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?
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