I write stuff for kids...and muse on writing, children's books, and the publishing industry in general

Monday, March 14, 2011

Seven writing tips I can't live without

(Source)
  1. Write first, edit later (the only thing you can't edit is a blank page!)
  2. Stop listening to everyone, instead choose one person to help you go a step further
  3. BICHOK. Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard
  4. Rules aren't a formula for getting published, they're guidelines. Use them when it benefits your writing
  5. Never believe you'll know everything there is to know about writing. Every day will bring a new learning experience, so be open to these experiences and always seek to improve as a writer
  6. Know the rules before you break them
  7. "Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass..." ~ Anton Chekhov 
How about you: what are the writing tips you can't live without?


67 comments:

Rhiannon said...

This is so true! Fantastic advice!

Heidi Windmiller said...

Great advice!

I would add: Writing is fun. Don't let yourself take the fun out of it.

Grandpa said...

Hey Rach, thanks for these fantastic tips. I like No. 1-7, esp BICHOK, which I'm doing rather often lately!

Have you read my short story yet? It's in my latest post.

Love your signature - beautifully stylish!

*Hugs*

Sarah said...

These are great tips--so much about writing is having the right mindset and avoiding all the cognitive traps our brains can set. Taking concrete behavioral action (BICHOK--love that) can actually shape our thoughts and attitudes about things. In other words, it's not always how you think that influences what you do--it absolutely works the other way around as well. Great post!

Zan Marie said...

I have to add--Take short breaks of 10 to 15 minutes. Just don't let them grow into vacations. ; )

Elena Solodow said...

I've read the last one before, and it's so apt!

Jess said...

Very nice~ love the Chekhov quote!

Michelle Merrill said...

Those are great tips! Thanks for sharing :)

Erin said...

Wonderful tips! Thank you! I especially love that last quote. I can never hear that one too many times!

Michael Offutt said...

Another thing that I might want to add to this list is to avoid the nitpicker. I'm not just talking about grammar / plot issues that will trouble a reader. I'm talking about the nitpicker that goes over something a chapter at a time with the finest tooth comb without having read the whole thing first and questions each sentence or paragraph without context of the entire work in progress.

KatieO said...

My favorite is #3 - something you hear a lot from successful writers! I need to amend it for me, though, with Butt in chair, Hands on Keyboard , Internet turned Off!

Ooops, back to writing!

Jen Daiker said...

BICHOK - LOVE THIS!

I think us writers need to ban together and come up with a writer dictionary... where we make up acronymns with super fun meanings!

I feel a new blog post coming up :)

Rogue Mutt said...

#2 will go very badly for you if the person you listen to is an idiot and doesn't know what he/she is doing. Then it's just the blind leading the blinder.

Ann said...

BICHOK and editing as I go are my weaknesses. Great List Rachael.

Arlee Bird said...

These are great writing tips. I think it's also to keep a balanced life so the writing doesn't interfere with relationships and your life in general.

Lee
Tossing It Out

Michael Di Gesu said...

You nailed it, Rach....

When's the next challenge?

Michael

Crystal said...

Hi, there - new reader here!

As for writing rules I can't live without... you totally took the words out of my mouth, but I think the one that resonates most for me would be #4, Rules are guidelines, not a formula for getting published. It's something I've struggled with a LOT in my writing - reading one too many "how-to" writing books and then getting all caught up in the "oh, but I don't do it like (insert some big, famous author's name here) does it - does that mean I won't be published???" I've been working on developing my own process and using what works for me, and it's helped me tons. :-)

Mary Vaughn said...

Don't take yourself too seriously.

If there were only one right way to write a book there'd only be one book about writing.

Personal note BICHOK is often a numbing experience.


GigglesandGuns

Stephanie Jones said...

BICHOK is right! Though I'm personally a couch potato and write in the oddest positions :p

I have one more rule - music up and have fun! :D

Hugs,
Steph

Karin Rita Gastreich said...

I like your list, Rach, and I can't think of anything to add. Thanks for a fun post!

Kate said...

Nice list there! I reckon my one to add would be to stop spending so much time reading other people's blogs and get on with my writing!

Aimee L Salter said...

Humility is a discipline, not a curse - and it makes more people want to work with you.

Aimee L Salter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aldrea Alien said...

I've heard/read many of these before, if worded a little differently (except the BICHOK, I love it) and they're all great. Especially #5. It's oh so true, yet it's often the lesson that ends up being learnt the hard way.


One tip I wish everyone else at home would take: To leave me in peace when I'm typing. (I think I just saw a flock of pigs, too)

Scheherazade said...

BICHOK and editing are right on. Another important point--remember is to check your ego at the door. Ego should not be allowed to get in the way of good criticism or inspiration.

Kerri Cuev said...

Butt in chair. Gosh, I should have stopped here first thing in the morning. I've been trying to do this all day lol. Great advice!

Jeanmarie Anaya said...

Great advice!!!

I especially love the Chekov quote. Hadn't heard that one before--it's fantastic.

