Starting Over

A friend of mine is getting back into writing.  Which means she’s not new at it, but she’s been away from it for so long, she feels like she’s starting over.  I don’t think that’s true.  I think it’s like riding a bicycle.  Once her fingers touch her keyboard, it will all come back.  Maybe in starts and stops, but eventually the words will flow like they once did.

She asked me for advice on how to get her mojo going again, and we talked about all the things that have changed over the years. You can self-publish now.  And even if you sell, you need to learn to market your work.  There’s twitter, Facebook, blogs.  We talked about all of them.  But I finally figured out the most important advice of all.  JUST WRITE.  None of the rest matters if you don’t have a story or novel that’s finished.  And it makes life better if your story or novel fits a genre somewhere.

I’m all about studying your craft, reading books like Scene and Structure by Jack Bickham or the many other experts on the subject.  There are links on twitter to hone your word choice, use stronger verbs, start with a hook, develop characters fully, make settings come to life, etc.  I retweet the best links I see everyday.  There are lots of them.  But there are no words to make powerful if you don’t write them.  And every time you do, you learn more.

So, after explaining to my friend about finding followers on twitter and signing up for BookBub, my best advice was, “What are you going to write first? Get started on it.”

You can debate whether it’s better to be a pantser or a plotter, if you should storyboard or throw 3 x 5 cards with  scene ideas in the air to see where they land, but most sins can be fixed by a good edit and rewrite.  And no matter what you do–as far as I can tell–when you reach the middle of your novel, you’ve reached the black swamp of misery that you have to fight through to the other side.  C.S. Boyack wrote about that on his blog today, and I don’t know a writer who can’t sympathize.

While I’m at it, Staci Troilo wrote a particularly good blog about developing a series, too.  I find a lot of useful writing information on Story Empire.  BUT, as I said before, talking about writing and thinking about writing aren’t writing.  To be a writer, you have to plant fanny in chair and type words on empty pages until those words add up to a story.  And if your first effort doesn’t make you dance around the house and celebrate?  Give yourself credit for making it to the finish line.  And write another story.  You’ll keep getting better at it.  Especially if you study and work at improving WHILE you write.

I hope this has inspired you to hit those keys!  Happy writing!






11 thoughts on “Starting Over

  1. I really appreciate the shout-out, Judi.

    And I think you gave her excellent advice. There are so many things we are told we “have” to do, but the most important—and the only one that’s not negotiable—is writing our story. Wishing her luck as she gets back into the craft.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What a fantastic post, Judi. Sometimes we’re blinded to the forest for the trees. This was a great reminder that nothing matters more than writing itself. I wish your friend all the best. Thanks for the nod to SE—and also for a great pep talk 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the encouragement. I’m a new author and an older woman while I’ve always written, this is the first time I’ve felt brave enough to publish. I’ve got a Romance series with 9 books; we’re publishing the 5th in the next week.
    It’s not as easy as i thought — people are not knocking at the my front door begging to buy my books. I wonder if I’m too late for the epublishing scene?
    yk miyazaki


    1. Not too late, but it IS harder now. There are so many Ebooks, it’s hard to help readers find yours. But it was never easy to write and publish. Since you’re ready to put up book 5, you have more options to market your books. Have you read Lindsay Buroker’s articles on marketing? Some advice hits the mark for me, and some doesn’t, but you can read through them here:
      When you have 5 books, you can plan a campaign about offering the first book in the series for free for 5 days, making the 2nd book 99 cents, and then full price for the other books as you go. Getting a book on BookBub is wonderful, but almost impossible to do. I’ve had luck with the fussylibrarian, but my friend never does well on their site. There are no guarantees, but I try to pay for some kind of advertising when a new book comes out. My friend has luck with eReaderNews. You could do a search of book markets that might interest you. And I try to use a lot of Debbie Macomber’s ideas for launching a book:
      I hope you find a marketing plan that works for you, but you HAVE to market to sell books. Good luck with your romances!


      1. Dear Judy,
        Thanks so much for your thorough and quick response. My husband is my editor/publicist/main support etc and I’ve shown him this link. We’ll both be following up to look at the links you’ve suggested.
        I so appreciate your encouragement. I’ll keep you posted.
        Again, thanks so much for your reply. I am guessing you are just crazy busy! yk miyazaki

        Liked by 1 person

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