The one piece of advice a writer needs —

“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!

16 Comments Add yours

  1. Jessica says:

    I can tell why you are a writer~ you are quite good at it my dear. Very enjoyable reading, each and every post.

  2. Corinna says:

    I think while there was a stigma regarding self-publishing, with the decline of bookstores and increased volumes of e-books and nook sales, it's the route that many are willing to take. There's a widespread audience with the increased probability of reaching a variety of readers, and most of the time, the profits are larger too.

  3. Anonymous says:

    can post about why you decided to self-publish your book? did you submit your manuscript to a few publishing houses first? any advice? i want to publish a book but i've always thought of self-publishing as the domain of people with little talent but a desire to see their name in print. any advice on how to avoid that stigma?

  4. Sophie A. says:

    Hi Shauna!
    Wow thanks for stopping by my blog and deciding to follow it! I'm not sure what's wrong with the link but someone just followed it with no problems. Can you please try again? :) I'll check the problem too. I haven't even read your blog but I like it as it looks interesting and I could learn from your posts! I'll be reading it!! Hopefully, I won't have trouble following :) Thanks again!


  5. Sakira says:

    This is really good writing advice. Thanks for sharing this with us!

    I'm really passionate about reading and writing. I started a YA book review blog because I want to share my love of reading with teen readers, and I am constantly giving books to children I know to encourage them to read :)


  6. Anonymous says:

    Fun fun fun!!! :D


  7. Jenn Marie says:

    Thanks so much for stopping by and the follow! Returning the favor & now your newest follower!

    I love this post – it really hit home to me. I remember the first piece I wrote when I was in third grade and my teacher pulled me aside and asked me who taught me to write stories (I had transferred from another school in first grade). I taught myself. I loved to read and I loved to write my own stories. I wanted my own words to show up in print someday, too. And they did. By 15 I was a published poet. And now, I publish daily/weekly on my own blog. No rules. No boundaries. Raw and often unedited. & I can change my writing style as I wish. & start sentences that start with “and”. & use “&” whenever I want!

  8. C.C. says:

    Thanks for the advice. So… writing is not exactly my passion. I love horseback riding. She thinks that I'm obsessed. I would do it everyday if I could, but for some reason other people think my life needs to have balance. I only started about two years ago, and I can't get enough of it.

  9. Meghan says:

    I to love to write…and many many other things but the one thing I could never stop doing is play bad mitten…it's my obsession. I've been playing bad mitten ever since I was 8 and now at 20 years old I am teaching my brother who is 10. It's actually a tradition passed on generation to generation haha.

    I love to see my kid brother want to get in the morning and be the best he can be…it's the greatest feeling in the world.

  10. Elle says:

    Reading maybe. Computer software…I have spent hours researching and mucking about with computers to fix a graphics problem or figure out why it won't boot up…or why it is freezing up…other than that…well I have gone through times when I was passionate about crochet-financial planning-computer security-games–I have gone back to school to take classes sometimes…I just can't stick to any ONE thing…drives my family nuts. Soon as they start thinking I found something I love to do…I get tired of it. Oh well…at least with blogging I get to do different things all the time!
    Following back.

  11. MikiHope says:

    Hi there–you just keep writing!! And I am following you back!

    Michele aka MikiHope

  12. MiMi says:

    Ya know…I never asked about what I wrote when I really actually wrote stuff…I think part of me was afraid of rejection. Or people pointing and laughing at me. LOL

  13. Penelope says:

    My blog and being a good wife and mom…and people get annoyed by it, lol. Oh well, those are my passions.

  14. Hi, Shauna…I, too, love to write. Thanks for stopping by and following…now I'm following you, too!

    Kristin :)

  15. kisatrtle says:

    Shauna, this is wonderful advice that really hit home with me, i too have recently finished a book that I am exceptionally proud of and desperate for others to read and enjoy, i have always loved to write I cant imagine ever stopping. Thank you for putting these words to paper

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