Top Ten (Non-Essential) Tips for Writers

Changing RoomJane Turley, author of The Changing Room and The Witty Ways of a Wayward Wife blogger shares her advice on writing routines, promoting oneself on writer’s forums, finding your voice and using exclamation marks…!

My Top Ten (Non-Essential) Tips for Writers.

At some point, almost every writer likes to impress with their top tips for other writers. Inevitably, these are a variation of the same stuff which is exceedingly dull – especially as it seems anyone who’s ever written anything at all is now a “writer”. So accordingly, I’d like to give my own writing advice. I think that’s only fair.

  1. Most writers say 

Keep a notebook handy so you can jot down random thoughts that pop into your head in the middle of the night.

I say

Keep a luminous, gaudycoloured notebook handy so you’ve at least a vague chance of spotting it at 3 am. You’ll still need a stroke of luck to find it as, if you’re a typical older writer like me, you probably wake up so disoriented you wouldn’t spot an elephant standing next to the bed or you leap out of it like Usain Bolt, trying to get to the loo before your bladder gives way. In my opinion, the only creative things a writer should do at night are have sex or get drunk – or have sex and get drunk at the same time.

  1. Most writers say

Write every day. Get a routine and stick to it.

I say

Firstly, the routine theory is hogwash. It does not make you a writer. You might as well buy a yellow sticky notepad and stick it on a high visibility area on your desk and write on it “I am a writer” or, alternatively, you could take your laptop down to the local café where you can sigh and moan like an eighteenth-century love-sick poet. You might convince yourself and a few others at the café you’re a writer but the vast majority will know a) you’re a fake and b) you’re a fake and a twat. Secondly, too much of a routine can lead to unforeseen side effects such as synching your writing schedule with your bowel movements. This may or may not be a problem depending on whether or not you have constipation.

  1. Most Writers say:

Read, read, read.

I say

Read, read, read. In fact, read as much as you can except writers’ discussion forums unless you’re writing a YA paranormal romance in which case you should definitely read all the writers’ forums so you can hang out with other YA writers and discuss someone else’s ideas in a really positive, awesome way. Hopefully, you’ll chat so much you’ll stop writing and the bottom will fall out of the YA paranormal market and the rest of us writers can make a collective sigh of relief that the reign of paranormal romance is over. In fact, we’ll probably take to the streets singing:

Give me joy in my heart, keep me praising

Give me joy in my heart, I pray

Give me joy in my heart, keep me praising,

Keep me praising to the end of YA fiction

Sing hosanna, sing hosanna

Sing hosanna to the King of Literary Fiction

Sing hosanna, sing hosanna

Sing hosanna to Mr David Mitchell…

  1. Most writers say

Don’t over-promote yourself in writers’ forums it looks tacky and you will annoy everyone.

I say

Hypocrites.

  1. Most writers say

Develop a thick skin. You’ll need it when the damning critiques and snide reviews come in. Remember you can’t please everyone all of the time.

I say

Forget the thick skin. Just get a sense of humour. Particularly if you’re in the middle of writing a YA paranormal romance. Haven’t you heard? The market is crashing…

  1. Most writers say

Don’t try to emulate other writers. Find your own voice.

I say

Most writers don’t know what their own voice is. However, the very best writers actually hear voices inside their head. Usually, these writers are mad or one-half of a Siamese twin.

  1. Most writers say

Get a professional editor, especially if you’re self-publishing. You don’t want to look a jerk with numerous typos.

I say

I agree. Can I also suggest that if you’re writing a self-published YA paranormal romance you also get a professional ghost writer?

  1. Most writers say

Don’t use exclamation marks or use them sparingly.

I say

Bollocks! If you know when to use them, then use them.

  1. Most writers say:

I don’t review other writers’ books. It’s not wise.

I say

I do review other writers’ books. It’s fun and one day I hope to get paid for it. In the meantime, I would be delighted to receive any free books, especially in the YA paranormal romance genre.

  1. Most writers say

Don’t use clichés.

I say

Don’t use clichés and if you can refrain from writing anally retentive tips for writers please do that as well.

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