Browse the bookstore shelves for books on the craft of writing.
Better yet, run an internet search with the terms “writing advice.”
Go ahead, Google it. There are only 102 million hits, right?
Yeah, lots of “advice” to be found in all corners. (Don’t even get the librarian in me started on ‘evaluating authoritative sources’…) It’s hard to process all the information on the shelves and in the digital ether.
But here’s the thing: so far, the best advice I’ve gleaned can be boiled down to two things: read and listen.
That’s it. Really.
1. Read well.
You can’t write remarkable, satisfying, fearsome, awe-inspiring, gripping, gutwrenching, exceptional fiction or non-fiction unless you read a lot of breathtaking stuff. You can’t tell a good yarn unless you’ve steeped yourself in story.
Anyone who says you can is full of bad gerunds.
2. Listen well.
Listen to other writers. Listen to agents. Listen to editors. Listen to critique partners. Listen, even when you don’t like what they have to say.
And REALLY digest their criticism. Not just praise. Compliments do nothing for you. But sharp appraisal? That drives you to the edge. It tests your endurance, your persistence, your willingness to learn, and your ability to process feedback. (I’m preaching to myself on this one, kids)
Tough jabs push you to your limits. They make you better.
If you don’t listen, if you don’t pay attention, you won’t grow. And you won’t get requests and acceptances.
But hey, if you’re too busy to read and too talented to listen, there’s always PublishAmerica.
Hungry for more? Work out your writing frustration and try this recipe for Aggression Cookies. They’re pure buttery oatmeal goodness.