My basic writer’s tool box is filled with books. My go to book for writing inspiration has always been Jane Yolen’s Take Joy; for editing, it’s Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne; for in the trenches and needing humor, it’s Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. Besides writing, you’ll note the common denominator is humor. As writer’s we need that.
To that mix, I’ve added another book, Writes of Passage, Adventures on the Writer’s Journey, Sisters in Crime, edited by Hank Phillippi Ryan 2014. It’s essay collaboration on all stages of writing by writers who know. Each offers advice from the heart with humor and kindness. As I step from stage to stage as an author, each new level requires new skill sets and bravery to face new fears.
The best way to share this from a writer’s perspective is to list some my highlighted quotes. I highly encourage you to purchase this for your own writer’s craft bookshelf. Thank you to all the contributors for excellent advice.
From Hank Phillippi Ryan, “…the one secret of writing: Every single author has felt the way you do. Without question, I can assure you, every single one. …This little book is your weapon against fear, your ammunition against self-doubt, your antidote for gloom. …They say you can only learn from experience. And that may be true. But what they don’t tell you is that it doesn’t have to be your own experience.”
From Catriona McPherson, “…we happily share our daily word count on our Facebook page, but I’ve never seen someone post news of six hours’ good, hard thinking and expect a high five. …That’s where the stories come from.”
From Sandra Parshall on who you are, “You’re a writer. That’s your identity. Don’t let anyone take it away from you.”
From JoAnna Carl & Eve K Sandstrom on research, “People just love to tell you what they know. …Writers, don’t be shy! Ask somebody!”
From Kylie Logan on writing reality, “Wabi-sabi is a Japanese concept. It’s all about the appreciation of imperfection and impermanence. In other words, the acceptance of transience. …I have to remember that a book, at any stage in its writing, is a product that’s growing and changing. In other words, it’s transient. ...when I’m writing—when the creative juices are flowing and the words are tumbling out of my brain and my fingers are racing across the keyboard---it’s okay for my writing to be a little wabi-sabi.”
From Clare O’Donohue on writing spaces, “As a home-office-less writer, I’m pretty much doomed to wander the earth looking for a place to rest my weary PC, so I’ll write anywhere I can find a seat.” But if you do it in public, expect your intent and often discomforting expressions may terrify people in public. Ha!
From Lori Roy on her writing organization skills, “While organization served me well as an accountant, it does me no good as a writer. Instead of papers filed in a three-ring binder, the holes of each page reinforced, my research is piled around my office, stuffed in drawers, jammed in manila folders I won’t be able to find later.”
From Clea Simon on writing, “As a working author, I can attest to one vital truth: There is always time for laundry, and that’s not a bad thing. …That troublesome subplot will find itself resolved somewhere between the cold and hot water loads.”
Proofreading advice from Elaine Viets: “Will you get them all
Not this time. But you will see the last few typos—when your finished novel
From Terry Shames on A Little Help from My Friends, “I was a member
From Leslie Budewitz on above, “What groups do best…is encourage their member and leverage information. Every opportunity and accomplishment I’ve had as a writer started with something I learned from a group. And with SinC and the Guppies, I didn’t even have to put on shoes.”
From Deborah Coonts on talking with other writers, “From Nancy Martin, [an author mentioned by several of the contributors] the wonderful writer of the Blackbird Sisters series, I learned that…writers… are the most accepting, supportive, wonderfully weird group of friends. …Walk into writers’ conferences…knowing that you belong. …Then reach out a hand to a newbie and bring him or her into the clan.”
From Emily Dickinson a quote long known but always helpful, “’Hope’ is that thing with feathers—That perches in the soul—And sings the tune without words—And never stops—at all__
From Kaye George, “The most important thing I learned was that this is not an easy process and it would take time and patience and tons of persistence.”
From Barbara Ross, “The most important character trait a writer can have is not hope. It’s resilience. But how do you get it? You write more.”
From Sharon Wildwind, “Want to add a quick fix to the hope chest? Drink water. Two percent dehydration…impairs decision making and reduces creativity. Sometimes hope is as simple as a glass of water.” And “In the words of Galaxy Quest’s Jason Nesmith, “Never give up. Never surrender.”
From Joelle Charbonneau, “I learned to self-motivate based on love of the craft and the thrill of climbing the storytelling mountain and getting to the other side. …I became an author the day I made the commitment to myself and the story I was telling.”
Sujata Massey offers six effective marketing and promotion ideas that won’t kill ya.
From Cathy Pickens on hitting the wall, “The best artists learn to
shove on through
. And that’s the secret: not dancing around
it, ignoring it, or pretending you can plan enough to avoid it completely, but
pushing on through.”
Patricia Sprinkle offers a personal story on promotion that made me roar out loud! As her husband commented, “We can’t afford too many successful signings.”
Barbara D’Amato shares a hilarious road trip with another other author. They hear a precious story from a married couple at a road side vendor stall. They both get in their car smiling, knowing that they were going to use the conversation in something sometime!
From Luisa Buehler on Writes of Passage, “How different the feeling of knowing you’re moving forward and not muddling through. How defining the moment when you understand the difference, not only in your mind but in your heart.”
From Lucy Burdette and Roberta Isleib’s essay on the difference between hope and success reminded me of a quote I keep taped to my keyboard. It’s from some 15th century manuscript copied from a Great Course on literature. It reads, “Like the light of reason shining upon long cherished illusions.” This piece reminded me to shine that light of reason on my writing so I see reality as well as my dream to make it happen! Remove the illusions and then you can proceed.
Harley Jane Kozak shares how to translate your editor’s revision requests into happy to-do lists that fix the problems. Then “Use fancy fonts and different colors and mount it on beautiful paper, suitable for framing. …After that I filed that horrifying eight-page editorial letter in a box that I locked in a vault that I buried under the floorboards, never to read again. And then I could work.”
From J. A. Hennrikus, “Don’t forget to be happy. … stop
and celebrate every passage
From Deborah J Ledford, “Writing can be a lonely profession, and only your fellow writers know what it takes to commit, pour out your heart, offer your soul to strangers, and hope the reader will accept what you have to offer. …Surround yourself with like-minded, supportive, and creative people.”
Sisters in Crime’s motto is ‘you write alone, but you are never alone.’ Not a bad offer to writers.