One Mountain is the first of my new series, Goddesses Anonymous, and one of the more difficult novels I’ve written. You would think, wouldn’t you, that after seventy books, I should be able to dash off a novel between pedicures and trips to the art museum? Truth is, I don’t have time for either, because I’m still too busy trying to figure out how I should really do what I’m already doing.
Yes, indeed. Writing really hasn’t gotten much easier over the years, sad to say. I have learned some things, though, and today I’m sharing. While these 7 points qualify as career advice for novelists, it’s possible they pertain to other careers, too. What do you think?
Forget that old chestnut, “write what you know.” If you only write what you know, you’ll quickly run out of things to say, and you’ll think you’re all washed up. Instead write about the things that interest you. Research is a joy, and the Internet’s made it so much easier. Digging for details is as much fun as digging for buried treasure, and you’ll be more likely to strike gold.
While you may change genres, essentially every book you write is “your” book, filled with your own insights and feelings, whether the characters inhabit caves or space ships. Do you know what messages you’re sending? It’s a way to chart your own personal growth, if you’re willing.
Find writer friends, because at times they will be the only people on earth who understand why you spent an entire day staring out the window–except for the stretches when you played Spider Solitaire and whimpered.
Do not expect film deals, bestseller lists, starred reviews, publishers who fawn over you, or recognition at the grocery store. That way, in the unlikely instance that any of those things happen, you will be genuinely surprised, and you won’t have to fake modesty.
Be willing to make changes in what you write, who you write it for, and the people who sell or market your work. Remember #2 above. Every book is yours. Nobody else’s name is on the cover.
Listen, contemplate and forgive mistakes that others who work on your books may make. But also pay attention and make sure the same things don’t happen again. See #5 if they do.
Readers are special and precious. Find ways to let them know.
In keeping with #7, let me stress it’s a privilege to get emails from you, to banter with you at my Facebook page, to answer comments left here on the blog, and to know that my books have meaning in your lives, even if, sometimes, that’s just a smile. A smile is a wonderful thing, and I’m grateful for every one.
I think you’ll find smiles and tears between the covers of One Mountain Away. You’ll find the book in the following places, if you can’t find it at your local independent bookstore.
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