Are You An Aspiring Writer? Get Tips from Our Very Own Authors!
by Karen Green
Jack London famously said that, as a writer, “You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.” Well, that must have been some club, as London published one novel roughly every six months, plus countless stories and articles during the very prolific working years of his short life.
But London was right—if you want to be a writer, you have to write or it doesn’t get done. That’s about the long and short of it, though there are many subtleties to the art of writing that go beyond chasing inspiration.
Our writers are some of the most prolific out there, so take a look at the advice they have to give, whether you are just thinking about writing or need a little motivation to keep going.
Margaret Daley, who has written more than 90(!) books, including the forthcoming Texas Baby Pursuit, knows the value of a good night’s sleep:
When people ask me where my ideas come from, I really don’t have an easy answer for them. They are just there often after I have slept on it.
Bestselling author Karen Harper follows the advice that she got from master storyteller P.D. James:
I always begin planning my stories with a place that intrigues me but I know I’m in the minority; most authors I’ve talked to take one of the other two routes to their stories. It gave me a big boost to know she conceived of a new story the same way I did. She told me, ‘If the place seems real to the reader, everything else should too.’
On the workplace setting:
Although Virginia Woolf advocated for a room of one’s own, a lack of dedicated space shouldn’t hinder a writer’s output. Sherryl Woods says this about where she writes:
Because I live in two different locations, my “spot” is little more than wherever my computer lands.
Some people need complete silence to write, but for some authors, like Maisey Yates, who returns to Gold Valley with Mail Order Cowboy, music adds the exact right ambience to set the book’s tone. She says:
Music is an integral part of my creative process—it’s up there among other greats, such as Pinterest, coffee and Diet Coke. Song selection is huge for me. Often the right lyric will unlock important info about my character.
Author Karen Kirst thinks it’s important to have the right tools at hand:
I keep a calendar near my desk to keep track of how many pages I write each day and a spiral notebook for quick notes about the story.
On getting it done:
Denise Hunter says to follow these three very practical rules:
Read a lot and analyze the writing/plot/story structure.
Set a daily word count goal and stick to it.
Write the book you want to read.
Emma Miller, who has written many books for Harlequin, including her latest, A Man for Honor, offers this advice about your book’s structure:
No matter how experienced of a writer you are, it’s important to sketch out the plotline before you begin writing the book. This may be in the form of a synopsis, a storyboard or a pile of index cards. How you do it doesn’t matter; what matters is that you see the entire structure of the plot before you start the book.
And finally, from Rachel Stewart, author of an upcoming Dare title, some words to keep you going:
Don’t live in fear of rejection, don’t let your internal voice beat you down and stop you from putting words to paper. Only you have the power to make your dream a reality, so go for it!
Are you an aspiring or experienced writer? What’s your best writing advice? Let us know in the comments!