Nuggets of Wisdom Concerning Life that Apply to Creative Writing

Writing Wisdom

Writing Wisdom

When it comes to life, everyone has their proverbs and their adages. Over the last two days, we’ve explored first some advice that isn’t applicable to fiction, and then more advice that authors should feel free to ignore.

Today, things are becoming more positive. The true wisdom behind these sayings can apply to fiction as well as to life in general, so keep in mind when you sit down at that keyboard:

  • TO EVERYTHING THERE IS A SEASON. You have prewriting activities such as brainstorming, outlining, and making character sheets. You have first draft composition. You have editing. Each of these components of the writing process has its flow and its purpose, and you shouldn’t try to combine them or do them all at once. There’s a reason writing and editing should be separate activities.
  • HEAVEN HELPS THOSE WHO HELP THEMSELVES. So put in the grunt work. Do your research. Strive to write every day. (There are great benefits to writing every day.) Seek out beta readers and editors you can trust, and truly consider what they’re telling you. That’s how you call down the muses to help make your novel the best that it can be.
  • A FAITHFUL FRIEND IS LIKE GOLD. HE WHO FINDS ONE FINDS A TREASURE. Remember that your beta readers and your editors are your friends. Treat them with respect, and value their insights and suggestions to the degree that their expertise merits. They are there to help you, and if you let them help you, you just might be astounded at how valuable they prove.
  • “EXPERIENCE IS THE NAME EVERYONE GIVES TO THEIR MISTAKES.” Oscar Wilde said this, and it’s so true. So remember: your “mistakes” while writing count as experience. You will learn from them, and develop from them, so cherish them. Don’t resent or hate those short stories that never worked out or those two or three novels you started and never could finish. That’s experience. And who knows? Maybe you can finish them down the road.
  • LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE. This relates to Wilde’s quote above, and viewing your mistakes in a positive light to maintain a positive mindset. Writing is difficult work, and it can become discouraging. If you don’t force yourself to focus on where things are going well, where you can see growth, and on each small accomplishment as it comes, maintaining your momentum is tough.

So, there you have it. What other nuggets of wisdom have you applied to your writing process? What mindset do you find it’s important to value and to foster in order to have success?

Please do comment if you’d like. And don’t forget, if you enjoyed the post, to sign up to follow my blog via email. That way you’ll keep up with all the exchanges taking place here concerning creative writing.

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17 responses to “Nuggets of Wisdom Concerning Life that Apply to Creative Writing

  1. That Oscar Wilde quote is perfect for authors. Mistakes happen a lot from typos to major bungles in advertising. Only thing to do is dust yourself off and keep moving.

    A quote that I take to heart is ‘Don’t accept every opinion’. Everyone has a different view on what a person does. If you try to follow every criticism then you’re going to make a mess of your manuscript. Best to examine every opinion and see what fits with your goals and what would be a wrong move.

    • So, so true, Charles!!! You can’t take every criticism from beta readers, nonetheless from reviews! You should always consider and examine the criticism, I agree–just like you said–but not accept it blindly and change things on its account right away.

      • I actually wish I kept my ‘all criticism taken’ version of Beginning of a Hero. It was horrific. I accepted opinions from everyone, including those that never read fantasy before. You just can’t go along with everyone and I’m learning that there are always people who will criticize. Even if the book is published and getting praise, you’ll get somebody trying to convince you to change things.

        • it’s very true. you can never please anyone. great point about making sure you reach out to people in your target audience for input, as well. that’s super important. Thanks, Charles!

        • Definitely. Though it’s a challenge for some genres to find their target audience. I found very few people that enjoyed fantasy books when I was looking for beta readers. I found non-fiction readers, a lyricist, a poet, a lawyer, and a video game addict as my initial beta readers. You can imagine the result of that mess. Maybe we should say that patience is key for choosing beta readers too.

  2. I found out the hard way about the first one (a season for everything). I wondered why I couldn’t finish a novel. I couldn’t, because I kept editing while drafting!

    The best advice I’ve been given recently came from an advisor: “Close the door on comments while you draft.” I was getting frustrated, because I allowed a bunch of people to read my unfinished manuscript, and received eight different opinions! I wanted to quit writing until she patted me on the hand and told me to stop seeking the opinions of others until I felt the manuscript was ready for feedback.

    • ooh, thanks so much for sharing! that’s a fabulous point: it’s not a good idea to share an unfinished draft, for sure. I usually wait until after a read-through of the draft and a few rounds of edits before I open things up for feedback. it’s very important to wait until the draft is ready for feedback, precisely for the reasons you mention. I’m so glad you didn’t give up and had someone to pull you through 🙂

  3. I love point four. So that must mean I’m really really experienced 🙂 Great post.

  4. Heaven helps those who help themselves. So accurate. When you show up every damn day, the Universe pays attention.

  5. catherinelumb

    Look on the Bright Side – most certainly. I could have recently said I ‘failed’ to complete Story a Day in May, but instead I congratulated myself on writing 22 stories so far this month and enjoying the process. They way I see it, the only failure is to give up trying. x

    • that’s it, exactly!!! I did NaNoWriMo last year, because I told myself that even if I didn’t make my 50,000 words, I’d still have the most productive month writing I ever had. It’s all on focusing on the positives, on what you’ve learned, and what you’ve accomplish, even if it’s not exactly what you were hoping for.

      I definitely can’t say I’ve written 22 short stories in a month. Oh my gosh, that’s really incredible. I can’t even imagine the creativity and dedication that requires.

  6. These are all such great points, I can definitely use the one about writing everyday, I love days when I write and loathe when I fail to do so, it’s truly therapeutic!

  7. Pingback: Victoria’s always got something good to share. Check it out. | Dropped Pebbles

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