Goodreads asked Laura McBride:

What’s your advice for aspiring writers?

Laura McBride I don't feel particularly qualified to answer this question, but from my own experience, here is what worked:

1) Prepare for the writing experience. A novel is a very large project. It is discouraging to start a project and then to abandon it, so for me, it was very helpful to think out the whole project in advance. What time would I dedicate to it, how much time would it take, what might interrupt that schedule, how could I give myself the best shot of being successful in that plan? Of course, life throws up surprises - and mine did too - but having thought the whole process out helped get me through those.

2) Form writing habits. Talk about them with others. Stick to them. Writing does not always go well, and you cannot rely on "being in the mood." Some writers set minimum word limits, others set time periods. I have done both, and they both work fine for me. I do not worry about whether the writing I am doing in a set period of time is good or bad. I just do it. Faithfully. Diligently.

3) Be kind to yourself. If I meet the goal I set for myself (a certain number of words, a certain length of time) then I pat myself on the back and smile broadly, and think: "Good job, Laura." I never think about whether the writing was good or bad after I finish it. I concentrate on congratulating myself for doing it. There's plenty of time to evaluate, revise, and edit later.

4) If you don't love it, if writing makes you mad, if it turns you into a grump about the state of the world and publishing and the problems in the system, consider a writing break. It's okay to just live life, just to be, and trust that when the urge to communicate with others is strong enough, you will go back to it.

About Goodreads Q&A

Ask and answer questions about books!

You can pose questions to the Goodreads community with Reader Q&A, or ask your favorite author a question with Ask the Author.

See Featured Authors Answering Questions

Learn more