Monday, March 24, 2014

Writing tips: if you show me yours, I'll show you mine….
by Brenda Janowitz

This cycle on the Girlfriends Book Club, we're talking about writing conferences. But, true confession time: I've never been to one! It's not because I don't want to. I think a conference could be a great experience. Hanging out with other writers, meeting agents and editors, what could be bad? But with two small children at home, I just haven't been able to find the time.

I bet there's a lot of you like me out there. So, let's make our own little writers conference.  If I share some of my writing tips, will you share yours?!  I'll go first:



Keep writing! It’s so easy to get discouraged or feel like you don’t have the time to write. But like anything else that is important in life, you have to work at it and make the time for it.



This is the advice I give to every writer I meet.  There will always be excuses to avoid writing-- I have no free time, I have little kids, I have big kids, I don't have kids yet, my job is too demanding, I need to find a job...  you fill in your own.  If writing is really your dream, make the time.  Start with a writing class, and then find a writer's group.  Once you commit to taking the time to write, you'll be able to find the time to put pen to paper.  (Or fingers to keyboard, as the case may be.)



Edit! Editing your work is almost as important as the writing itself. Sure, you’re telling your story, but it’s also important to consider the way that you tell it. You want your writing to be tight, elegant and polished. It can only get to be that way through careful and thorough editing.




Develop a very thick skin. You’re putting yourself out there when you write and not everyone is going to love what you do. But that’s okay! You’re not writing to please everyone out there. You’re writing because you have a story that you want to tell. So start getting used to criticism and then see tip #1—keep writing!



Now, I've told you my best writing tips.  What are some of yours?



I’m the author of SCOT ON THE ROCKS and JACK WITH A TWIST. My third novel, RECIPE FOR A HAPPY LIFE, was published by St. Martin's on July 2, 2013. My fourth novel, THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB, will be published by Polis Books on May 6, 2014.

My work’s also appeared in the New York Post and Publisher’s Weekly. You can find me at brendajanowitz.com or on Twitter at @BrendaJanowitz.





15 comments:

  1. Don't edit as you write your first draft. You'll get a chance to do that when you're done.

    Don't second guess yourselves. Your first idea is usually the right one. If it isn't, you can always edit it.

    Don't force yourself to do what you don't want to. If you're a pantser and hate to outline, don't do it. If you're a plotter, don't make yourself write without a plan.

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    1. Love these pieces of advice!! Perfect, just perfect.

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  2. Terrific post, Brenda! Here's mine: If you think it's done, I promise you, i'ts not! Revision, revision, revision... is really your best friend! And don't feel bad, I'm not much of a conference goer either. In a perfect world... sure. In my real one, that's a tall order!

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    1. Ha- love that one. So very true!! I think the mark of an amateur is a writer who refuses to revise. Seasoned writers know that writing is re-writing.

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  3. Excellent factors. Most divisions provide ride-A-longs. I have had them, always exciting to reveal someone to what I do.blog writing tips

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  4. Great, Brenda. I'd add that trusting your instincts is usually right.

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    1. Thanks, Sheila! Yes, I agree. But that is so hard to do!!

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  5. Nice post, Brenda. Love the virtual conference. I've never been to one either.
    I would say just getting the first draft on the page and not editing as you said is key.

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    1. Yes! It's so hard to get something down. Lately, I've been doing a lot of free writing, and then worrying about the edit later. Important to just do it!!

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  6. Wonderful post, Brenda. As you gather our ideas, I hope you'll do a second post. Here's my tip: join a small critique group of writers. Poets could join with poets, fiction writers with fiction writers, etc. Cross-pollination works too. If you join a group, come prepared to discuss the readings. Mark them up to give the author good guidelines on what to do next. Most important of all: check you ego at the door.

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    1. Thanks, Betsy! That is actually a great idea, since we've gotten such lovely comments here.

      And yes: checking your ego at the door!

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  7. Just the fact that you find time for even writing this blog post with two kids at home amazes me. Mine are grown, so it's me, the husband, three cats and a dog--no excuse for me to be a slug!

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    1. Ha! Yes, Christa, it can get a bit dicey with little ones running underfoot, but I do manage to find a tiny bit of me time each day!!

      Oh, and there's *always* and excuse to be a slug!!

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  8. There are different types of craze in the world like the car drifting, gaming and the other ones. But if you have the level of craziness for the writing tips, then come to this field and learn something about writing. There is also the special place for you will enjoy the physics, which is interesting.

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