I’m celebrating the 7th anniversary of 1st Books this week — yes, 7 years of terrific guest author posts and other writing and publishing tips! — with 7 tips I’ve culled from the posts here. Hope you enjoy!
1. from PEN/Faulkner winner and Booker finalist Karen Joy Fowler’s “1st Words”:
The dam finally broke when I attended a lecture by Robert Hass. He was talking about poems and I was writing stories, but that did not matter. He talked about complicating your endings, about endings that opened a work up and endings that closed a work down, about endings that could be read simultaneously as Shakespearian tragedy and Mel Brookes comedy, and about writing endings you believed to be true.
2. from James Tate Black award winner Tatjana Soli’s “Silencing the Voices of No”:
Because my mother would not listen to the naysayers, because she taught me not to take no for an answer, I kept writing a story I wanted to tell.
On fitting writing into life
3. from New York Times bestseller Jamie Ford’s “Call in Sick More Often”:
The editor tells me to quit my day job and turn it into a novel. I smile and thank him, then go back to work on Monday.
4. from National Book Award winner Julia Glass’s “The Not Quite Yes”:
Six afternoons per week, my hopeful heart throbbed as I opened my rickety mailbox.Each time, for weeks or months on end, it sank: not at rejections—how I began to long for rejections!—but at the general silence. Some stories never came back.
5. and from my best writer-pal, Brenda Rickman Vantrease’s “The 136 Rejection Overnight Success”:
After ten years and 136 rejections for my previous novel, I’d learned not to hope too hard…
6. and from New York Times bestseller Melanie Benjamin’s “The Novelist Formerly Known As…”
That has been my saving grace, I firmly believe; my ability to keep writing “Chapter One” while wading through a swamp of rejection.
On promoting a new release
7. from National Book Award finalist Dan Chaon’s “The Continually Humbling Process of Writing”:
For a while it’s as if I’m inhabiting a character: The Novelist Dan Chaon, and that takes all of my creative energy. And for a while, at least, the actual writing takes a back seat and the small-w writer Dan Chaon (that drudge, that melancholy grub) takes a back seat as well. Or better yet, I tape his ankles and wrists with duct tape and put him in the trunk of the Camaro.
I hope you all have enjoyed the past seven years as much as I have, and will stay with me for whatever the next seven have to offer!