Kicking Off the Year With Writing Advice From Authors

I’ve interviewed authors for this blog for the past few years. One question I ask is: What advice do you have for aspiring authors? I collected all the answers in this post.

Since it’s the beginning of a new day, a new month, a new year, and a new decade, I thought I’d do round two of writing advice from authors I’ve interviewed since the first round.

Here’s their advice:

“If you can, get objective evaluation from someone who knows what they’re doing. Most family or friends love you too much to supply the objectivity that you really need. Also, get out and meet other writers and folks in the publishing industry.” – Pat Paxton, author of Camelot’s Misplaced Son.

“Write across the board, but write for publication, regardless of what type. It’s great to write for yourself because that certainly nurtures self-discovery and awareness, but writing for readers is the real litmus test for a writer.” –Robb Hoff, author of Serpent Egg Rapture.

“Read. Read. Read. Keep reading the work of others and share your thoughts with them (if they’re reachable). You want people to read your work, right? Then you should be reading theirs. Pick up some bestsellers, too. Study books like your own, but don’t be afraid to venture out of your genre comfort zone—you never know what you’ll find. Consume as much as you can, but be sure to balance your time so that you can . . .

“Keep writing. You’re not going to be an expert right away, and that’s fine. I’m sure as hell not an expert. But you have time to develop your skills. You have time to hone your craft. You’re not alone. There are so many resources out there to assist you, and there are so many other authors that are willing to help. We’re all in this together, my friends. Don’t be afraid to reach out for some advice.” – N. J. Zeiter, author of Headless.

“This question always throws me because I feel I still fall into the ‘aspiring writer’ category. We’re all aspiring writers, we’re just in different places along the journey. But I have a few pieces of advice that have helped me:

“First, learn everything you can about writing—attend conferences and workshops, share your drafts with other writers, do the work. And most importantly, write a lot.

“Second, read a lot.

“Third, believe in yourself. No two writers follow the same blueprint, and every writer has a different approach. When you believe in your style and voice, you free yourself to write what’s in your heart and soul, YOUR way, whatever that is. And only you can tell that story in your head.

“Fourth, let it all out. Your words construct images and emotions in someone else’s head that never existed before, and that’s an amazing thing. But you’re also letting strangers wander around in the rooms of your mind where your darkest thoughts reside. It takes a lot of courage to open yourself up, but don’t hold back. Let them see it all.

“Finally, prepare for a lot of rejections. I read an interesting quote from an author who said he judges his success by the number of rejections he gets. Getting rejected means you are putting your work out there fearlessly, and the more do, the greater your chances of success. Opening yourself up to one more rejection is usually the difference between an unpublished and published author. – Stephen Paul Sayers, author of A Taker of Morrows.

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