Tuesday, June 28, 2016

TEN COMMANDMENTS for Writers by Yours Truly

You've probably seen a similar list like the one I'll be offering below. What you need to know is that this list goes in order of priority, so number 1 is the least important commandment. And while it is still a commandment for any writer who wants to write and sell what they write, it is not as important in the ultimate scheme of things when looking at commandment #10.

1. Thou shalt be open to writing multiple genres. You may think you're a suspense writer, and later learn you're a fantasy buff. Be open to writing more than one genre. Love romance? You may also love writing Christian fiction or nonfiction. Used to be you had to choose a genre and stick with it. No more. I write Christian fiction, nonfiction and mystery.  
2. Thou shalt take it with you. Write when you're on the bus, sitting at a park, going downtown. Keep a small notebook in your purse or glove compartment. Some folks even carry a handheld recorder. When the muse hits, you may even be sleeping. Get it down when you first think of it.

3. Thou shalt be smart. Writing and publishing is a job for many of us. Treat your writing seriously, and you'll get the same in return. Treat it like your favorite hobby, and you may find yourself writing without results.

4. Thou shalt help other writers. Join a critique group. Seek out opportunities to speak about writing. Join a writer's group.

5. Thou shalt seek out opportunities to learn your craft. This includes classes, workshops, books at the library, etc. Learn then practice, practice, practice. Read. Read. Read.

6. Thou shalt have a web presence, i.e., a webpage and/or blog, accounts with twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. If you start your social media at least 6 months before your first book comes out, you'll already have some readers in place. Post every day, whether that be quotes you like, information about your book or the subject of your book, signings, new book releases, etc. The sky is the limit, just make sure that you're not just marketing your book.

7. Thou shalt listen to criticism. This might be tough beans for you, but listening helps you on to #8. Do you have to take every critique, every criticism you get and mull it inside your head for a month or longer? No. Just take it, take a look, and then decide what you'll do with it.

8. Thou shalt edit. As part of this process you will lay aside your work for a day or days before you go back to it. You will not edit as you write, thus interrupting your inspirational flow. You will illicit at between 5 and 10 beta readers for your work. These readers/editors will often find things you've missed.

9. Thou shalt market every week, daily if you can and for at least two hours a day if you can. Taken a good look at Amazon and all of your competition? You'll want to market if you want to sell. Get this book to get you started if you haven't already.

10. Thou shalt write every day. Some writers write so many pages a day or so many words a day. If you write as if your job depends on it - it does - then you'll have a completed book in a year, not years or never.

Happy Writing!


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