Goodreads asked Shirley Alarie:

What’s your advice for aspiring writers?

Shirley Alarie The obvious answer is to "write", because practice hones any skill.

Beyond that, one thing I've learned as a writer is that reading other people's work also helps me to improve my skills. When I first started writing, I read very little because I was intimidated by the caliber of other writer's writing. I didn't want to become discouraged by their excellent prose. I've since discovered that I had the wrong approach. Reading other novels allows me to hone my skill in a different way. Each critique I make as I'm reading either allows me to tweak my writing to incorporate techniques I liked or gives me a little boost of confidence if I believe my writing rivals that particular author.

Lastly, anyone serious about writing as a career should not underestimate the power and necessity of a writing platform. Becoming an author should be viewed as running a business. Even a very good book will not sell without sales and marketing efforts. The best way to ensure sales is to write well and establish a captive audience. Who is your captive audience? People who love your writing. How do you develop that audience? With a lot of hard work and time to show people who you are and convince them your content is worth their precious time.

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