Friday, January 14, 2011

What Writers Should Worry About...

Whether or not we're querying or published, agented or un-agented, we've all received some good advice at one time or another on the long and laborious road to publishing, sometimes bad advice too, but let's stick to the good stuff.

I think the most important piece of advice I've received to date is that writing trumps all. It doesn't matter how often you social network, post on your blog, join new forums or market yourself, if the writing is not there, it's simply not there. In other words, stop dwelling on everything else and worry only about the writing. If you are throwing yourself into your work, making it as compelling and captivating as it can be, working out the plot holes, uplifting your characters, the other things have a way of working themselves out. My agent told me this about six months back and she is so right. She says she's seen careers tank because a writer is worrying about everything but their writing. Now, whenever those nasty voices creep in, telling me I'm not doing enough, those significant words she said talk well over them, "Only worry about your writing. The rest will come."

35 comments:

  1. *deep, renewed sigh* Oh this is so good! Thank you for passing along her wisdom.

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  2. Such an important thing to remember--why we're all really here! Thanks!

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  3. Just what I needed to hear this week! Thanks, Hil!

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  4. This is so true. Thank you for the reminder. =)
    Have a great weekend.

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  5. Excellent reminder Hilary! Blogging might feel like writing but it doesn't get the work done. Balance is difficult but crucial.

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  6. Great point! I heard another great bit of advice this morning--"write what you love to read"!
    Judy Cox

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  7. yes yes and YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  8. It is all about the word on the page in the end.

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  9. Very wise advice. Thank you!

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  10. I need to put that on a sticky note!

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  11. So true! Thanks for the reminder, Hilary.

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  12. Thanks for the reminder--with all the social media out there, it's easy to get sucked into thinking that it matters enough to stress over. Stressing over the writing--now THAT's still acceptable, right? :)

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  13. Such GREAT advice! Especially now, as I get my writing habits back in order after the holidays, concentrating on the actual manuscript has to be the most important way I spend my time. Thanks, Hilary!

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  14. This is so true. I need to stop making excuses for not revising, and get on it.

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  15. Absolutely true!
    Love the rat image; where did you find it?

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  16. Good advice--I'm getting off-line right now to get writing!!

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  17. Very good advice!

    Excellent blog post :)

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  18. Fabulous advice! Thank you. :)

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  19. FOCUS! My word for 2011 is focus!
    Now to get to work on that;-)

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  20. I know I'm late to the party, but this is great advice. Thanks for sharing!

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  21. hi miss hilary! for sure writing rules! just only a close second to rats rule! :)
    ...hugs from lenny

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  22. Hello everyone! It is so hard these days to "turn off" the outside world. With constant internet access, social networks galore, cell phones, and all those other distractions, it's a miracle we get anything written sometimes, right?

    P.S. Kathryn, found that guy on google (of course) and Bekah, that totally would make a great sticky note, maybe even a tattoo! ;)

    Since MZ told me to chill out about my constant worrying (about everything) and just write, I feel I've really dove back into my writing and I'm super happy with the results!

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  23. So true! I just made a decision to cut back my blogging to M-W-F, to make sure I don't lose sight of that - time for writing! :)

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  24. YES! - and if you give readers a good book, they will come back for more. I have 3 books published now, and with this fourth book due in the fall I found I was faltering - not writing - and couldn't figure out why - well, I knew why, I just kept pushing it aside: I was letting The Outside WOrld inside my Inside World--sometimes that shouldn't be allowed, sometimes, like when it comes to my books/writing, I need to block out the voices -good bad or indifferent - and just write.

    It could be easy to be caught up in all the advice about "marketing ourselves" but if in doing that we don't have time to write our books and make them shine, then ... well..wat's the point?

    By the way -finished Nightshade City and I really enjoyed it -Clover is one of my fave characters. I'm going to send it to my hb's GD soon. I'll write up something on amazon, as well-just been busy and keep forgetting! - also, you had me so intrigued about rats and dreams that I happened upon a show about rats and dreams and I DVR'd it to look at later!
    :-D

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  25. Great advice. Does this mean I am free now? Sweet.

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  26. I absolutely agree. Writing is, of course, the most important part of writing! Everyone gets caught up in all the "rules" of writing, which are good to follow to a degree, but one must remember that in order to be a writer one must WRITE... not just worry about critiquing and editing and revising. Those are important too, but if you only ever worry about those, you'll never get anything else done.

    Thanks for the post. :)

    Nichole

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  27. MZ is brilliant! (not jealous...not jealous) You told me that exact same thing about six months ago...Hilary you are a brilliant writer!

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  28. You and MZ are absolutely right!

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  29. Technology sure can be a time saver but I do find myself wasting time on unimportant matters when I sit down at the computer. Good advice!

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  30. This is so true... I thought about starting my blog before I got an agent, but I really wanted to focus on my writing an polishing my work with no distractions...now I'm trying to build my blog while I wait for submission.

    demitrialunetta.blogspot.com

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  31. Great advice and something I try to always remember.

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  32. This post is great because it brings you up. Out of the terrifying mix of emotions from trying to write and become published to just remembering why you started in the first place. Great post.

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  33. I 100 percent agree with you. Writing trumps all!

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  34. The best advice I ever got was from an editor at an SCBWI conference (her name's Tamra Tuller). Don't be afraid to write badly. Turn off your inner editor and just write something. You can always clean it up later.

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