Friday, February 11, 2011

The Smartest Writing Advice I Ever Got

featuring Seekers and friends of Seekerville.

My friend, author Joan Elliott Pickart (who has written over 100 books for Harlequin/Silhouette), told me years ago: "Read every day. Write every day. Listen to your editor." And Winston Churchill was "spot on" with his "NEVER GIVE UP."

~Glynna Kaye

The smartest writing advice I ever got was after the fact, after I had already sold and wished I'd heard the advice earlier! That sage advice? Don't keep working the same stories over and over! Move on and build a body of work so you have other stories to offer your editor when she asks.

~Missy Tippens

The smartest writing advice I ever got was to persevere. I don’t remember who I first heard it from, but they said talent is not the most important thing when it comes to getting published; it’s perseverance. Make writing a priority, treat it like a job, and never give up. So from the very beginning I was determined to stick with it until I was successful, no matter how long it took. I think if I hadn’t gotten this advice early on, I might have moved on to something to something else when the going got tough and the rejections got painful.

~Melanie Dickerson

The day I received my 2007 Golden Heart scores was rough. I already knew I hadn’t finaled, but I was sure my scores would reveal I’d missed the cutoff by a hundredth of a point. Or less. You know, there was probably some weird scoring aberration. Maybe they’d added wrong (hey, it happens) and I’d discover I was a finalist after all! Um, no. My scores were in the bottom half of my category. Not. Even. Close. I couldn’t believe I’d dedicated a year of my life to writing a subpar story! I’d spent all those hours at the computer, given up watching Survivor, for nothing? I curled into fetal position on the couch and clutched the envelope, thinking that maybe I should burn my scores (and the manuscript) so that my below averageness would not be preserved for all of posterity. My son (who was 11 at the time) walked into the family room, saw that dinner was no where close to being ready, and asked what was wrong. I told him his mother was a hack. He patted me on the shoulder and said, “It’s only your first story, Mom. You can’t expect it to be perfect. You’ll do better next time.” That’s the smartest writing advice I’ve ever received.

~Anne Barton

At the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in 2004, I took the beginning Fiction writers class taught by Brandilyn Collins and Randy Ingermanson. There, Brandilyn told the class a piece of advice that I have never forgotten. She said, "Good writers never reach a point where they've 'made it.' Good writers continue to strive to learn how to write better, even after they've hit the best-seller list." I am still working hard to learn how to write better, even now that I've had 5 novels published. I am always looking for ways to make my writing stronger, tighter, more emotional. I'm grateful for that advice because as the publishing industry gets tougher, even published authors need to keep up with the market, the readership, and the standard of writing of their peers.

~Camy Tang

Back in 2008, florescent green newbie writer me ventured into the RWA® Literacy Autographing feeling like a puny little ant at a picnic for giants. During the life-changing fifteen minutes Deeanne Gist talked with me, she complimented me on my Golden Heart® finals. I told her I felt like a phony wearing my pins because my stories weren't all that good. Dee said when she received her first rejections, she didn't like them and took time out to study craft so she'd be ready the next time she queried. I took her advice to heart, spent a year learning to write a marketable story, and met with so much success when I sent my work out afterward that my head's still spinning.

~Keli Gwyn

Critique partner Shirley Jump has given me oodles of advice she learned from studying craft and writing forty books. Shirley gave this advice on writing dialogue: Dialogue is a plot tool. Too often, writers don’t see they can use dialogue to increase conflict, show character and up the stakes. Every word put into a book, whether narrative or dialogue, should be used to further the plot. There are, essentially, no wasted words. Use action in your dialogue scenes to show emotions, avoidance of topics, and to keep the plot and pacing moving at a reasonable clip. In addition, writers need to create undercurrents in the conversation that make the hero and heroine think about their past, their issues and each other. The conversation should force them to change course or create a new difficulty and action. Otherwise dialogue is nothing more than a tea scene, as Donald Maass calls them, where nothing happens, and thus should be taken out.

