* We all suck at writing when we start. All of us. Will Shakespeare probably has a few trunk novels featuring human/werewolf/vampire love triangles.
* The only way to suck less is to keep writing, read more, and LISTEN when people critique you.
* People (especially industry people who get critiqued themselves) generally won’t tear down you or your work for no good reason. As such, consider their recommendations.
* As time goes on, you will be able to separate good criticism from bad. Meaning it will be easier to decide which crits you accept versus ignore. This comes as you wrap your head around your voice, your strengths, your weaknesses.
* Admit that you have weaknesses in your writing.
* Then pledge to overcome them by practicing them more.
* I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: HUMILITY GOES A LONG WAY.
* But also know when to stand your ground. You and your work have worth. Know that worth.
* Querying agents is terrifying.
* Get over your fear.
* Because you can’t get published without getting over your fear.
* Rejection is terrifying.
* Rejection is going to happen. It’s happened to every writer you know.
* Self-publishing shouldn’t be your choice because you fear Big Six rejection.
* Self-publishing should be your choice because you have a vision for your book and you’re willing to accept responsibility for every facet of that book’s success.
* Self-publishing should be hard. If it’s not, you’re doing it wrong.
* No, seriously. Hire a proper cover artist and editor.
* And maybe a publicist.
* Stories come and go all the time. But the only book you can sell to the public is a completed one.
* So stop eyeballing every strumpet idea that comes into your head like it’s the next best thing. What you’re WRITING NOW might be the next best thing.
* Know when to stop editing your own work. Picking at your words can go on forever.
* Letting those words go to a proper beta reader is scary.
* See aforementioned point about getting over your fear.
* Understand that you will wait indefinitely in trad pub.
* Until the shit hits the wall and everything spirals uncontrollably in the fastest whirlwind of your life.
* Expect the unexpected. It will happen.
* Stop comparing yourself to every other writer out there. They’re them. You’re you.
* Embrace your “you being you”ness. It’s what makes your books special.
* Only buy into “your brand” so much. Write what quickens your heart.
* Then finish what quickens your heart. Because again, the only book that’s fit for public consumption is a finished book.
* Treat characters as equals. Unless a character’s headspace is that others aren’t equals.
* What I’m saying is: write women as people with hopes and dreams and thoughts. My gender is not a collection of moist recesses to plunder.
* Rape is a stupid empowerment tool for women protags. Also overused. Think very hard before you include it.
* And by “think very hard” I mean be prepared to write about the traumatic aftermath and how it can forever-change a person.
* Don’t be afraid of diversity in your cast.
* If you’re afraid you’re coming across as privileged white person writing ______ minority, ask someone who has an eye for that stuff.
* Remember if you’re writing for children or teens, you might be the first “conversation” they have about important life issues. Make it a good dialogue.
* In YA, the relationships you portray are relationships to which your reader might aspire. If they’re dysfunctional relationships, make sure you are clear WHY/HOW they’re dysfunctional so kids don’t think that’s how it’s supposed to be.
* Also remember you don’t “owe” your audience anything. But at the same time, without an audience, your book makes a great paperweight.
* You’ve heard the old WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW adage. It’s shit. If we only wrote what we know, there’d be a lot of books about vacuuming.
* And washing the dishes. No one wants to read that.
* So write feelings as you know them, and conversation as you hear it, but be brave with your plots, your scenery.
* Actually, be brave period. You need it in this business.
* The best writing advice you will ever get is not as douchey or as dismissive as you think. Write. Write often. Write hard. Write well. Turn off the TV and write. All authors say it because that’s how we got where we are. By choosing the words over 30 Rock.
And last but not least:
* Know that writing tips are only as valuable as you make them. Keep the ones you like, ignore the ones you don’t. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is the quality of your material.