an excellently written chapter of my novel to please my writer’s group. The re-write wasn’t nearly as good, and since I deleted the original, there’s no way to recapture that material. Makes me sick to think of it. 😦

    i won’t do that again!

    Thanks for all the excellent pointers. I really appreciate them.

    • Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry that happened to you! 😦 You don’t have a file via email attachments sitting in your “sent” folder or a hard copy? That’s the worst!

      Thanks so much for sharing your story and your experience. I’m horrified to hear that happened to you, but maybe now you’ll prevent someone else from making that mistake. 😦 Best of luck with your rewritten chapter, even if you don’t think it’s as good. 😦

  6. Pingback: Nuggets of Wisdom Concerning Life that Apply to Creative Writing | Creative Writing with the Crimson League

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