~Janet Dean

The best advice I received was when I went to my first autographing. My mother had seen the announcement in the newspaper and knew I was writing a novel. I went and Vickie Lewis Thompson and Tate McKenna were signing. They advised me to join RWA. When I joined RWA, I learned so many industry tips, networked with other writers, found out about critique groups and basically ended up published because of that membership. Presently we have ACFW for the CBA market. My advice is to join one or both.

~Sandra Leesmith

More than 15 years ago I went to a workshop by historical author Shelly Thacker and she said, "Emotion on every page." That term has ballooned into books, workshops, DVDs and entire seminars by writing coaches, screenwriters, authors, editors and agents. It all boils down to the simplicity of the same four words. Emotion on Every Page.

~Tina Radcliffe

Get connected!! When I first started to write my book, I knew absolutely NO ONE in the writing industry … not authors, not bloggers, not writers on the path to publication. And definitely not any editors or agents. In fact, the most I knew about agents was what I learned from the movie Jerry McGuire—“Show me the money!” Money? Gosh, all I wanted was for someone to “show me the ropes. So I joined ACFW, FHL, RWA, critique groups and made writer friends. I went to conferences as much to meet people and network as to hone my craft or to pitch to an editor. We writers are an odd breed who need to interface with our own kind, so it’s critical to plug into writing blogs like The Seekers and interact with the family of writers you meet there by commenting on the blogs and connecting at conferences. These “connections” provide a solid base of emotional and professional support that can eventually “network” into “divine connections” that can change your life.

~Julie Lessman

The smartest writing advice I ever got was to write as worship. Makes the rejections go down easier because at least I know God likes the story. LOL! Writing as worship is to me, in a sense, committing my work to God. His direction. His timing. His way. And because I'm writing as worship, I'm going to put my best effort forward and to aim for excellence with virtue. The greatest bit of craft-centered advice has probably been to write first and edit later and to separate my research from my writing because they use different parts of the brain making me less productive.

~Cheryl Wyatt

The smartest advice I ever got wasn't exactly advice, but when the email came asking if I would join a new group of writers, I hesitated. I was already a member of ACFW and RWA and a handful of chapter and local writers groups, and I had a writers that I communicated with on a personal level sporadically. What would I do with another group that just sat there and vegetated? After a couple of days, I decided to join this new group. I figured if the promised camaraderie never materialized, I could quietly fade into the background and then just ... unjoin. Six years later, I don't know what I would do without my Seeker Sisters. I don't have any sisters, and they are truly my sisters of the heart. Maybe not advice, but it's the best thing I ever did for my writing.

~Pam Hillman

The best writing advice I ever received was: Polish your manuscript until you think it's perfect but remember it's not. If an editor acquires it, there will be changes during the editing process. Don't squawk, make the changes. The editor knows what they're doing.

~Rose Ross Zediker

The best writing advice I've ever been given is 'No conflict=no story.' The reader wants to worry about the characters. Will they reach their goals? Will they live happily ever after? Will they save the world? I wanted to coddle my characters, temper the wind to the shorn lamb. But this makes for a boring story. Throw everything you can think of in the way of conflict at your character. Figure out the worst thing that could happen to them, then make that thing happen. Write the story as if the Black Moment--the final great catastrophe--was the end of the book. THEN figure out how to get them out of the calamity.

~Erica Vetsch

Someone once told me to think of my manuscript as my product. Rejection means the product isn’t ready and needs more work. It does not mean that I can’t write. That “product” mindset puts the emphasis on the writing and not the writer. I’m not rejected, my product is. In that light, the rejection is less painful and leads to a second bit of advice: NEVER GIVE UP!

~Debby Giusti

Years ago, I critiqued with bestselling author Connie Rinehold aka Eve Byron. She molded my writing from raw emotional drivel to something suitable for novel length fiction, LOL! Bless her heart! Anyway, amidst the slashes of red pencil across the pages, she pound into me, "make 'em laugh, make 'em cry, make 'em WAIT!!" In life, I bust at the seams when I have to keep a secret; in my stories, I have to discipline my characters to bite their tongues and keep the reader wondering will it work out or not?

