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Unsolicited Advice

Jessie: Delighted to be at the seaside in Maine.

This summer, I am finishing my fifth novel. Fifth. Five actual novels. Every now and again that thought moves to the front of my mind and I stop dead in my tracks. A wave of astonished disbelief washes over me which is quickly followed by a fit of joyful giddiness. It seems like the shine ought to rub off the apple at some point but so far, it hasn’t. If anything ,that gleam just gets brighter with every book.

I’ve been asking myself lately why that might be and it has occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, it’s because I learn something new during the creation of each and every one. It’s sort of like parenting in that respect. Just like each new child in the family brings quirks and strengths and desires, so does each story.

Writers, like parents, love to share advice and tips from the trenches. Even if the advice is unsolicited. Here, in no particular order, are a few of the things I’ve learned along the way:

-Start working even when you don’t feel like it.The words will rise up to meet you.

-All you have of unique value to bring to your writing is yourself. Try not to worry that you aren’t something or someone else.

-Your writing is not as bad as you fear. It will probably never be as good as you’d like.

-Treat yourself to pens and notebooks you feel are a joy to use.

-Deadlines are your friends. Without them you will sink into the dreaded swamp of someday.

-Writing is work. Schedule time for it like you would anything else that is important. Stick to it.

-Typing is not considered exercise. Get up and move sometimes. Trips to the fridge don’t count.

-Be grateful for all your experiences, even the ugly ones. They create your particular lens on the world.

-You will always feel better at the end of the day if some of it has been spent writing.

Readers, do you have any words of wisdom to share from your own walk of life? Other writers, any tips of your own to apply to the craft?

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