The Mistress of Pennington's Tour

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Best and Worst Writing Advice I ever received…

Best – “Give yourself permission to write a ‘crappy’ first draft.”

This simple piece of advice changed my entire prospective and output as a novelist.

It’s a huge achievement for anyone to finish a full-length novel…but for some writers this can take years. If you want to give up the day job, pursue your life’s calling or write for the rest of your life, the fact is you have to write as quickly as you possibly can for that to happen and be able to eat and pay your rent/mortgage.

When you’ve beaten the writer’s odds and become a household name, there’s every chance your publisher will be more than happy for you to turn in a 100,000 word novel every year, maybe even every two years. Why? Because the chances are your name alone will give them the return they are looking for.

However, between now and then, you have to work well and hard.

For me, that possibility came with this advice – once I understood and took it onboard, I sat down and planned as much of my novel as I felt I needed in order to write the entire first draft without looking back. The result? My average daily output jumped from 500 words a day to 2,000. Admittedly, I am lucky enough to be a stay-at-home mum and able to write around my children, BUT if your WEEKLY output is 500 words and becomes 2,000, isn’t that a huge difference too?

Of course, there is more work to come when you have to beat your words into shape, but won’t it be easier to alter, delete and improve a page full of words than battling with a first chapter over and over again?

Worst advice – “Give up now…you’ll never be published.” Anonymous contest judge circa 2005

Hmm, I could let this one go by without comment but I will say a few words.

Most importantly, this advice had the exact opposite affect on me than the judge most probably intended.

For some people, this might mean they never pick up a pen or put their fingers to a keyboard again. For me, it made me more determined than ever to prove him/her wrong. It angered me, made me more passionate about my dreams and gave me the boost to carry on.

In 2007 my first novel was published…today, I have sixteen full-length novels published, another due for release in November 2016, another being shopped out by my agent and quarter way through novel number twenty.

I write romantic suspense and mainstream romance for Harlequin Superromance and Victorian romance for eKensington, two of the biggest romance publishers in the US.

Bad advice? Yes. A great motivator? Absolutely!

Write on!

Rachel x

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