“It is obvious that we can no more explain a passion to a person who has never experienced it than we can explain light to the blind.” ~ T.S. Eliot
Believe it or not, I’ve never really asked for writing advice. Mostly, I suppose, because it was what I did. Because it is what I do. My passion, is writing. Storytelling, to be exact. When I was in the fourth grade I wrote a book. In high school I challenged the AP boards to let me write an essay about a book of my choosing rather than from the list provided. In college I wrote a flamboyant piece on Maynard Keynes for my economics professor. He didn’t like it, but I thought it rather imaginative. And in the “real world,” I was constantly writing and rewriting my company’s policies on just about everything (and no, that wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing from 9-5).
Even so, whether I asked or not, I was still given lots of writing advice over the years—comparable, if you will, to the advice a first time mother gets … some good, some bad, some ridiculous, most well-intended but most over-looked because you are, after all, a first time mom.
BUT, I can tell you that the best writing advice I was ever given was simply, to write and to ask. Reread that. Write. And ask.
There a number of different writing styles out there … some people ponder over word choice for hours upon end; some edit every chapter or particular sets of pages at a time; some take years to write a book, others days … Me, generally I write the bulk of my project pretty quickly because, like the advice I was given years ago, when I want to write … I write. I flow. I let my mind work the pages and worry about word choice and editing later. As for the asking part, it’s this simple:
The answer is always no unless you ask. If you are an aspiring writer, you will notice that many editors, agents, writers, and publishers alike have websites and or blogs and that on these blogs there is a “contact me” section. Lots of those editors, agents, writers, publishers will tell you to query, query, query … to ask specific questions … to seek guidance from those that have been at this writing game for a while … so listen up my friends, a large majority of those people really do mean what they say and they will get back to you and they will offer forth suggestions. True, some won’t, but it’s been my experience that most do—unless, that is, you’re an absolute fool and make far too many grammar mistakes, think you’re the next John Grisham, or worse … have a story idea that’s you just know will outsell Harry Potter (I mean your mom liked your story, right?)
Happy writing everyone!