Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Always put on clean underwear before you leave the house!

What does this really mean?  Are there people out there who change their underwear every single time they go somewhere?  If so, why?  Sorry, but if I'm in a horrendous car crash, the state of my underwear is going to be the last thing on my mind.  Needless to say, this is one piece of advice I could do without. 

Some of you are probably wondering, "Where is she going with this?  This isn't another maniacal meme, is it?"  No fear, loyal followers, it is not! 

I want to know what advice you couldn't live without.  If someone asked you for the most important thing you've learned since starting your writing career, what would you tell them?  If you had to pick one piece of advice--one and only one--to give to a 'newbie', what would it be?

I want everyone to tell me the most important thing they've learned (about writing) over the years.  Maybe it's something you read or a fellow writer told you.  Maybe you realized it early on, or maybe you've been writing for years, and you just now figured it out!  Whatever it is, I want to know!  I'm hoping to get as many responses as possible, because next week's post will be a compilation of everyone's answers. 

To start things off, I'll tell you mine.  The best advice I ever came across was to let your manuscript sit for at least six weeks before editing it.  I read this on a blog about a year ago, and then read it again in Stephen King's book, ON WRITING, a couple of months ago.  This advice is priceless.  Why?  Because it allows you to get some distance from your manuscript.  After those six weeks are over and you start reading your ms, it almost seems foreign--and this is a good thing.  It's like you're reading someone else's work.  And you know how when you proof/critique someone else's work, the problem areas almost seem to jump off the page?  The same thing will happen when you start reading over your own work.  Well, at least it did for me ;-)

Okay, peeps.  Now it's your turn.  Imagine you're on your deathbed, and you have just enough breath left to give one piece of writing advice (yeah, because that's totally what's going to be on your mind as you lay dying).  What would that advice be?


  1. #1 Read anything and everything you can get your hands on. Set aside time to read read read.

    #2 There is almost always a better word, or sets of words that can replace an adverb.

    #3 Write write write - even if you have nothing to say, write it anyway. I use the 750 word dump to encourage me to do this daily, then I print them off and put them in a binder as a sort of scrapbook/journal. You can find out about this here

    Ok so that was 3 tips... woops :P


  2. Haha! Great post, Angela. I have to admit, I was a little worried the panty meme was reincarnated in some even more diabolical form. HA.

    My one piece of advice? You wanta be a writer ... you have to write.

    I need to be taking that advice myself lately. Heh

  3. Ditto what Nina and Anita said.

    For me, it would have to be: Rules are more like guidelines, anyway. (ala Pirates of the Carribean style)

    Also: Follow your writerly gut. ;)


    Even with 80+ rejections, I always received praise for having a strong voice in my manuscript. I attribute this to writing the book for me--not for anybody else. The moment you start writing to an audience, the soul of the book (meaning, the author's voice) disappears. You gotta write what works for YOU!

  5. I love your advice and I so agree, but it's tempting to keep pounding everything out.

    For me I think the best advice is what Cherie said, to follow your gut and to never give up. I have to remind myself of this on a daily basis :)

  6. Figure out what works for -you- and do that thing even if it goes against everything everyone else says. I mean, just because everyone else is eating rocks...
    Or jumping off of bridges...

  7. My advice would be to enjoy writing and not stress about everything, but to love what you write and stand behind it.

    I have an award for you over at my blog! Stop by to get it! :)