04 May 2010

Some (More or Less) Helpful Advice for Writers

Status: Worn Out - I think that this week may have already lasted about a month.

On Tv: The Maury Show - I'm no genius but I'm betting it's going to be about someone who doesn't know who her baby's daddy is.

It seems that there's been a lot of discussion around the writerly interwebs lately about our "on-line presence" as writers. How we should brand ourselves, how we should present ourselves and whether we should post about our writing or discuss the publishing business. ACK!!!! 

At first? I'll be honest, I blew it off. I was all "I'm like Popeye!" I am who I am, right? Or am I? After reading one too many articles I started to worry about what I was saying and how I was presenting myself. Suddenly I was afraid that I was coming across too...angry (road rage) or judgemental (weird neighbors) and just plain old self centered and intolerant (Dealing with the public).

Suddenly it was like I was back in high school worried about wearing the wrong clothes (which I totally did - we were poor, my clothes were K-Mart hand me downs)* or sitting at the wrong table at lunch (the cool kids don't want to sit next to the poor, K-Mart hand me down wearing nerd). I would start a blog post and delete it just as quickly because I was certain I wouldn't be presenting my writer self in the best light.

Then, today I read another "top ten tips for authors" article - this time giving advice for television interviews and public appearances. One of the first things on the list? The tv adds pounds so dress to hide yours. The article also went on to say that it wouldn't be out of line to consider minor cosmetic procedures like botox or collagen injections. Seriously? WTF? BOTOX????

It was then that I realized just how crazy some of this advice really is. Sure, some of it is great. Some of it is great for some writers. However. Some of it? Is.total.crapola. So, I came up with my own list of helpful advice for authors (aspiring or otherwise).

1.) Write the way you want to write. Plan, outline or just fly by the seat of your pants. Edit as you go, or edit at the end. Whatever works for you because writing is an art and art is in the journey and the beauty of the art is appreciated differently by different people. That's okay!

2.) Be who you are...whatever that means. For me it means that sometimes I'm cranky, intolerant and just plain in a bad mood. It also means that sometimes I'm kind, compassionate, caring and empathetic. If someone chooses to judge me based on one or two blog posts? There's nothing I can do about that but I'd rather have someone dislike me for who I am than like me for who I'm pretending to be.

3.) Don't worry so much about what people think of the way you look. I'm fat and no amount of clothing is going to hide that. I've also got gray hair, laugh lines, and vampire pale skin. But you know what? That's okay because it's part of who I am. If I want to lose weight, cover my gray or get botox because I think it will make me feel better about myself? Then fine. But I'm not going to do it to impress someone who more than likely doesn't care about how I look anyway. Seriously...when was the last time you looked at an author interview and thought "gee, I'd love to read her books but she's just too fat and wrinkly to possibly write good fiction."

Remember, chances are you're not perfect but there is every chance that you are perfectly and uniquely you!

4.) Finally, some advice specifically for women: Buy.a.tiara. Seriously. Because writer girls in tiaras just rock!

So, there you have it...my very best writerly advice. Take it for what it's worth, throw out the rest and, as I've said before, embrace your inner awesome!

* The hand me downs? Were often from my grandmother. If you think wearing your grandmother's hand me down K-Mart clothes doesn't make you the most popular girl in school then you just didn't know what you were missing!



  1. This list is brilliant! And I think I might take #4 to heart. Your avatar looks so cool and I've been jealous for a while now.... :~)

  2. Thanks Mia! :) Most writers have a signed book contest when they hit a certain amount of followers. I think I might have to have a tiara contest. :)

  3. I totally agree to be yourself. I've struggled with that too. But if I was some big famous author, I'd still want to blog about funny things that happen, or vent about something silly and have my readers know who I really am:)

  4. I'd enter your tiara contest. Thanks for the pick-me-up. You can get swallowed in by the do's and dont's because there are so many people who think their way is right. Be yourself...I'd listen to that any day.

  5. If you change one iota of who you are for anyone except yourself, I'll just go right off the deep end. Who else can I count on to work on the Writing Wenches of Twitter with me? You are wonderful just as you are: funny, even when you're venting about a bad day, and the world would be dimmer without you running around in your tiara. When you have a tiara contest - I am SOOOO in. The only question I have is when are you getting your pig? Then it will be off to the range to shake your finger in the face(s) of the police for being too loud while you're trying to tame the WIP.

  6. Lisa: See, I'm the same exact way. I'd rather have my readers know the 'real' me - frustrations, weird humor and all.

    Maxie: I'm totally doing the tiara contest - I'll just have to decide for what. Most folks wait for a 100 stalkers, eh, I mean followers but I'm quite a way from that so maybe something else...hmmmm...

    LK: LMAO! Your response prompted a conversation w/ the hubs.

    Me: We need to get a pig.
    Him: Oookkkaaaayyy....why? You don't like bacon.
    Me: Remember the other day when I was annoyed w/ the police at the firing range?
    Him: Yes?
    Me: well, it's necessary that I have a pig in a tutu when I don my tiara and march over there to tell them to knock it off!
    Him: *deep sigh* Of course it is honey.

    I strongly suspect he has the local mental insitution in speed dial. :)

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