~Audra Harders

The smartest writing advice I ever got wasn't exactly a one-time thing, but something repeated over and over by friends, family, colleagues, and--by impressions upon my spirit--even God: "Don't give up." I was so close to giving up many, many times over the 25 years of seriously pursuing my first book contract. The last time was only months before I got THE CALL from Barbara Scott at Abingdon Press. Two years later I had four books in print! Just think what I would have missed out on if I HAD given up!

~Myra Johnson

My most beloved piece of writing advice came from my sixth grade teacher after giving us a writing assignment with a PRIZE..... And this prize was a statue of Mary, the mother of Jesus. I totally wanted that statue. So I busily wrote a GREAT PAPER on the beatitudes, the meaning of less is more, the warmth that comes from embracing God's truth. A masterpiece, of course. And then the winner was announced and... you guessed it.... it wasn't me. I was stunned because I knew how good my paper was, but... (And here is the best advice ever given me besides the fact that kicking a car's tires tells you NOTHING about the car...). The teacher sought me out . She held my paper in her hand, and said, "This was the best written paper by far, Ruth, but you didn't follow the directions. As lovely as this was," she held the paper out to me, "You need to learn to listen well and follow directions." And while it's a lesson I haven't always obeyed, it's a lesson I've never forgotten.

~Ruth Logan Herne

Now tell us about the smartest writing advice you ever got.

Today I'm giving away a set of monogrammed note cards from one of my favorite Etsy crafters, The Paper Mason. Check it out here. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.


  1. Am I crazy or was this posted recently? I *know* I've read some of those in the not too distant past...

    Maybe it was accidentally posted and showed up in my Reader before it was taken back down?


    Very very good advice! All of it.

    Divine connections. I love love love that from Julie.

    Erica's 'no conflict, no story'. So true. Except that [sometimes] I like to read about the fairly mundane. I'm a literary voyuer. I admit it. So Mary, if you want to give us a sneek peek into Tom and Mandy's quiet life on the ranch, you just go for it. If I love the characters, I want to know what happens next, and if I'm invested in them, I'm often willing to read about just... life... Of course, no one really writes that... Because I'm probably the only one...

    Oh Ruthy! I had a student do the same thing! I use her as an example every semester :/. She wrote a WONDERFUL essay. Fabulous! All about the expansion of the railroads across the country. The problem was that the question was something about Indians. That's all I remember about it, but I felt so horrible for her! And you!

    The never give up thing... definitely needed :).

    One of the things that has stuck with me recently, though I don't know I'd say 'most important ever' is from Julie [I think] - ditch the 'thats' - you don't need most of 'em. Think I cut about 500 out of my then-75K MS...

    So while I'm here, I'll set out breakfast goodies - pastries, bacon, eggs, pancakes, all sorts of yumminess. And caffeine. I know I need it. I'm sure someone else does too :).

    carol at carolmoncado dot com

  2. Hey CarolM!
    YUM - thanks!

    "Make every word fight for its life."
    **during revisions of course!

    Wish I remembered who said that.

    This is another printer-offer. GREAT post - thanks to all you published authors encouraging us along the way!

    LOVE Seekerville!

    may at maythek9spy dot com

  3. The best writing advice I ever received was from Clyde Bedell, my boss and a charter member of the Retail Advertising Hall of Fame, who said:

    “No one has to read advertising. People won’t be bored in print. You have to keep them reading or the most powerful selling message I the world will do you no good. The way to keep people reading, is to reward them every step of the way.”

    You have to do the same in fiction.


    vmres (at) swbell (dot) net

  4. LOVED this post!!! Wow, Ruth, what a hard lesson! And Cheryl, you really spoke to me right there. Writing as worship makes it all worthwhile. Myra- 25 YEARS? Oh boy. I've only been trying to get into print for 4-5 years and I'm TIRED. Anne, I loved your son's comment, especially since I just entered my first 4 contests. It's gonna be ugly! But that's why I did it, to hear what the judges have to say. I'll try to remember you when I open those scores. :D
    Oh, best writing advice was probably already on here: don't write it right, write it DOWN. I tend to polish until there's nothing left.

