Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Rules for Successful Writing* -- A Giveaway!

  • Don't fall into the trap of rewriting chapter one until it's perfect. And don't discard everything you write halfway through because you're sure it sucks. Writing stuff that sucks is part of the learning process!
  • When people ask what you do, tell them you're a writer. Put yourself on the line. Make a commitment.
  • Make writing a responsibility. Think of it like a job and show up on time.
  • Never hold anything back for the next book. Always go for it. Be brave.
  • Respect and love your audience. Write for the reader.
Evanovich is the wildly popular author of the Stephanie Plum books. Visit her site here.
As for the giveaway part of this post, I'd like you to add your own tip to the list. I don't think there's a shortage of good advice, do you?
What do you think makes for a successful writer? I'd like to know from the perspective of both writers and readers, so anyone can join in. For instance, my sister, who is an avid reader but doesn't write like I do, thinks a relevant thing for writers' success is an active, frequently-updated author's website. Valid!
Add your thoughts in the comment section of this post. Everyone who does gets their name in a hat (or bowl, mayhaps) for a giveway--to celebrate that I'm nearing 350 blog followers! (If you're not a follower yet but enjoy what you see here at Something She Wrote, please sign up. I do love watching that number grow.)
I'll give you through this weekend (ending Sunday at 7PM CST) to add to the list. Winner to be announced Monday!

ETA: Friends, I apologize--It's just occured to me, I didn't announce what the giveaway prize is. (Oops. I'm sorry.) It'll be a new book of some kind, to be determined/selected according to the winner.
Also, be sure to come back Friday, to see the results of the new five words into fiction meme.


thedomesticfringe said...

Well, I think you just gave me some really good advice. I read those rules and thought, Hmmm...these are simple. My next thought, Hmmm...these are going to very hard to follow. Sometimes it's the simple things that are extremely difficult to do. Thanks for jump-starting my morning.

I don't know if I have anything useful to add...Let's see...You can't please everyone, so don't worry if someone doesn't like what you wrote.

Congrats on all your followers!

Amy Sue Nathan said...

Your rules rock.

I'd add two of my own.

#1 Put everything near you that you need while you're writing. For me, a morning writer, that means coffee, both pairs of glasses, my phone and my Flip Dictionary. Then I don't have to get up. Ever.

#2 Give your readers credit, they're smart. Meaning, don't overwrite or over explain. Allow the reader to think and figure things out along the way. It engages them and makes them turn the page.

Great post, Janna!

Jessica Nelson said...

Trust your voice.

That's my advice. Everyone wants to follow the rules but sometimes the rules have to be broken in order for voice to be found, imo.

Thanks for sharing those great tips! I totally agree with them.

Heather Sunseri said...

I totally fall into the trap of rewriting my chapter 1 way too much!

Liza said...

Recently when I was stuck, I wrote a conversation between two characters. I hadn't written to the point in the story when that conversation happened yet, though I knew it would. So I wrote it. It helped me move forward, in that made me consider how my characters would get to the place where that conversation happened. I'm about to write another conversation to help me along agaoin.

Anonymous said...

Great advise, especially not to throw out the project on days you think it all sucks!

Mine's simple: Don't stop writing. Write everyday, even if it just for 15 minutes. And those minutes have to be focused writing.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

At the exact moment you feel like quitting...don't.

How profound is that? ;)
~ Wendy

lissa said...

those rules are good but rules are good only if you can follow them. for me, I prefer to write first and then check out the rules. I'm not very good at following rules.

Angela Hood-Ross said...

Write "something" every single day even if it's not part of your WIP.

Great advice posted here. Thank you for sharing.

Healing Oasis said...

First of all, thanks for the tip on successful writing, so appreciated! It seems that any quiet meditation on any piece of writing I'm working on is the "miracle grow" to make it blossom.

Patti said...

Great advice. I would add, quit second guessing yourself.

Deb Shucka said...

Great rules here!

I would add that a successful writer needs community - other writers to commiserate with and to provide fresh perspective.

Congrats on nearly 350 - that's really great, Janna!

Robyn Campbell said...

I did this with my first novel. Whuch meant that I rewrote that dang chapter a hundred times. Love your advice, I won't soon forget it. :-)

Southpaw said...

You raise some very good points, some of which I, um, know but haven’t quite followed yet. ;)

Mary Warner said...

I guess it goes along with what was already said, but one of my own rules would be to remember that writers block only stops you if you want to be stopped. After all what stops you (or me at least) isn't that I have no ideas, but I have no "good" ideas.

Laura@OutnumberedMom said...

Love the rules you posted! Here are two more ideas:

#1 - Just write. (No matter what, write every day)
#2 - Be concise. Less is more.

Jill Kemerer said...

I read Janet's book two years ago, and much of her advice stuck with me. What an inspiration!

My thoughts on writing...

Persistence. We have to believe in our writing even when it's bad. Maybe it means tucking our WIP away after too many rejections and starting a new one, but we can't quit.

Tana said...

A writer who writes is the best writer a writer can be. I think so often the actual writing is the last thing to happen.

Lydia Kang said...

Great rules! I have major problems with the "Never hold anything back for the next book."

Hooray for the giveaway!

Nelson said...

The blog is very good!

Helen Ginger said...

I'd say: Help other writers. Even when you think you're a newbie and don't know much, there's someone who has less experience than you who could use some advice. Join a group or attend writer meetings that fit your genre or ask another writer what they're working on.

Karen Lange said...

Congrats on the followers! Woo hoo!

I think that perseverance and discipline are key factors in the writing equation too. These things help me press forward to do something I feel called to do.

Thanks for doing this!

Melissa Amateis said...

Great writing advice! Hmm...I guess or me, I always feel that you must ignore the trends and write the book YOU want to write. :-)

Nel said...

The blog is very good!

Debbie said...

I sure don't have a tip so I won't enter! But I did want to congratulate you on getting so close to 350. That's great!

Analisa said...

I love the advice and I would like to add one.

Being a reader. I don't think you can write well if you don't read well. Find writers you love and find new ones too. Sometimes I read a sentence over again just because I love they way they wrote the sentence. I love Janet E and the Stephanie Plum books. She makes me laugh out loud.

Jeanette Levellie said...

These are great tips, and you are so sweet to give away a book on your 350 mark--congratulations!

My best tip is to pray for yourself as you write, that God give you words to most help your readers and show them God as He truly is.

And to love your readers.

Okay, that's two. Here's a third:

Never stop growing. Never say, "I know all there is to know about writing." The day you say that is the beginning of the end of your creativity.

Melissa Sarno said...

Well, I think I missed the giveaway, but I wanted to check out all the lovely advice. Great idea! My 'advice' is not to beat yourself up when you DON'T write because once I freed myself from that, it made me look at writing in a different way.

Texas Playwright Chick said...

Amen on those bullet points!!! Looks like I'm in late on this and it's a done deal, but still would like to add:

Show up at the page and write! You can talk about it, or you can do it. Just do it!

Rhonda Schrock said...

You know, I think Erma Bombeck may have said something similar (about calling yourself a writer). I really like that and think it makes a difference all the way around. I appreciate that reminder! I tend to think of it as "my little side thing."