Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to write a book. I even wrote in my sixth-grade autobiography that I wanted to be an author. It took me until I turned fifty to make the dream a reality.
I’ve learned many lessons in the past eleven years. Here are five tips I wished I’d known at the beginning of my career.
Tip 1: Find a writing group. Writing groups, whether in-person or online, are a valuable source of information. Share your words, your stories, your soul. Sometimes we get so close to our writing that another person can spot weaknesses in plot or ask questions we hadn’t thought to ask ourselves. Perhaps your state or city has a writer’s group. I live in Utah and joined the League of Utah Writers, and the Just Write Chapter.
Tip 2: Take courses. Learn, learn, learn, and never stop. Reedsy Learning has tons of free courses. Jane Cleland offers a free hour webinar every month. For paid courses, look into Writer’s Digest, Margie Lawson, or Sisters in Crime.
Tip 3: Sign up for emails from authors you admire, agents, writing instructors, and writing blogs. After a few weeks or a few months, you’ll know which providers give you the best information, and the ones you dislike, you can always unsubscribe. My favorites are Jane Friedman, Joan Dempsey, K.M. Weiland, Lisa Hall-Wilson, Mary Carroll Moore, Social Media Examiner, and Writers in the Storm. (Of course the #1 blog is Suite T!)
Tip 4: Attend writer’s conferences. Meet fellow writers. Share your experiences. Ask questions. Don’t think of fellow writers as competitors, but as friends. And never, ever be afraid to talk to the guest speakers. The headliners go to conferences to share their wealth of information, not stand on a pedestal.
Tip 5: Read, read, read. Read stories in your genre. Read stories in other genres. Why do you enjoy certain books and not others? Was it how the story made you feel? Did you love the red herrings and plot twists? Did you stop halfway because the book was boring, or did you stay up all night?
Gold Quill Award-Winning Novel
Nancy Roe is an Award-Winning Author and Professional Formatter. She has self-published seven books and is writing her next mystery due for release this summer. (Butterfly Premonitions. A missing father. A murdered stepmother. A reopened cold case. Can Merli find the truth among the lies, or will the murderer get deadly revenge?)
Nancy served as a panelist at the Killer Nashville International Writer’s Conference, speaking on the subjects of self-publishing, minor characters, and dialogue. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Guppy Chapter, The League of Utah Writers, Just Write Chapter, Writer’s Circle, and Newsletter/Communications Chair of the Newcomers Club of the Greater Park City Area. Nancy is a Midwest farm girl at heart and lives in Utah with her husband and four-legged children, Max and Addison.