  5. sweet cards but dont enter me.
    I love reading the advice. I have nothing to add as I am not a writer.

    Tina the books arrived today I am so excited thank you. I just finished Glynna's today and after a couple I have to read they are on my TBR list. (I have 2 aussie books I must read and one by feb 24)

    I think it was you who also said you wouldn't be reading in Hawaii I should have listened. I took Wranglers in petticoats read a tiny bit on the bus to Adelaide and finished it on the flight back to Syndey didn't read one sentence from a book in Hawaii. (I think the jetlag and early mornings had something to do with it)

  6. I'm not a writer, but it seems like there is a common thread among writers. "Don't give up!" I really don't know how I would handle rejection either. If I were to ever try writing y'all have given some great advice. It seems there is more to writing than just putting words on paper. Cute cards! I use cards a lot. These would be great.


  7. Good morning Seekerville!!!!

    Monday night we had a blizzard in Colorado and Tuesday it was minus five.

    Okay, so Sunday it will reach 57!

    So like the ups and downs of publishing.

    You just have to sit tight and be patient.

  8. Hey, Jenny! Glad you had a great vacation and are home safe!

  9. Virginia!!! So proud of you!!

    Four contests!! Wow. Way to go!

  10. KC, Vince, love those quotes!!

    Spot on, in the words of "S"

  11. Yes, Carol, the post (unfinished) did get posted for approx. 13 seconds last week. You clever gal.

  12. Glad to know I'm not crazy =D.

    And yes, this one is going to get printed out!

    Actually, that might not be a bad thing to do today - print out stuff...

    Sounds a lot more fun than the cleaning that's on my to do list. But less fun than the writing also on the to do list.

    But still not as fun as the Mommy and Son Hang Out At Home night tonight [while everyone else is at Daddy Daughter Date Night at church :)].

    Captcha: reabedn - think it has something to do with reading in bed. Did that with Cowboy Christmas yesterday...

  13. Loved this post - what a wealth of great advice!

    I think the best advice I've gotten so far is to slay the internal editor when you're writing the first draft. Between my internal editor and my love of research, I've never been able to get a story past the first chapter until now. But I finished chapter 10 this morning! Take that Mrs. Perfect Page!

  14. Okay - that comment from Nawor Camo Ork? That was really from me. My son had signed into his Google account without me noticing. Sigh.

  15. Totally enjoyed this post. Thanks Seeker Sisters!

    I've been given a lot of great advice! Here are a few. I'll list them in the order in which I followed:
    1) Show. Don't tell. Definition please? Once I understood, I went to town with it in my writing. Mark Littleton
    2) Get involved with a writer's group, DiAnn Mills told me over and over.
    3) Develop a tough skin. Listen to editors and critiques.
    4) Write everyday to practice honing your skills.
    5) Writer's block? Erin Geischen from In Touch magazine by C. Stanley said to sit down and write whatever comes into your head. When things are spinning inside your brain, this clears the muddles and brings focus. It can be about anything - like what's going on in your life or what your schedule is or how you're feeling that day or your frustration over writer's block. It doesn't have to be your book or article or whatever is causing the block. Somtimes I write about whatever, but most of the time I just start writing the story as it comes into my head. I then go back and edit it later. It's when I'm trying to write it perfectly as I go that I get writers' block. Sometimes I'll end up cutting out half of what I've written, but it gets me going in the right direction.
    6)BIC Method: Butt in chair.
    7)Keep writing.

    These seven pieces of advice have gotten me where I am and have kept me going with my writing.

    lr dot mullin at live dot com


  16. Some truly great advice! I loved what Anne Barton's son, wise beyond his years, said to his mom. How sweet!

    Great post, Tina, you wise woman!

  17. O-MY-GOSH, O-MY-GOSH!!!! This was SOOO freakin' good, I can hardly believe it! Was MESMERIZED, not only by all the incredible advice, but the way it was written too. WOW, we do have some great writers in our midst.

    FABULOUS post, Teenster, and SO encouraging for a weekend kickoff.

    My "smartest writing advice I ever got" now???? READ THIS POST!!!