Jeanmarie Anaya said...

Great advice!!!

I especially love the Chekov quote. Hadn't heard that one before--it's fantastic.

kangaroobee said...

Great post Rach. I like no. 6

kangaroobee said...

Great post Rach. I like no. 6

Lisa Gail Green said...

Awesome! The only one I hesitate on is the no editing until it's done. For the most part yes, but there are times when I need to fix something big before I can move forward.

Abby Minard said...

YES! Seriously, I need to listen to that first one. I am such an edit-as-I-goer. It takes me so long to write it, but I'm more satisfied when I do it that way. Gosh and the SHOW DON"T TELL....we all could use a little more of that. Thanks Rach!

Margo Benson said...

Wonderful and very sound advice. I also love something I read about the author Colin Dexter (Brit: Inspector Morse) - apparently he wrote every morning...then went to the pub! Yup, sounds good!

Jules said...

Great advice! I too love BICHOK :)
Nice quote as well.
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Kari Marie said...

I love number 2! It's easy to get overwhelmed.

Alleged Author said...

I completely agree that rules are guidelines. If you can break them and do it well enough, then by all means go with your gut. Great post!

kmullican said...

Find a place to write where your creativity flows the best - write there all the time.

Find somewhere else to edit...like the kitchen table, where bills are paid etc... a place where your brain is trained to be all business and less creative!

Jemi Fraser said...

Those are great! The quote reminders of the one by Twain (at least I think it was Twain) - Don't tell me the old lady screamed - bring her on stage and let her scream!

Michelle said...

I think i'll just borrow your list! love it xx

Trisha said...

Great list! And for me, the most important is #1 :)

Lacey Devlin said...

Number three's my favorite :-)

I also love the font of your signature. I don't suppose you remember what it is?

Mary Mary said...

Good rules! All of them!

Colene Murphy said...

Yes yes! Some seriously awesome rules there!

Madeline Bartos said...

Wonderful advice, Rach! I especially love BICHOK. For me it's BICHOKOENC. Butt in chair, hands on keyboard, or else no chocolate. I have to threaten myself with the absence of chocolate to write. That's discipline. ;)

Deborah Walker said...

I like this one:

Eat rejections for breakfast.

Rachel Firasek said...

Great post! I'd add. Find a crit partner you trust that is as good or better than you. Build a relationship with that person and stay true.

Adriana said...

Love all of these! #1 is like the "don't look down draft" - just get it on the page without second guessing.

The only thing I'd add is never, ever give up. Some of my favorite authors went years submitting before anything was published (Judith Viorst, for example) but never quit writing and submitting all that time.

writesbymoonlight said...

These are all great tips! Thanks. I was going to add never give up, but Adriana beat me to it. I also like Madeline's BICHOKOENC. :-)

Misha said...

Great tips!

The only one I can add: Stop comparing yourself to other writers. Each person's road is different and you need to keep your eyes on yours.

:-)

Laura howard said...

I just love the straightforwardness of this list. I tend to get caught up in all my rules and structure, and it's so freeing when you just "get the words out"!!
I particularly love the quote on the last rule...very NICEEEEE~

erica m. chapman said...

Love it. Short and sweet ;o) Thanks for sharing!!

Julie Musil said...

Great tips! My favorite is very similar to your #1 - first get it written, then get it right. I swear by this.

Liz Fichera said...

BICHOK. Love that. Also, I try to stay away from negative talk--e.g. "It's impossible to get published..." yada yada yada. When you want something bad enough, you figure out a way.

Carol Riggs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carol Riggs said...

Excellent tho short list. I do find the more years I keep writing, the more I find I don't know about it. It has many layers of learning and understanding. :)

Margo Berendsen said...

I love that Anton Chekhov quote. Thanks for reminding me. These are great tips.

Rachel Morgan said...

I've always loved BICHOK :-)

And that line "Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass..." is BEAUTIFUL!

J.L. Campbell said...

I particularly like number two...stop listening to everybody...choose one person. I've experienced this time and again. I'll have varying comments on one piece of work, but inevitably someone I trust will point out something I totally missed, but which makes the story hum.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Begin with the end in mind - both your story's and your goals.

Happily Cheesy said...

Feel every scene, experience every moment, then act it out on the page.

Lucy V Morgan said...

Lol...the only problem with BICHOK is that it makes you rather fat [stares woefully at gym bag]

lbdiamond said...

These are great tips--I need to use them more often, LOL!

Lisa Nowak said...

Those are awesome.

Rachael Harrie said...

I loved hearing from you guys, and some awesome writing tips have come out in the comments too :) I think that might be a whole 'nother post there :)

Hugs,

Rach

K.C. Woolf said...

Great summary, Rachael, thanks! :-)

Adina West said...

Ummm, I'm kinda managing number three, only I'm spending all my time reading and commenting on blog posts. Does that count??

:-)

THE SARCASM GODDESS said...

Number 7! I think of it almost every time I write.

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