Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What Helped You Most?

Since I don't have any super-inspirational, wisdom-filled articles or guests lined up for today, I decided to let all of you provide those things for this Wednesday's post. The question is:

What 3 things have helped you most on your writing journey? 

You're welcome to mention more than 3, but try to give the top 3 somewhere in your answer.

For me, besides Molly, the author friend who kindly but honestly got me on course in the beginning and my retired English teacher mom, who is the source of my better-than-average grammar skills, my three would have to be:

1. Reading as much fiction as I can get my hands on - to get a feel for what does and doesn't work. (I've read well over 100 books in the last 15 mos, while writing 2 of my own.)

2. Learning and improving along the way, through critiques and articles like Final Revision Editing and The Verb Lottery. (I mean, seriously! I look at some of the first versions of my mss and shudder at how I used to write. And there's STILL room for improvement.)

3. Books on the craft.

So what about you? What has helped you most? And what advice would you give to a new writer just starting out?

*hands over the mic*
= )

17 comments:

  1. I agree with all what you've shared.

    Here are mine with my own touch...

    1. Critique partners. When I'm writing a story, my blinders are on. I can't see what is flawed. I think it's a masterpiece (har har). With others, I mean many, eyes looking at the book helps me discover exactly what isn't working. It improves it all the way.

    2. Read a lot of books. I tend to watch for how the author sets up scenes, uses dialogue, beats, and grammar/punctuation to further develop my own craft.

    3. Making goals. If I don't then I'll become lazy. This is how I finished my first book, got an agent, and now am on submission. It has also helped me write my second book.

    Well, that's that. Great post!

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    1. Thanks for the comment. Your #1 is so true! It's a snap to see flaws in others' writing, but it's easy to miss stuff in your own - partly because you know the whole story. LOL And have many lines memorized! I was amazed when I had my Kindle read aloud my well-critted prologue how many mistakes I found. It didn't skip over the stuff my mind did. ha!

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  2. 1) My family 2) My critters/betas 3) The writing/blogging community

    (Though, your mom's rockstar grammar skills have really helped my query!)

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    1. You did it? You did it! Woohoo!!!!! = D

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    2. PS - I think I'm going to have to start paying mom a retainer. LOL

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  3. Ooooo, good topic!

    1) Reading, reading, and more reading. Whether it be to enjoy a good story or figure out how a writer did something, reading definitely helps me in my quest to be a better writer.

    2) Write, write, and write some more. I won't let myself go to bed unless I've written something. It doesn't matter what it is (poem, notes, novel, etc) as long as I make the time to work on my craft.

    3) Critiques. On both ends of the spectrum (i.e. writer and critiquer), the process of critiquing has taught me more about writing than anything else.

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  4. Wish I had something new to add, but my top three are the same. Reading both genre and craft books, my weekly critique group, and butt in chair, hands on keyboard.

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  5. My three things would have to be encouragement from friends, encouragement from the blogging community and setting goals. Reading and butt-in-chair-writing are wonderful but without the encouragement I've received, there'd be a whole lot less butt-in-chair happening. The goals help keep me on track and accountable to myself as well as those with whom I share my goals with.

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  6. Hi Melissa, I am loving the "verb lottery." I just popped over to check out your awesome blog as it is being promoted by Carrie Butler for my "Get Fired Up" blogfest. I love your blog and you have done an incredible job, especially in such a short period of time. You have a good friend in Carrie and she is extremely proud of you for taking the blogging plunge. I was about to write that I am a new follower, but (and you are the first blog I have visited today), I cannot see or access your Google Friend Connect. I don't know if this is a temporary problem or if it has been removed by you or by google. I know that Google announced the removal of GFC from all "non blogger" sites on March 1, 2012. Here it is 3/1/12 and I cannot see yours. I thought it would remain for all blogger sites. Perhaps you voluntarily removed it as many bloggers are suggesting.

    I signed up to follow you via email. I am delighted to meet you and happy that Carrie pointed me in your direction. I hope we can stay connected regardless of the outcome of Google Friend Connect. Your blog is lovely.

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    1. Thanks for the visit and the heads-up. We're working on the problem. GFC disappearing was not intentional. *I'll Tweet and post about it once it's fixed. ; )

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  7. I've found reading fiction and books on the craft has helped the most.

    Visiting from Carrie Butler's blog! :) (I'd follow as well, but the gadget doesn't want to appear, for some reason.)

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by! I'm sorry about the gadget. Google Friend Connect was up and running until sometime today. I replaced it with Follow, but that's not working either. We're working behind the scenes to fix the problem...

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  8. Just being addicted to books in general has made me want to write the book I want to READ.

    New follower from the Get Fired UP Blogfest. Thanks for reminding us we can follow through the follow button on the top of your blogger. That's how I did it and it's easier that way than through the GFC window anyway :)

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    1. I can totally relate to that! Believe it or not, I was not much of a reader until about a year and a half ago. Now look at me. LOL Thanks for visiting! = )

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  9. Melissa, what I've done in no way measures up to your efforts. Bravo for loving writing and books so much. You're a huge inspiration. Carrie Butler sent me over from her blog. Nice to meet you.

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  10. I've given you a blog award!
    http://cbwentworth.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/abc-blog-award/

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I love to hear what you have to say.
Thanks for taking the time to comment. = )