    Happy weekend, all.


  18. Oh my stars, I love this. And Pammers, you made me cry.


    When we unearthed that original e-mail last year, I cried then too. Working together has been the most God-blessed sisterhood I've ever known. And meeting all our friends here in Seekerville. Working together with humor and angst, pathos, courage, did I mention food?

    Because food and coffee are essential to keeping body and soul together.

    Wonderful, Teeeena! And what a hoot that Carol saw that 15 seconds of fame.

    Oh my stars, you're one sharpie! And I'm not talkin' markers, honey!

    Okay, Friday fare:

    Hot because it was -7 this morning when my clock radio nudged me awake with Lady Antebellum...

    Scrambled eggs. Ham slices with pineapple on the side. Grilled to perfection. O'Brien Potatoes. Potato pancakes (I'm not counting carbs on weekends. Friday counts) Muffins: cranberry orange, chocolate chip and blueberry.

    Croissants, warm and soft butter.

    A pot of sour cherry jam. (Homemade)


    More coffee.


  19. I completely FORGOT to acknowledge all the SNOOPY characters. LOVE LOVE LOVE!

    Years ago my Mom gave me a gold charm of Snoopy DANCING!!! I still have it!

    (I'm having lots of fun talking to plush toy companies... Just sayin'...)

  20. Best advice was not just to keep writing, but to keep writing FORWARD.
    Susie Sheehey
    susiesheehey (at) verizon (dot) net

  21. Loved reading all of the advice on writing. Great boost of encouragement.

    As for advice....hmmm...

    Stay true to the call God placed on your life.

    Thanks for compiling these words of wisdom Tina.

    Jodie Wolfe

  22. Wonderful advice! Thanks so much. The best advice I received when first starting out - "Call yourself a writer." A writing mentor/friend encouraged me to speak what I felt called to do. It was a big step for me at the time, but she was right. And I never looked back. :)
    Happy weekend!

  23. Forgot to leave my email address, sorry. :)


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  26. Well, fishsticks, I had a brilliant post all set here and then blogger ATE IT! GRRR..

    Anyway, thanks, Tina, for including me here. What fun and what an honor.

    And Mary, I was wondering where your advice was!

  27. Oops, reading this post reminds me that Tina asked us to give her 'the best writing advice we ever got.'

    Missed that one.

    Sorry, Tina. So much great advice.

    I'll add mine here and it's really all I can think of and its advice I give aspiring writers all the time.


    That's it. Writers write. If you want to be a writer, write.

    Write and keep writing. Finish one book and while you're casting it on the wind, start a new book. Write everyday.

    That's it.

    All you learn. All the how-to books. All the groups you belong to and contest critiques you get back, use ALL OF IT, but apply it by WRITING.

    Like anything else. Golf. Crossword puzzles. Self-tattooing. You only get better if you PRACTICE.


  28. Those two deleted comments were me...let's blame Blogger. Erica is, I think I will too.


    Erica and Rose and I are doing a booksigning together


  29. Best writing advice I've ever been given actually came from my boss who is in geoscience of all things, lol.

    "Perfect is the enemy of great."

    But the best advice I've seen was from Mary here on Seekerville recently.

    "There's no such thing as plot or character driven, it has to be both."

  30. Loved this! I've heard a number of these before, but there were some new to me. Myra, yours spoke to me. Thanks.

    This is very practical, but I've been told to save each draft of a manuscript. I've found it frees me to experiment with an existing scene or just edit it like crazy when I know I have that original backed up somewhere else.

    That way, if I realize there was a line two drafts ago that would work perfect with the current draft, I can go back and find it. And that has happened a number of times.
    sally at sallybradleywrites[at]gmail[dot]com

  31. Well, I can't share more advice because I'm still blubbering over Anne's sweet son's comment. And Ruthy's first writing contest loss.

    sniff sniff

    Great post, though, even if it did make me cry. Some amazing advice! And now, I'm going to go put it to use as I torture my characters...


