My Learning Curve

ACFW Advice, Authors and writing, Encouragement, Friends of ACFW, tips, writing Leave a Comment

by Maggie Brendan

As I embark on my seventh book in five years, The Arrangement, book one, in yet another new series, Virtues and Vices of the Old West, I look back on those brief years on what I’ve learned about the crazy world of being an author and thankfully, it’s way more than I can share in this brief post. But I can share a few tips that might help you on your journey.

1. Focus on what God has called you to write and don’t compare yourself to fellow authors. This is hard because we are constantly seeing if we measure up to the same standards as our fellow authors.

2. Set writing goals that are realistic for you. Some authors need a year to write one novel, others can handle two or three. Only you know what your word count needs to be each week.

3. When you complete your manuscript, set it aside for a few days then read through the entire thing. You’ll be surprised at what you thought was the perfect novel is actually in need of improvement.

4. Don’t be afraid to cut what you consider your favorite scene. Don’t be resistant to do so. If it doesn’t move the plot forward. Let-it-go. We authors tend to believe every word we’ve written is scared. Learn to let go and move on to make the story move forward.

5. DON’T edit your final work before you submit your manuscript. You need another set of eyes reading because you already know what you think you wrote. Sometimes this doesn’t translate from our brain to the document.

6. This goes for criticism too. I’m the world’s worst for remembering the bad reviews instead of the ones that give my novels high praise and inspire me to keep writing. We are simply not going to please everyone. Don’t let their negativism drag you down and keep you from doing what you love most-writing.

7. Listen to your agent and editor and absorb everything they tell you. They really do work hard for their money and only want to make your novel the very best it can be. This is beneficial to both parties. They are working with you not against you. Most editors are over-worked and underpaid.

8. Support other writers in as many ways as you can. This is good networking and you’ll form some great friendships and a connection and communication that only other writers can understand.

9. Don’t forget to support your local bookstore-what’s left of them-and your local library.

10. Use social media to promote your books-blog, website, interviews, and make sure you create an author page on Facebook. Readers love to connect with authors. Utilize Twitter too. Recently I joined Pinterest so I’ll have to see where that leads.

11. Read to improve your own writing skills when time allows.

12. Your health is vitally important and since writers sit so much, don’t neglect it. Get outside when possible and enjoy a refreshing break. Some of my best story ideas have come from my daily walks.

Happy Writing!

Maggie BrendanMaggie Brendan is a CBA bestselling author, twice nominated for the RITA Award, finalist for IRCA Award, and Heart of Excellence. She is a member of the ACFW, Author’s Guild, RWA, FHL and GRW. Her series include Heart of the West, The Blue Willow Brides, and Virtues and Vices of the Old West.

Comments 0

  1. Fabulous list! Thanks for sharing. I have one question – in #5 you say:
    5. DON?T edit your final work before you submit your manuscript.

    Submit to whom? Are you referring to a critique group, beta reader, agent, or editor?

  2. Rebecca Hi. Thanks for dropping in. Your questions about #5: By that I mean that your FINAL edits before you hit send to submit to a publisher or your editor, your MS MUST be read by someone else! I edit all the time, but when you think it’s as clean a copy that you can make it, either hire someone to edit it or have your critique partner read it for errors. (hopefully, your crit bud has caught things as you go along). They will find typos, or have a question or two. Trust me on this. That’s what I mean by final copy-clean copy. 🙂

    Happy Writing.

  3. Sherri, that’s part of the ‘Learning Curve’, isn’t it? Most of this I’ve learned as I wrote and got more experience.

    Guess what? I’m still learning everyday!

    Don’t give up and keep at it! 🙂

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