There are a million lists of do’s and don’ts about writing out there, pages of advice and tips on writing for every step of the way in the publishing process. I suspect many out there spend as much time trying out different ways and processes of doing things as they do on getting stories written. There’s a fairly lucrative business out there on how to go about making it in the crazy world of trying to become a published author. Most of the time, it’s one person’s opinion on what has worked well for them or it’s a compilation of best things found out there in the writing world. The thing is, writing is subjective, like all arts. What works for one, is complete failure for another. Other than a few basics, like character, conflict, and good grammer, there are about as many ways to write well as there are writers.
I could create a tip sheet, some bulleted points on what I do as a writer. Some might find it useful, while many would not. No matter what I would put on that list though, no matter how many ways I might organize it, one thing would always top the list. Patience. If you don’t have it, you likely won’t make it in this business. Relative to most activities in our modern world, writing is a sluggish pursuit. It goes against the convenience and “get it now” mindset our culture lives in. There is no quick part to writing, at any step in the process. From development to publication, everything takes an incredible amount of time in publishing. Even in the DIY world of self-publishing, things take time. Accept this fact. Nothing you do can or should be quick.
I’ll be the first to admit that I have issues with patience. Once I get the story fully developed, I want it out on paper right then. Once it’s written, I want to send it off right away. I’ve experienced the firsthand results of this. Dozens of query rejections. Lots of editing and rewriting. Another concept one can always adhere to is, “everything can always be done better.” No matter what you write, it can always be better. In order to do things well, you must have the patience to make them better. Whether it’s plotting, editing, cover creation, blurbing, query letters, and what have you, the simple fact is, you have to be willing to take your time.
One of these days I’ll talk about some of the specific things I do with my writing, but really, I have only one significant piece of advice to writers. Have patience in all things writing. Take the time to learn and get better, because if you put things out there before they are ready or good, readers will notice and you’ll doom yourself before have a chance to get there.