  32. This is a gem, Tina! What a wealth of encouragement and just plain unavoidable facts about the writing life!

    I'll add that Mary has truly been an inspiration to me with her "write, write, write" work ethic. I still don't get words on the page every day of the week, but I've set myself a daily goal and usually meet, double, and sometimes even triple it.

    Craft books and workshops can teach you a lot, but NOTHING prepares you for writing success more thoroughly than the act of writing itself.

    (And a good critique partner helps, too.)

  33. Great advice, ladies! Thanks for sharing!

    I especially loved Julie's "Divine Connections". It made me realize how many divine connections I already have in my writing world. Isn't it amazing that when some connections end, others jump in to replace them?

    My first critique partner (one I actually used to meet with in person every few weeks) pretty much quit writing, but she still critiqued my work. Then in December she moved away and our connection is easing out. Another critique partner of mine has stopped writing as well. (Hope this isn't my influence - LOL!) But God found me two new wonderful partners that I have now. Each have different talents and strengths. So it's great.

    Then of course there's my Golden Heart group from 2008. And the Seeker gals.

    Looking forward to making more and more Divine Connections!

    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

  34. I can tell this is going to be a tear-jerker of a day.

    Anne Barton's advice from her son brought tears to my eyes, and I'm only halfway through the advice column.

    Sniff, sniff

    Kids are so smart!

    My word veri is: graci

  35. What a great collection of advice.

    I think ENTER CONTESTS is good advice. I didn't have any critique partners, so I hit the contest circuit. A lot of the advice on this list comes into play along the way.

    Here's the coffee pot. Gotta go get a haircut now.


  36. Oh, Pam! I know! That got to me, too. "Out of the mouth of babes."

  37. Jan! I love that you moonlight as an alien!

  38. Linette, great list of advice.

    All worth printing up.

  39. Helen! Long time no see. Were you AWOL, or was I? I admit my life has been MACH IV lately.

  40. Hey, Melly and congratulations on your latest sale!

  41. Yep, Susie you are right.

    I have had critique partners with whom I have to lay down the rules. Stop bringing me the same 25 pages. Let's move on!!!

  42. Sally, I think it's psychological as I am the same way.

    I have to say aloud: the original version is saved. It's okay to revise or mess this one up or do anything you want to it. You have the original SAFE.

  43. Mary, great advice! The best. If you want to be a writer, write and keep on writing! :D

    I also agree with Nancy on Mary's plot/character driven stories. Two sides to he same coin. Can't have one without the other.

  44. Oh my stars, what a smart gracious bunch we attract here.

    Advice to new writers:

    See Mary's advice.

    Which is also my advice.

    And that of many others.


    Write more.

    And we'll go back to Churchill for this:

    Never give up.

    And we'll toss Nike in there too:

    Just do it.

  45. Haha! Love it, Rughtie! So glad I connected with this group. You're the best! Love you all!

  46. Elizabeth@In Pursuit of His ExcellenceFebruary 11, 2011 at 1:43 PM

    Hi again, Seekerville! I loved reading this post!! Thanks Julie for posting about it on your FB page! :o)
    I went away due to morning sickness. Feeling much better now! I might be hanging about a bit more again, 'cause you ladies are awesome!! :o)
    Elizabeth from NZ

  47. The best writing advice I was ever given was found in the book by Jeff Gerke...

    Write for the Audience of One.

    Which is a lot like Cheryl said and let your writing be a form of worship. Pepper and I were talking about that recently and it has made all the difference in how I act when I sit down to write.

    Thanks for all the advice, ladies!!

  48. No one put up Mary's advice!
    Is it because we all know what it is already?

    short, simple, and it really stuck with me the first time she told me.
    Mind you, between Mary, Ruthy, Tina, and Julie, I've gotten a WHOLE LOT MORE advice than that, but the Mary's first advice is such a good one to remember.
    If I never write it...then publication is out of the question anyway!

    I love all of the advice on the post today, though. Networking has not only been a learning experience but a remarkable pleasure. Taking time to learn craft, wonderful!
    Putting emotion on every page. FANTASTIC, Tina. Definitely something I need to remember.

