Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Write for yourself

Recently I've gotten quite a few emails asking about my writing journey. Yes, I'm in the querying process. Yes, it's slow. Nothing in the writing world is easily done or everyone would be doing it.

We cope the only way we know how, through copious amounts of caffeine and sweets. We also ask friends for help and confidence when we're done. But most of all, we write.

The first book I read regarding writing was Stephen King's. He's a brilliant writer and quite the eye opener when you're finished with his novel. It taught me quite a few things, most of all, was the fact that he loved writing.

"First we write for ourselves, then we write for others."

That spoke to me. I still use it to this day when I feel the going gets tough. When I first get an idea I put it in a pile. I should honestly have a little tin next to my bedside table so when I have an idea it's written immediately. For now it's on a post-it or in a new notebook. I'll read through them every once in awhile and start an outline. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. However, when I start writing, it's all about what I'd want to read. After all, if I don't want to read my own work, who else will?

So if I were to leave anyone with a piece of writing advice, it'd be to always keep writing. Eventually you'll find something worth finishing.

What keeps you going? What's your favorite piece of writing advice?

32 comments:

Renae said...

I love Stephen King's book! Great writing tips! I'm with you on the fact that you have to first love what you are writing. It really does come through in your work. I try to remind myself of this when I get stuck or down in the dumps!

Good luck with the querying!

Clarissa Draper said...

I haven't read or heard that Stephen King quote before but it's wonderful. I'm going to keep that in mind when I write.

Joanne said...

When we write what's in our hearts, it always shines through in our words :)

Shannon said...

Great book. :) I'd also recommend Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. My favorite piece of advice is her:

Write one inch at a time.

<3

Matthew MacNish said...

What keeps me going is writing the stories I want to read, because no one else is writing them.

Hannah Kincade said...

My favorite piece of writing advice comes from Robert Frost...which could be used as just advice for anything, but I choose to make it about writing. ;)

"The only way out is through."

Simple and effective.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Stephen King's ON WRITING is full of so much good advice--it's one of my very favorites. My favorite piece of writing advice is that 95% of books are not accepted by publishers because they don't buy books that are sitting at home on shelves or hidden away in drawers.

Julianna said...

Writing has gotten me through so many dark periods in my life. It truly has been a best friend at times. My journal could take all of the emotional garbage that I didn't want to dump on others. "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron was one of my favorites. :) These hard times will make you a better writer, if you let it.

Ziwei said...

That's a wonderful quote, gotta keep that in mind! Does anyone know what that Stephen King book is called?

My lecturer told me to "keep on writing and don't look back", because I tend to edit while writing, so I get no work done.

J. A. Bennett said...

I so agree, if we are only thinking abut what everyone else wants we will be never be published. Because the fact of the matter is you can't please everyone. Great advice!

Tiffany Garner said...

I love that quote. Initially, I wasn't going to even think about getting published. I didn't think my stories were good enough. They were just for fun. I try to remind myself why I started writing when I get caught up int eh stress of querying--it had nothing to do with the publishing world, and everything to do with freeing my imagination.

Sarah Pearson said...

Honestly? I don't know how to write for anyone BUT me. Hopefully, there are a few people like me out there that read :-)

Angela Brown said...

I can't remember who or where I heard this, only that it left an impact on me. This is something about writing or anything that you love:

When you wake up in the morning and it's the first thing you think about, then you should do it. When you're in the middle of your day and all you want is to rush back to the computer, the pen and pad, the canvas and oils or whatever, then you should do it. If you can't go to sleep because a line, a paragraph or a story won't leave you be or a picture won't leave your head, then get it out. That's knowing and doing what you love.

Lenny Lee* said...

hi miss jen! wow! for sure you got lots of good advice on that post. for me i just write cause i love it and i keep doing it cause i love it. so im thinking for my best advice its write cause you love writing.
...hugs from lenny

Janet Johnson said...

Totally agree! I write what I wish I could find in the bookstore. This whole writing thing is so hard that if I didn't enjoy what I was doing, I would have abandoned a long time ago.

Nicole Zoltack said...

I love that quote too! And it's so important to be well read in your genre.

Amy Saia said...

This is a wonderful post for writers. Thanks for the inspiration!

My Meddling Mind said...

Recently, I had wrote a few post's mainly for myself, and although I have not received much feed back, they have been very rewarding to me.

Madison

CNHolmberg said...

Honestly, my best writing advice is more or less what you just said. I remember someone at a convention telling us that if we've finished a book, we're already ahead of 95% of writers--there are so many people who want to publish, but haven't finished a book.

Daily word count. I never got anything done until I stuck to one.

Susan Oloier said...

I have not read Stephen King's book on writing yet *hide face in shame*, and I have been writing for at least 15 years. Yikes!
I have yet to have a book published since I started novel writing nine years ago, so I find your advice to be so true: a write for myself--always something I want to read.
Thanks for the inspiration!

Bish Denham said...

One of my favorite bits of advice is from Jack London. "You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club."

Connie Keller said...

I love the London quote. I have it on my computer desktop; it helps me put my butt in the chair even when I don't want to. Inertia is one of my biggest stumbling blocks.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

With my first book, I was definitely writing for myself.
Best advice - never give up, never surrender!

elizabethreinhardt said...

I saw Nora Roberts speak once (she's freaking amazing and scary, in the best way) and she says that she doesn't believe in writer's block. Doesn't believe in it, doesn't stand for it. She sits and writes six hours a day every day of the week. And look at her track record! So she scared me into not being a whiner about writer's block. Because I am honestly scared she'll come and hunt me down if I miss my page count!

Jennifer Hillier said...

That SK quote really resonates - I should tattoo it on my wrist so I never forget it. I had stopped writing for myself this past summer, and it was not fun. Back on track now, though. :)

Sara Szatmary said...

I do a very different sort of writing (copy writing) so maybe this doesn't apply; however, my favorite quote is:

A writer's project is never done, it's only due.

McKenzie McCann said...

Wow. I've read a lot of blog entries talking about the same advice, but this is one of the best I've come across.

Melodie Wright said...

I can't boil it down to just one piece of advice. How about three?
Write what you know.
Avoid adverbs and passive voice.
Read! All the time!!!

Caitlin said...

When I write I think I do a fairly good job of writing for myself and only myself, but it's afterwards that always gets me. Is there an editing for yourself rule? Haha.

Jemi Fraser said...

Just keep writing is the best piece of advice ever. :)

Michelle Merrill said...

Great advice Jen! There are definitely some great books on how to write. But if we don't keep writing, then we won't get better. Oh, and reading helps too. Best kind of research!

Another piece of my favorite advice is to not compare yourself to others. Which is also one of the HARDEST things to do in the writing world. I have friends that pop out books left and right and I haven't had the brain power to do that lately. So I get jealous. But I do what I can, and that's all I can do :)

LynNerd said...

I have to agree with you about the caffeine and sweets!
You're right about having to like your own story, since we read it over and over to revise and proof for typos, etc. before it goes to print. Yes, I also write for myself. It makes it fun, for sure. Cool post.