Thursday, June 3, 2010


I've been amazed over recent months that I've still attracted a trickle of new cult followers (waves at Ceri, Ms Pooh, Lyy, Collette, Miriah, & Bonnie Heather) and a steady stream of new visitors who usually don't return as witnessed by a fairly steady return visitor count - still, it's nice for people to drop by.

But why do new people arrive? Usually it's all about writers who have taken the first steps into creating a web presence and or have started researching the wider world involving the craft. And that's a good thing, but it's been a while since I posted anything that a new comer would find useful, so I'm going to go back through my own archives and bump some of the earlier topics people might, or have, found interesting in the past to refresh my memory and hopefully educate some of our slightly lesser informed brothers and sisters.

Bump 1

Not long after the Almighty said let there be a blog called 'Musings of an Aussie Writer', I posted a couple entries titled The Good and The Bad - of which some points are still very relevant and could be useful to go over again. Go read the old posts, there are some interesting things there I'm not going to rehash here but some, particularly newer writers, might find useful.

The Good

  • New Friends
Getting onto the net and creating a blog or a site helps all new writers find like-minded individuals - most of them more than willing to share their experiences to help you avoid the pitfalls and grow within the craft. Treasure them but do not allow socialising to overtake the main priority - writing. And don't be afraid to ask questions. If nothing else, it gives us fodder for the next post and helps you out at the same time.
  • Critique Groups
Whether it be a formalised online group with a thousand members, a small online community with twenty members, or a local physical group with four members, getting your work in front of others is important. Be open to suggestions and critical comment. Learn how to critique the work of others and it will also improve your own. Take no suggestion as gospel unless the person making it has a seven figure book deal. In the end, it's your work and you will stand or fall with it. Crit groups are also a great way to get over submission nerves. Once you've been through the wringer a couple of times, submitting to editors is easy. Lastly, family are not critique groups. Your non-writer family and friends will tell you how great anything you write is - that's their job - the truth is optional.
  • Set Priorities
At first, you should set small goals you can obtain: read insert title of novel/anthology here over the next week/month; write for 1 hour everyday; research only every second day and never for more than an hour (it's easy to get lost in the detail); during writing time I will disconnect the Internet; once a month I will take my significant other out or show them in some way that I love them and thank them for their support, etc. Soon enough you will be writing longer, researching harder, trying to maintain social networks, and squeezing in time with loved ones - and then you'll begin to reassess things - but to start with, start small.
  • The first acceptance
You write because it's a calling. You write because you have to. You write because if you didn't, all the characters inside your head would drive you nuts. Whatever the reason, you will surprise yourself with the bubbling of emotion preparing to swamp you when your first acceptance rolls in. Paid or unpaid, you will feel pride, joy, and be close to tears if not actually reaching for the tissues. It's a special thing.

The Bad
  • Ignorance
It still amazes me that some writers get taken by scams. Rule One: Money always flows to the writer. You do not have to pay for anything - it's all available on the net for free. Anything and everything you ever wanted to know about writing is out there, you only need to search for it. Eventually you'll want to take some writing course to improve your mastery of grammar or punctuation, to get a better grip on characterisation, to make you a more seasoned and better crafted writer - but nothing will ever beat practise and friends. Some books are good, ask around, your friends will be able to recommend some - I can recommend some, and some courses will help (you will never be too good at grammar (unless your name is Pharo)), but nearly all of it can be found on the net for free! Stay clear of ebooks unless recommended by at least two writer friends who have no vested interest in its sale.
  • Self Doubt
Get used to this one. Regardless of how successful you deem yourself to have become (and only you can judge this to begin with), you will always find times where you're not sure what you have produced is good enough, makes sense, or isn't the rantings of a raving lunatic. Only your trusted friends and crit group will be able to change that perspective, and even then, sometimes you just have to shove it out the door and hope for the best.
  • Time
When in the first glow of any new passion, you will want to immerse yourself in it permanently. Think back to high school and you first love (or any love for that matter) - you wanted to be with them all the time. Think back to meeting your significant other - how much time did you spend apart in the first year? Same goes with the craft. It will fill you with wonder. It will become addictive as you work through a story and want to get to the next bit just as much as you imagine your readers will want to. But there will not be enough time to write and do everything else. Something will need to give. Remember your loved ones (the physical ones, not the writing). Regardless of anything else, they should always come first.

Good luck with your submissions!

No comments:

Post a Comment