The Perfect Writerly Advice

By Julie Kazimer

For the last week I’ve racked my brain to come up with a blog post for the ages, one which will be sheared into the mind of every reader. In the end I think I tore something vital, and finally came up with a post worthy of RMFW writers—The Perfect Writerly Advice.

Stop rolling your eyes.

They might stick that way.

Good advice from dear old mom? Or was she full of it? Has anyone’s eyes ever stuck that way?

Yes, it’s true. Your mom lied. Probably more than once. Which I’m sure is what has warped you into becoming a writer in the first place. But in mom’s defense, she was only passing along the advice she’d received from her own mother, and her mother’s mother, and so on.

This madness ends now.

Okay, this madness ends in a hundred or so words. You can wait that long, right?

See I did something stupid, I asked my Facebook friends, most of which are writers, to give me their very best writerly advice. Trust me on this. It was a bad, bad idea. But I’ll share the top highlights (You can read them in their entirety here):

The top writerly advice was:

1)      Quit. Don’t even think of writing as a career choice.

2)      Don’t follow any advice you read on a blog.

3)      First drafts suck and they should suck. Embrace it.

4)      Read. A lot. Then read some more.

5)      Never give up on your dream.

As you can plainly see, my Facebook friends are a smart, albeit twisted and jaded lot. But they do prove a point. All the great writerly advice in the world (and here is some of the best) will not make you into a bestselling author, any more than it will get you a three book deal or even finish your current WIP.

But I do have the perfect piece of writerly advice for those looking for the perfect piece of writerly advice:

Write.

Simple. Easy.

Yes, and you’re right, completely worthless as advice.

I wish writing was as simple as taking the advice of others. The advice, write every day, works for Stephen King, so how could I, a mere hack in comparison, not live and breathe this advice? How could I not listen when Elmore Leonard says, avoid prologues? Sadly I don’t write daily or even weekly and I often have prologues in my books. Does that make me wrong? Does it mean I won’t be successful or write unforgettable characters or books? Probably, but not because I didn’t follow Mr. King or Mr. Leonard’s advice. Other factors are at work, conspiring against me (Oh, I know all about the evil plot to make me write zombie M & M erotica).

As humans, it is our responsibility to dole out advice to everyone we meet, in line at Starbucks (always advise extra whip), to our kids (don’t put a fork in the light socket), and to our writerly pals (only write while wearing tights). Now as writers, it is our responsibility to ignore all that helpful advice, and let our eyes stick once in a while.

Any advice you’ve found helpful in your writerly career? Any advice you love to ignore?

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J.A. (Julie) Kazimer lives in Denver, CO. Novels include CURSES! A F***ed-Up Fairy Tale, Holy Socks & Dirtier Demons, Dope Sick: A Love Story and FROGGY STYLE  as well as the forthcoming romance from Coffeetown Press, The Assassin’s Heart, and the upcoming mystery series, Deadly Ever After from Kensington Books. J.A. spent years spilling drinks as a bartender and then stalked people while working as a private investigator.

Learn more at www.jakazimer.com or on her writerly talk blog More Than a Little F***ed Up. She can also be found (way too much of the time) on Twitter as @jakazimer and on Facebook as Julie Kazimer.

4 thoughts on “The Perfect Writerly Advice

  1. Julie Luek

    I think this is fantastic advice. If you can’t quit, then by all means, write your heart, understand that the free flow is usually crap and tune out the voices telling you how to do it. Perfect.

    Reply
  2. Patricia Stoltey

    Hi Julie — It’s a lot easier to ignore advice when, like me, you’re writing in retirement and don’t have high expectations about fame and fortune. The joy of writing for me is doing my own thing as you suggest. Of course, I haven’t had anything new published since 2009, so those of you who want to publish regularly might not want to follow my “do my own thing” example. FYI, I’m still in the process of cleaning up crap on two manuscripts and praying that the third is officially accepted soon for publication in 2014.

    Reply
  3. Dean K Miller

    My “yellow brick road” of writing (yes…I’ve wet myself more than once) has finally, OMG really finally, found its direction when I simply (matching mindset) let my writing be my writing. No more chasing others rainbows, butterflies and lattes. Yes my first drafts, suck…so do my second and most likely third (you should know…you’ve seen some of them.)
    But the freedom to be sucky, poor, fair, good, great or even “King-like” only comes when we allow ourselves the freedom to write in our voice, style, tempo, blah…blah…blah.
    Who cares if the niche you write in has only one author…YOU…it’s still your writing and your niche. If that ain’t good enough, I guess ignore the above suggestions, attend every conference, class, lecture, coffee house, and poetry reading available, mimic everything you see and check you author-happiness at the door.

    Reply
  4. Carie Sherman

    Great advice. Thanks for your post!

    My best advice is to do whatever you can to lose your ego–on paper and off. For me this involves a lot of yoga and meditation and other stuff I deemed “hippy dippy” years ago. It also involves letting people I trust read what I’ve written. It’s terrifying still–I live in constant fear of being called out for being a total hack–yet, feedback is essential for improvement.

    Reply

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