- Seek Balance to Maintain Sanity. Okay, this is probably the toughest lesson if you're a writer like me. I am nearly addicted to writing. It's a rush to create worlds and characters--to control their lives and put them through their paces. If I were a politician I might not be a dictator (as I write character-driven stories generally an so believe in a certain undeniable freedom) but I'd definitely be strong arming some folks... But you also need to pull your eyes from the computer screen (or the written page) and actually partake in real life. Which leads us to number 2.
- Be an Active Part of Your Life So You Write More Realistically. We write best when we write what we know. This isn't meant to limit our writing, but to enrich it. You don't have to know werewolves or vampires to write them (thank goodness) but you need to study people. Do it by interacting and observing. Savor the experiences (big and small) of your life and then layer aspects of those experiences into your writing.
- If You Use a Pseudonym, Choose One We Can Pronounce. We Americans don't like to look stupid. We don't like to stumble over words. This is why my pseudonym is being changed (dramatically) on all my books through St. Martin's Press. Perhaps if I was writing in the UK I'd get to keep Saoirse (which means "freedom", btw). But no. Here it seems to be a psychological stumbling block. So *le sigh* I shall be listed under a far different name (which my agent, a group of bloggers, and I are trying to figure out how best to announce and when).
- As a Writer Realize You'll Do Waaay More Than Writing. You must promote yourself and your work. Figure you'll spend between 1-5 hours a week doing promo. Set your Google alerts. Resond to them as soon as you can. Watch for things you can get involved in (I participated in an auction where a winner got to name a horse and rider in book 2 and helped raise money for a good cause). Join a forum or community group or two.
- Keep Writing and Learning. This business is about production, quality, promotion and popularity (not necessarily in that order and like most businesses are). Keep your head in the game in order to stay in the game.
What keys to writing success would you share?
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