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Goodreads asked Neil Shooter:

What’s your advice for aspiring writers?

Neil Shooter There is so much good advice out there for aspiring writers, but not everything works for everyone. I'll tell you what works for me.
I like small achievable goals. Goals that are too big overwhelm me.
I like lists. I like numbers.
What am I talking about?
Every day I log my words, my number of creative words in that day. Not editing, not diary, not blog. Creative words. Story words. Worldbuilding words. I record my daily totals and monthly totals, and sometimes that spurs me on to try to write more on a given day. Last month, for example, was my most productive writing month in 2017, and the fifth most productive since records began (ie November 2015), and also contained the second most productive single day ever, since records began (ditto).
The days of zero are lost days, but water under the bridge. Today is the day to worry about, to focus on, not the failures of yesterday.
What else?
Write every day. Your brain responds to your habits. If you show your brain that you are sitting in your spot waiting for it to provide words every single day, then it will get used to the idea of *giving* you words.
Write the whole thing.
This is why I write by hand whenever I can. It silences, or deters, at least, the editor part of me that wants to go back and fix that little mistake half way up the page. If you edit as you go, all too often you will end up with a marvelous chapter or two, but then lose your way and stumble to a halt. It has happened to me countless times. Instead, mark an asterix at the place that needs work, note in the margin what that work is, even if it is "don't like this!" or "redo!", and then leave it. Continue writing the story.
The way I look at it is this. Editing, the urge to edit, is the desire to make your story better. But how do you know how to make the whole story better when all you have is a few pages or chapters? You can't know the *shape* of the story, as a whole, as an entity, until you have written the whole story through once. The first complete draft is allowed to be sh!t. Some would say it is *supposed* to be. Let it be bad. Just let it exist before you try to make it shiny and sparkly.
Take a notebook, or app, everywhere you go, so that you will never lose another idea. When you are falling asleep and that amazing idea comes to you, GET UP, write it out, because you will NOT remember in the morning.
Plot.
Have some sort of plan for your story. I like a simplified version of the Snowflake method to develop a story. It is a more organized and systematic way of finding the shape of a story before you begin writing it, and a better way of doing what I was already more or less doing.
Make a list of scenes, or key plot points, for each character, and see what the pulse of the story looks like before you even start.
Know where you are going. I have had the end of Circles Of Old clearly in my mind for at least 10 years. To get there, the characters need to go through a lot, and some of that is complex and detailed, and without carefully plotting and keeping track of all those threads, I know I will get hopelessly lost. Because I have. It is exactly what happened to me every time I have tried to write Circles Of Old.
Write short stories. Yes, short stories are very different creatures to novels or novellas. Each kind of story has its own rules, its own feel. But if you write short stories, you have to learn to write concisely, and with depth of meaning. This will enhance all your stories no matter what their length or type. And you will actually probably finish something. Feeling that great satisfaction of accomplishment when you have finished the first draft of *something*, even it is "only" a short story, is priceless.
Finish stuff, and then ignore it for a bit.
When you have just written something, you think it is amazing. But also you are blind to its shortcomings, as well as typos and little errors. Instead, give yourself space from the story, and come back to it weeks or months later, so that when you read it it's with a fresh perspective. You will notice your mistakes, and have a better chance of seeing what needs to be changed to make the story better.
Don't expect too much.
Many writers expect to match the success of the well known greats, but very few writers ever have a bestseller. Not many writers even earn enough from their writing to live off. But is that all that writers want? Writers want to write, more than anything. Sales would be great, but I'll take being able to write every day.
Don't get hung up on feedback, on reviews, on FB likes. Support other writers, but don't expect anyone to support you. No one owes anyone anything. Accept the bad reviews with the same grace as the bad ones: everyone is entitled to their opinion even when it makes your blood boil and you know they are wrong! Never reply to a review, unless it is to simply thank them for it.
Marketing is hard. Don't expect your FB page to lead to sales. Expect it to lead to the occasional interaction with people who might not ever want to read your work. Be nice. Be supportive. And don't post about religion or politics. Ever. I mean it! You will only alienate people with your wacky ideas, and really all you want to be talking about on your author pages has to be related directly to writing.
I could go on. There is a lot of advice out there. These are the things I have learned for myself, and that work for me. I hope they help you too.

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