Thursday, July 7, 2011

Angry Writer Monkey Wants Advice!

Okay, so maybe Angry Writer Monkey was just a ploy, but now that I have your attention, I have a lot going on these days, to the point where it can get overwhelming. It got me to thinking about what my agent told me about this time last year. Nightshade City was coming out in a few months, and of course, as a debut author, I was terrified about reviews, sales, and everything in between, to the point where I was getting a little nutty. To sum it up, she told me (nicely) to shut up about it and keep writing. She said the writing is what matters. If you don't have've got nothing! She didn't actually tell me to shut up, but you get the point. Now with every step, with every new manuscript, hurtle, triumph, or even defeat, I go back to that. And as writers, this rule applies to everyone, no matter what stage of the publishing journey you are at.

So, what's the best writing advice you've gotten? It doesn't have to be something monumental, it can be a small tip that ended up changing the way you write or maybe something that was really encouraging to you. I think sharing advice (good and bad) is important. And with that in mind, feel free to share your words of wisdom! :)

xoxo -- Hilary


  1. Writing is what matters, and I'm sure it's hard to keep that in the front of your mind!

    I'm learning not to compare my first draft with finished books. o_O

  2. Fight the resistance everyday. - Stephen Pressfield. War of Art. A MUST read.

  3. The thing I always remember from way back when is not to read what I'm working on until it's done. When I first started writing I used to spend FAR too long on chapters that I was likely to change or delete anyway.

  4. Kristin, that's excellent advice. It's so hard NOT to judge your work at every step of the game!

    Kevin, I should totally read that! Sounds great! I'm pretty sure I've heard of it before.

    Robert, I always go back and read whatever scene I just wrote, only because it saves me editing time at the end. Then again, I'm the typo queen, so I have a good excuse! :)

  5. Anonymous7/07/2011

    One piece of advice I received was to place the problem or what's at stake earlier in my story, because I was putting it in later. So the plot wasn't moving.

  6. First off, hello to a fellow Chicago author! love finding more of us :)

    A great nugget of advice I read was that friends and family shouldn't be neglected because of your writing. You need to find a balance and be happy because getting published won't automatically make everything better. If you weren't happy before you sold your book, that doesn't mean you'll instantly be happy once you do. That helps me keep things in perspective whenever I find myself stressing about splitting my time between regular work, friends, family, and writing.

    As for a piece of writing advice, my favorite is "If the scene is about what the scene is about, then you're in deep s--t."

  7. That's great advice. I think Elana Johnson's advice that you can't finish a manuscript if you don't write has been hitting home lately.

  8. Medeia, that's a great piece of advice! There's been a few books I put down and never picked back up because nothing was happening in the beginning! Really great advice, girlie!

    Hi Phil! Chicago writers rule! Yes, it's very hard to balance family and writing goals. Clearly writing a good book takes time! I write really early in the morning when everyone is asleep and then late at I get zero sleep! Maybe that's why I write such weird stuff! ;)

    Natalie, that's so true! It's so hard to get caught up in "life", not to mention all the social networking everyone's involved in these days. You literally have to lock yourself away in a hole in order to get anything done!!!! :)

  9. Tabby Frank7/08/2011

    My advice, turn the tv off! If that's possible. :)

  10. The best advice I ever received was to post a sticky note to my computer that says: I give myself permission to write crap today.
    Most days it takes the pressure off :-)

  11. Best advice I ever got = don't be afraid to write badly.

    Also something I've discovered for myself --> reading = writing fuel.

  12. Tabby, turn off the TV?? I don't think our TV has one! ;)

    Dawn, that's great advice. We are far too hard on ourselves. :)

    Bethany, reading is such a great learning tool. And frankly, no matter what you read, you'll always learn something! :)

  13. hi miss hilary! im thinking for me what youre saying is sorta like eating a yummy hot fudge sunday cause the ice cream and hot fudge are the writing part and the whip cream is getting a publisher and the cherry on top is getting published. but even without the whip cream and cherry im still gonna love eating that sunday.
    …hugs from lenny

  14. Lenny, I think you summed it up better than me! :) I've feeling when you're a bit older, you will get the whip cream AND the cherry too!!!!!



  15. I can hear MZ saying that to you, Hilary. :-) Some of the best advice I've gotten is about critique partners...You want to choose partners who write as good or better than you. You also need to remember that you don't have to take the advice of your cp's...Let YOUR voice shine through in your ms.

  16. I got some great advice from a crit partner who read my book and with a mere page of notes was able to set a blinding light bulb off. I credit her with helping me "fix" a few things that were breaking down. Most of the advice had to do with characterization.


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