So the summer’s over and if you’re a writer, perhaps you didn’t get done what you thought you’d get done. That’s usually how it goes for me in my writing life, as for most of July and August the beach beckons, the gin and tonics run freely, and with a less scheduled life I just get less done. Although I must say, I read much, much more! More queries, more manuscripts, and even more actual books read simply for my own pleasure. But I didn’t really work on any fiction writing this past summer. (See my last post to see why I might even be thinking about this.)
Besides being an agent, I’m also like many of you: an unpublished fiction writer. Yes! Agents can be writers, too! I asked a bevy of authors, some published and some still on their way, “What’s one bit of advice you have for unpublished writers?” Here’s what they said…
Fill your life with other positive-minded writers so you can hang out with folks who “get” you and your dreams. Socialize with them, swap ideas, and encourage each other. If you don’t have a crit group in your area, form one! ~ Marie Lamba
Two words: patience, and grasshopper. ~ Katie Bowden
Write a synopsis, even if the agents you’ll be querying don’t require one at the query stage. As big a bitch as it is to create one, articulating your ms in a page or two will help you see it better, and might inspire necessary revision. Better now than after you get a request.
Take yourself seriously; if you don’t call yourself a writer, no one else will either. ~ Carmella Van Vleet
First piece of advice: Don’t give up. Second piece: Don’t be a jerk. ~ Damien Walters Grintalis
Write because you love to write, or need to write. Because not writing isn’t an option. Write because writing is its own reward, even when it feels like punishment. Writing is the cake. And when you have written the best thing you can write, getting published will be the icing. ~ Ruth Horowitz
Give your Muse flowers and breakfast in bed, regularly. Which is to say, be kind and gentle with yourself–especially during first drafts. ~ Michael Gettel-Gilmartin
Work on something else while you’re waiting on responses from agents and/or editors. A shiny new project is a great distraction. ~ Stephanie Winkelhake
Keep in mind that the publishing race is a marathon, not a sprint.
Learn how the business works. Be professional. See yourself as a professional. Recognize that mastering craft is only one part of the job. ~ Amber J. Keyser
Figure out what will make a manuscript compelling before you write it rather than trying to make it sound compelling after you’ve written it. ~ W.E. Larson
What advice do you have for other writers?