An amateur sleuth named Bonnie and her kitty companion Clyde, with names like those, what could possibly go wrong? — Burden of Poof (Bonnie & Clyde Mysteries) by @JulieALindseyTweet
Ten Commandments For Writing
by Julie Anne Lindsey
In a profession where there are few hard and fast rules, I find myself giving the same advice to new and aspiring authors time and again. Addressing the same worries, concerns and questions about our sometimes zany, sometimes ruthless industry, is a regular part of my weeks, and I thought it would be fun to share it all at one time, in one place, for you.
If you’re in need of a little advice on writing, publishing or just about anything else in life, this post might be exactly what you’re looking for.
ONE: Write Often
It should go without saying, but if you want to master anything, you have to practice. Perfection comes by learning, and learning comes from doing. So, stretch your creative juices as frequently as possible. And write.
TWO: Read Widely
Good writers begin as big readers. Stephen King says, if you don’t have time to read, then you shouldn’t have time to write. I’m paraphrasing. But really, who are any of us to argue with Stephen King? So, spend time reading the books you want to write. Read in your genre. Read outside your genre. Learn what editors are buying. What publisher are publishing. What readers are reading and why. Then learn from the books, sitting on shelves and at the top of reader’s wish lists, where you want your stories to be.
THREE: Guard Your Time
Writing is a weird profession. People don’t get it. They can’t relate. And they will interrupt you. They will want to talk to you. Call you. Stop by and visit you, or constantly invite you out. You name it. People will see you writing and perceive that you are obviously not doing anything at all. Kind of like when they see you reading a book.
FOUR: Limit Distractions
Piggybacking on the previous point, sometimes the problem isn’t outside interruptions. Sometimes, the problem is You. And the internet makes it OH so easy to drift away, slide down a rabbit hole and completely waste your precious, limited, writing time on things like “research” that started legitimately and ended with watching two hours of funny llama videos on Youtube. So, shut your other internet windows. Don’t even log in, if that’s what it takes. And make the most of your writing time.
FIVE: Celebrate the Wins
I don’t know if this is specific to writing, but I can assure you writers are the absolute WORST at taking time to congratulate themselves for reaching milestones and crushing goals. And if you keep moving your eyes to the next goal, without taking time to soak in the wins, the losses will eventually pull you under.
Have you told folks you’re a writer? Congratulate yourself. Have you started writing? Congratulate yourself. Finished a chapter? Finished a novel?? Give yourself a whoop of joy. Do you know how many people say they are going to write a novel and never do? Or begin and never finish? I can tell you – MOST of them. You’re way ahead of the curve if you’ve already done any of these things.
SIX: Don’t Give Up
Now that you’re a writer who is writing, don’t stop. Don’t let the naysayers get you down. Don’t give up on your dream, no matter how many agent rejections and poor peer reviews you receive. No matter how far ahead your critique partners or writing-group pals seem to be getting, stay focused and don’t quit.
SEVEN: Don’t Compare Your Success to Others
Speaking of those pesky, successful, critique partners or writing-group pals, don’t give in to the urge to compare yourself to them. You are not them. They are not you. Your success will come in your time. Comparing will only make you feel frustrated and want to quit, but I’ve already covered how important it is not to give up, so that option is out. Instead, when it seems as if everyone in your circle is moving on, take my advice from Rule Five and celebrate the win for yourself. You have clearly chosen the right group of individuals to align yourself! You’re getting feedback and encouragement from writers who are getting ahead. It’s only a matter of time before your work is also discovered and you are reaching back to help the next writer along behind you.
EIGHT: Never Read Your Bad Reviews
Here’s some of my most important advice yet, and of these ten, it’s the one NONE of you and no one in history has ever listened to. Don’t read those bad reviews. Don’t. Do not. You will regret it. And you might really, really want to set that mean reviewer straight for their unnecessarily harsh commentary on your sweet book baby.
Here’s the thing. A review is an opinion. You don’t get to tell anyone what kind of an opinion they get to have, or to say their opinion is wrong. You can’t please everyone. So, let it go, and keep scrolling.
NINE: Never EVER Respond to Negativity
Rule number Nine is necessary because no one ever listens to Rule Eight. You went ahead and read the bad review, the scathing blog post, the slanderous tweet, didn’t you? Now, you want to say something, because How. DARE they???
Back up. Walk away. Nothing good has ever, or will ever, come from responding to these things. If the reviewer was especially unfair, they will probably seem to others as if they were having a terrible day. If you respond, YOU will look like a bozo. A fool at best, a bully at worst. Leave it alone. Carry on. You’re an author with a reputation to uphold. A reputation that determines who will want to work with you in the future and who will be willing to read your books. Don’t mess it up.
TEN: Keep Going
Just keep swimming. Even if you’re only making baby steps of progress. Every ounce of effort adds up. A year from now, you can be on your rise to publication, or hitting a best sellers list. OR you can be distracted. Not writing. And worrying about everyone else. Sitting figuratively in the same place you are right now.
Trust me. Keep. Going.
And that’s it! My mostly commonly given advice for writers, and advice I give to plenty of other folks as well.
Thank you so much for popping over here to visit me on my blog tour! I hope you’ll have time to check out a few of the other stops as well. And if you get a chance to read BURDEN OF POOF, book one in my brand new Bonnie & Clyde Mysteries, I hope the story will make you smile 😊
You can download a free prequel to the series and see where it all began in WHEN BONNIE MET CLYDE, available here: https://outbound.julieannelindsey.com/g9UWwY7815kgbDCo
An amateur sleuth named Bonnie and her kitty companion Clyde, with names like those, what could possibly go wrong?
Life hasn’t sparkled too brightly for Bonnie Balfour over the past few years, but a heart-breaking divorce has brought her back to her small rural hometown of Bliss, Georgia, and things are starting to shape up.
The proud new owner of Bless Her Heart—a second chance dress shop and boutique on the town square—Bonnie thinks thirty-eight might not be too late for a fresh start in life after all.
Until a grouchy old widow turns up dead in a pile of donations meant for Bonnie’s shop, and the town’s new detective pins her to the top of his suspect list!
To save her shop, dream and reputation, Bonnie must coordinate clues and stitch together the truth about her innocence, but the unreasonably handsome detective and prying eyes of the local gossip mill are fast fraying her nerves.
When a series of anonymous attacks begin to hem her in, Bonnie fears the real killer is fixing to make her his next victim. Can this amateur sleuth measure up?
Julie Anne Lindsey is an award-winning and bestselling author of mystery and romantic suspense. She’s published more than forty novels since her debut in 2013 and currently writes series as herself, as well as under multiple pen names, for Harlequin, Kensington, Sourcebooks and Crooked Lane Books.
When Julie’s not creating new worlds or fostering the epic love of fictional characters, she can be found in Kent, Ohio, enjoying her blessed Midwestern life. And probably plotting murder with her shamelessly enabling friends. Today she hopes to make someone smile. One day she plans to change the world. Learn more about Julie at julieannelindsey.com
Cozy Queens Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/cozyqueensjulieannelindsey
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