I have coughed up big bucks for writer conferences over all my writing years. But you know what has taught me the most about writing?
Books on craft and critiquing others’ work!
And I would not be able to critique others’ manuscripts without the knowledge absorbed from these books.
In the past I’ve spoken about a few books on writing, yet it was not until my latest purchase that I realized I have a stack of books on craft (I think it might be time to re-read them all again).
Why do I find books on craft so helpful? Because I can absorb the information at my pace. I can read, highlight, pause, contemplate, and read again. I can go back and look up specific information when I’m stuck on a manuscript (It’s not nice to pause an entire conference so you can skim through your manuscript and make a note).
My advice for books on craft is, the newest…the bestest (not a word I know). Writing is always changing with what is acceptable and what is “historic writing.” If you are reading a book published in 2001, while a large chunk is still relevant, a lot is not. (Yes, I understand Stephen King’s book on writing is timeless, shriek, no I haven’t read it)
Bonus: my latest interview can be found here.
P.S. If you have any books on craft that you love let me know!
You know what I’m talking about, right?
If you have ever hit send on a query and nearly danced in your chair, you know.
You swear you found the perfect agent, editor, or publisher. You studied up, you social media stalked, you perfected the query with sprinkles of personalization. That moment you hit send you actually smiled instead of cringed with worry and doubt.
This submission…THE PERFECT MATCH!
Dear Author……thanks, but no thanks.
How could this happen? This must be a mistake! Every positive thought you had about your writing and understanding how to query is now a sandbox of self-doubt. Why do I even bother writing you holler?!
This thought process ultimately sinks not only your self esteem, but your writing. You might take time off. Maybe delete all your stories or vow to be a reader and never a writer again.
Then, for most, we climb out of the sandbox, brush our pants off and return to writing and submitting. Only this time we remind ourselves that we can’t get hopeful about submitting. We can’t think we found a great match to query. So we don’t put our full hundred and ten percent into our submissions.
I’m here to tell you, stop. You must put just as much love and effort into each submission. Regardless of the outcome, if you don’t you will miss an opportunity. The opportunity to know that you did your best whether it is a yes or a no. Each manuscript is, often, a one shot deal. Don’t allow the ones before to prevent you from a yes now.