Today, I have a treat for you! Several years ago, I met a fascinating man wearing a fez to conventions, and it turns out he and I have not only a lot in common, but several mutual friends! I'd like to introduce you to my friend Brian K Morris, who recently posted a few interesting blogs to his Patreon page. With his permission, I'd like to share his insights with you. Take it away BKM!
Thanks Molly! I'm Brian K Morris and I look good on paper:)
The Neil Gaiman post put me in the mind of how we often receive complaints about what we create.
Why aren't we writing in the genre THEY like? Why aren't we trying to be more commercial? Why aren't we doing a sequel to (fill in the blank)? Why aren't we writing more like someone else?
It can grind your gears, that's for sure.
But just keep in mind that I'm sure you're getting far MORE compliments than complaints. And for the scarcity of reviews you and I receive, that's probably STILL more people saying nice things about you on Amazon than complaining to your face.
Keep that in mind. Granted, if you get the SAME concern from more than, say, three people, it might be something to keep in mind the next time you set down to create (or stand while you type or draw, I'm not here to judge). Or even if ONE person gives you a gem that improves your craft, take it to heart.
But if it's someone who just wants to get a reaction from you, ignore them. The late Richard Nixon used to talk about a "Silent Majority" who thought everything was going just fine,but didn't feel a need to express how they felt about a situation.
Don't feed the trolls. Instead, keep listening to the people who approve of your work and what you're doing.
Follow your muse and don't stop creating. To paraphrase another Neil Gaiman quote, YOU are not someone else's b*tch.
I messaged him with my own advice, and he included it with the next blog post:
Thank you for the virtual kick in the pants, since I've not written ANYTHING (except blog posts) since.....May? April? June? I know I've not written since my laptop screen shattered.
Anyhoo, my top 3 pieces of writing advice:
A) Don't get it RIGHT, get it WRITTEN
B) Write the story you want to read; don't write 'to the market or what you THINK people want to read. Write what's on your heart
C) If you get stuck, it's perfectly okay to write (insert scene/dialogue/description). You can always add it in later.
D) All else fails, reach out to other writers. Join a group on FB (there are many!) and ask for advice on structure, blurb writing, and finding an editor/publisher/cover artist. We are here to help you
E). Yes, you NEED a good editor to polish your story; a good formatter; and a shiny cover to sell the package.
Brian went on to add:
Good points all. I'd add...
A) I read recently where a writer advised writing five pages, for instance, even when your muse takes the day off. You might be able to salvage two or three after editing. And if you dump it all out as trash, you are left no farther behind than you were previously, and you've gotten some practice in.
Besides, you can't edit or sell what you haven't written.
B) Amen! If you are fired up by your story, the reader will be too. They can tell when you're whoring and when you're fired up.
C) I find myself adding a little bit of embellishment as a placeholder during the first draft. Then with the second, I add some flourish (or take some out, depending).
D) When I get bummed out, I know I can contact my peeps in The Rising Tide for advice and encouragement. They have NO idea how often they've talked me off the ledge.
E) Sure, you can learn how to do any of this. But YOUR TIME is worth quite a lot and that alone should be reason enough to hire out some or all of your production work. And nothing says you have to spend a king's ransom on it.
My last comment brought some hilarity to the blog:
F) Rules were meant to be bent or broken. Case in point: You asked for 3 tips; I gave you 6! Lol...I'm such a rebel ...
Why you little...!
I know....I love you too!
Brian K. Morris is an independent, full-time freelance writer/editor/publisher, award-winning author, Facebook-famous YouTuber, and former mortician's assistant. He lives in Central Indiana with his wife, no children, no pets, and too many comic books. His exploits and books can be found at www.RisingTide.pub (and be sure to sign up for his FREE monthly newsletter).
Brian can be found at the following social media sites:
I'd also like to include he and I will be at the following conventions/reader events in the coming months:
Cil-Con (Matton, Il) Crosstown Mall, Sept 9-10
Lexingston Legendary Readers (Lexington, KY) Embassy Suites at Lexington Green, Oct 1st
Fez Con (Fowler, In) Fowler Public Library Oct 8th
Writer's Block Author Fair (Toledo, OH) Franklin Park Mall, Oct 22nd