Monday, April 28, 2014

Good Advice

 The winner of my gently-used ARC of What the Moon Said is:
Woot! Email your mailing address to barbarawatson94(at)gmail(dot)com.

And now, today's post . . .

Advice isn't hard to find, but good advice can be. Many people offer opinions disguised as advice, and we have to sift through the opinions and separate out what is advice, and then, out of that, figure out what's good advice. And even if it's good advice, we further decide whether or not the advice applies to us and if we're going to follow it. It's quite a process really.

Mix in the fact that for writers, you get loads of writerly advice, and phew! It's exhausting to even type words on a page because sometimes all that advice holds the words in more than it frees them. So for me, this is true: I know writers each have their own way of doing things. And most of those ways are neither right or wrong, they're just different, and different things work differently for different people. What totally clicks for you, clunks for me. You get the picture.

So now, after having said all that, here's a quote attributed to Terry Pratchett. And I suppose it's another of those writing advice nuggets, but for me, it's made all the difference.


What have you heard that's made all the difference? And it doesn't have to apply to writing.

19 comments:

  1. That's so true about advice. Like, in regards to my art, I've definitely gotten advice in the past that has helped, but others were very clearly opinions that just wouldn't work with my style. It's very important to learn that difference!

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  2. Yay! Thank you so much! =) A quote that I really like about first draft writing is from Shannon Hale(Terry's is a great one too): I'm writing a first draft and reminding myself that I'm simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.

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  3. It's so true about advice, both in the world and in the writing world. We have to think about it and decide what works for us.

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  4. I've surely been guilty of letting too much advice muddle my brain. It can be exhausting. I've learned to digest the advice and then step away for a day or two. After that, I can return and sort through it with less emotion.

    Sheri at Writer's Alley

    Home of Rebel Writer CREED 2014
    Mighty Minion Bureau Team #atozchallenge

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  5. I've often thought that about the first draft! It's where I find out about my characters, too, and what they are really like and their personalities (I don't make detailed character charts before I begin writing).

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  6. I LOVE that quote from Pratchett! It just might help keep me inspired during revisions, which is my least favorite thing to do.

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  7. A piece of advice that's helped me pertains to social media--do those things you really enjoy and don't pressure yourself to do more than you can handle at the moment. I enjoy blogging, so I do that, but pinterest and twitter? They sound like fun but I can't seem to find the time to get started...so I don't worry about it :-)

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  8. A lovely way to describe that first draft! I'm keeping this advice.

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  9. I love this quote! I'm not sure if this is a quote or not, but one of the most helpful things to me has been--you need to find your own process, and it may be different for every book. I spent a lot of time listening to other people's writing rules, but then I realized that it was okay to ignore them if they didn't work for me. That was really freeing.

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  10. Great quote! Hadn't heard that before, but it's so true.

    I always say go with your gut and do what works for you. Listening to too much advice freezes my brain. But I do like what Anne Lamott says in Bird by Bird about first drafts, which I can only paraphrase here as: all writers write lousy first drafts. She also says it this way: "Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts."

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  11. The key to happiness is trusting in God's perfect timing for your life :-)

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  12. I love that quote! I'm actually reading Terry Pratchett right now (well, just started). And it's so true about the advice/opinion blur. One in a while when I feel motivated to share some advice I try to couch it as "what I've learning" rather than "this is my expert opinion!" NOT!

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  13. I've heard so many good things, but while reading this I kept thinking about my early critiquing experiences. I would give my opinions on things that should be changed, but couldn't explain why, and therefore, my opinions were just that. As a much more weathered/experienced author, I've learned that critiquing is ineffective if you can't pinpoint what it is that bothers you about a passage. If you can identify the principle behind your suggestion and instead of giving an opinion, pointing out the rule and why you might want to change something, then you have become a wonderful critiquer, helping a writer to get to the heart of the matter. Yeah...so back on topic...

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  14. There's tons of good quotes and excellent advice, but I keep coming back to the one about building our castles in the air, and then building the foundations under them. :)

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  15. I love this quote. It's so true. I give myself permission to tell and to tell the story in the first draft. And then the magic happens when I start editing.

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  16. That is a great bit of advice. I've heard it before, but I always need reminders ;) Thanks for posting this, Barbara.

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  17. Congrats to Leandra! Yes, advice is good, but it usually helps to say something like, "What I did was..." or "I found that..." because most of the time we can only speak out of our own experience.

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  18. Congrats to Leandra!

    That Terry Pratchett quote has to be one of my favourite bits of advice. Jessica Bell once said learn the rules and then break them intelligently and that also rings true for me. It's important to know the rules of fiction but it's just as important to experiment.

    <3

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  19. What great advice! I love to read and receive advice from other authors. One of the best bits I have heard is to take a break after finishing the first draft. It helps rejuvenate me and I can see my book with clear eyes after a break. It is amazing what that time away can do!
    ~Jess

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