My Helpful (Hopefully) ABC’s of Writing

A- Accept that your first, third and more than likely your fourth draft will be crap, and that’s okay. It doesn’t have to be perfect, nor will it be.

B- Believe in yourself and your talents. If you don’t believe in yourself or your work, no one else will either.

C- Challenge yourself to write daily. Try to carve out at least 30 minutes to write. The more time you spend away from that paper and pencil (or computer) the easier it is to get out of the habit altogether.

D- Don’t give up.  Surge forward even when you feel like ditching a whole manuscript. Trust me, the time will come.

E- Editing. Need I say more? It’s a MUST. Don’t skimp on this one.

F- Forget the naysayers. They usually don’t have a clue.

G- Grammar is important. Know the difference between they’re, their and there if you want to be taken seriously.

H- Help others and learn to accept help in return. Join author groups and forums. The support can be amazing for those times when you need extra encouragement.

I- Ideas come and go, especially when there is so much going on in daily life. Write them down lest you forget.

J- Jot down ideas as they come to you. (Can you tell this is an important one for me?) You’ll thank yourself later. Between soccer and football practice, laundry, homework, cooking dinner, etc., I don’t always have the mind to remember something, so I jot it down or make a note in my phone.

K- Keep a style sheet or diary handy to reference time line sequences and plot lines in your novel.

L- Learn to let go. I know I say this a lot, but it’s so important. Writing can be an extreme high when you’re on a roll, but it can also be the one thing that makes you doubt why you ever tried in the first place. If you write a piece that’s not so great, it’s okay. If your book flops, that’s alright, too. Let go of the bad and move on. You’ll be a much happier person.

M- Market your work. Yes, it’s time consuming and you’d better believe it can be overwhelming, but you have to put in the work, otherwise, what’s the point?

N- Never compare yourself to someone who’s been writing for years. I found this one out the hard way. We’re all unique and we all have something different to offer. We also have to pay our dues to get to where we want to be. You more than likely will not produce a New York Times Bestseller on your first try.

O- Overanalyzing can create problems you don’t need. (I probably will get grief for this one) I’m all for editing. It’s a necessary evil and should be handled with the utmost care. However, don’t beat a dead horse. After the tenth, eleventh or twentieth time, walk away. I know I said no skimping on this, but really?

P- Publishing. I’m a self-published author because that’s the path I chose. I never tried the traditional route. Why you ask? Fear? Maybe. Rejection? Perhaps, but it doesn’t make me or any other self-published author less of a writer. I think there’s a general perception that if you aren’t represented by a major publishing house your work isn’t good enough. Loose the stigma.

Q- Query letters. Someone else posted on this earlier and I’d like to second their sentiment because it’s a valid point. Don’t use a template and simply fill in the blanks. You’ve spent a lot of time writing your book and now you’re asking someone else to invest their time reading it. Put in the effort required to make that impression, especially if you’re expecting that same effort from someone else.

R- Relax. Take a deep breath. It’s all going to be alright. You can do this!

S- Share your work with friends and family. Heck, let your neighbors or co-workers take a peek. It never hurts to get feedback early on.

T- Trust your instincts. Write from the heart and where the story takes you.

U- Understand not everything you write will be a best seller and that’s okay.

V- Visualize the light at the end of the tunnel. Some days it will feel like there isn’t one.

W- Welcome help when it’s offered because you’re going to need it. Prepare yourself, independent people!

X- ? Yeah, you knew I wouldn’t have anything on this one!

Y- You only go around once. If writing (or blogging, cooking, painting, sewing, etc.) is your passion, then do your thing and go for it! Make no apologies.

Z- Zeal. (noun) – fervor for a person, cause, or object; eager desire or endeavor; enthusiastic diligence; ardor. It definitely takes zeal to do what we do, otherwise it might not be worth it. The drive, the desire and the need to write make the endeavor to do so that much sweeter!

©Kelly Miles 2015 

31 thoughts on “My Helpful (Hopefully) ABC’s of Writing

  1. This is great, great advice, Kelly, especially the part about letting go of fear of bad writing and unsuccessful books. Remembering the light at the end of the tunnel is also a good reminder. What authors groups and forums would you recommend?

    Liked by 1 person

    • To be honest, I haven’t ran across too many that don’t have road blocks. Some of the regulations are stifling! But I did find a fairly decent one on Goodreads (indie writers support) and another on FB which isn’t so much a forum, but the authors are super-supportive. (Books go social) hope these help. I’m on the quest for more because I’m not so sure you can ever have too many! Thanks for the feedback 🙂

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  2. Unfortunately, I’ve heard that often about writers’ groups. As a writer and a musician I’ve found that when we’re organized into a collective, we tend to fall at either end of the flaky/Gestapo spectrum.

    I just sent the BooksGoSocial FB group a request to join but then, oops, noticed that I’m supposed to have something published first. *sigh*

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ugh! I know it’s beyond frustrating. I’ve hit several dead-ends and have even been threatened with disbandment if I made one wrong move! (I didn’t even attempt to join that group) I’m certainly not a well-seasoned professional, but feel free to contact me if I can be of any help. I’ve read your blog and you have a great writing style. 🙂

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  3. Very cool read! A and C I found the most interesting. A- Voltaire once said, “Perfection is the enemy of good,” meaning that you should never let your desire for perfection ever prevent you from doing something that’s good. In the beginning good enough is just fine, perfection comes later. So I liked that letter:) C-I think a lot of people would be better off being more prolific. Like Pablo Picasso, he use to create a new piece of art every day. Writers can learn from Picasso. Thanks for the article, I liked it:) this comment may sound a little rattled

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: My Helpful (Hopefully) ABC’s of Writing | Toni Kennedy : A Writing Life

  5. Thank you. I will gladly pass this on.

    As for Self Publishing vs. Major Publishing Houses, how many of us have picked up books from Major Publishing Houses that would better serve to wrap fish or line bird cages? I know that I have been disappointed many times. Since I refuse to destroy books, I pass those on and perhaps find someone who will appreciate them.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Very well stated. Many of the things you’ve stated could go into a “life” manual since they fit many endeavors, problems, etc. One point you may wish to consider – writing is cathartic in many ways … publication DOES NOT have to be the culmination of every writers efforts.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. X: X-ray your characters to make sure you know what’s going on inside them! Give your readers an occasional view of what you discover; just don’t let that view devolve into “telling” (the temptation I have to fight!). But as the writer, you need that “inside” view.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on sherriemiranda1 and commented:
    Let me just add this to Kelly’s list:
    X-ray your work. Look at it so closely, you know it inside & out.
    This post is for the LOVER OF WORDS!
    Peace, love & great writing to all (the 7th time around!),
    Sherrie
    Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:
    http://tinyurl.com/klxbt4y
    Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too:

    Like

  9. What a great post full of tangible suggestions and reminders, Kelly. The support and camaraderie from the writing/blogging community delightfully astounds me regularly – usually right when I’m headed for the freezer (and the ice cream). I especially appreciate your points on grammar; (my pet peeves, their, there, they’re, your/you’re). In the wrong context muddies the water of otherwise good writing. Excellent mentions on Self-Publishing and query letters. I want to print and post this over my desk!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wonderful, Roo! Thank you so much!! Sometimes as writers, even though we know these points, it’s easy to forget when overwhelmed with manuscripts, editing, blogging, etc. I keep a copy on my desk at all times. Sometimes it even talks me off the ledge 😉 lol

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