  49. (chuckle)
    I didn't even see Mary's comment already posted.
    Shucks. And I thought I was being brilliant.
    Oh well, I'll have to wait for another day. :-)

  50. Wow, Pepper. You remembered my advice and then it turned out I GAVE that advice and I agreed with MYSELF.

    This is sweet.

    I could've gone with some of my other famous advice.

    Adopt a spirit of hopelessness.

    If you can't take the abuse, get out.

    Grow a rhino hide.

    Yes, I am full of wisdom. Or, as my husband puts it, full of ....

    Wait, this is a G-rated blog, right?

    Forget it.

  51. Tina:

    I did go AWOL for awhile. When I came back I even quoted from your liminal space article.

    I spent some time there. Wondering. Questioning. The like. Still don't have answers, but I've never quit writing. ???

    Now I can see the pictures without clicking on the names. Love it!!


  52. Thanks for letting me be a part of this fun post, Tina!

    Such great wisdom in the comments too. As I read through them I kept nodding my head and saying, "I've gotta remember that!"

    I also love that quote Tina gave in a post not too long ago about the cat sitting on the mat not being a story, unless the cat sits on somebody else's mat. That is too cute and too true!

    Word Verification is "binge." BAD word verification!

  53. The smartest advice I've ever gotten: "The best place to start a book is on one's knees."


  54. Totally agreed, Edwina.

    And is that a new photo. You look really glamorous. Love the red.

  55. So much great advice. I almost missed this because it didn't show up in Google Reader. But then I knew there was no way the Seekers missed a day so I checked. Sure enough, it had showed up earlier so GR didn't think it was a new post.

    The best advice I got has to do with writing every day. Victoria Christopher Murray said, "Make it easy for yourself. Set a goal of writing five words. Just five words. You'll always beat your goal and you'll be writing."

    When I've remember this, it has really helped me. Once, when I challenged myself to write every day for a month, there was a day when I wrote 12 words. 12. Longhand. But I was proud of myself because I had indeed met my goal and kept my first draft momentum going.

  56. What an inspiring post!

    So many bits of good advice.

    Mary's hits me the hardest because I have much of the art of writing down, except for the writing.

    One bit of advice that has stayed w/me is when Diana Cosby, told me to always be true to yourself. Sometimes, against the advice of others, she held true to her heart. She did and while working on manuscript #11, she finally sold. And has sold several since.


    bcountryqueen6 at msn dot com

  57. Oh, and one more thing that has really helped me.

    I've seen the suggestion a couple of places, but the one that helps me not dread my writing time is to sit the timer for 45 minutes and write as fast as I can. Then take a 15 minute break (I clean house, make phone calls, ect) then another 30 minute writing sprint.

    This helps me not to feel like a failure when I can't sit at a computer for an hour or two and write. My brain needs more breaks to get re-energized.


  58. I just popped over to Facebook and saw this on Cheryl Wyatt's post from 6 hours ago. Please be in prayer y'all!

    (perhaps this was posted earlier in the week and I missed it - if so, sorry to be late, but I'm praying now...)

    Cheryl - please let us know how he is!!!!!!

    Many emails checking on my husband, injured in head-on collision Wed. He is okay but driver of car that crossed center lane perished. He left behind 4 children under age 5. Sadly this family also lost their home & all contents to fire two weeks ago! Please pray for the Watson family & two airlifted occupants whose injuries were massive. Fund for Watson family @ Bank of Herrin, IL. Thank you!

  59. Great advice...all of it:) Needed the reminders: to Never Give Up; to have Emotion on Every Page; to treat writing like a job and walk into those 'Divine Connections' with other writers:) Love all those words of wisdom!

    I read a quote from Stephen King the other day that inspired me: "If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others; read a lot and write a lot! If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time(or the tools) to write. Simple as that. Reading is the creative centre of a writer's life!"

    Thanks for this post today...needed the reminders!

    Please enter my name for a chance to win the monogrammed note cards:)


  60. Wow, great advice from very accomplished women. I'm too "green" to give advice, so I'm soaking it all in this evening. Keli, I can't ever imagine you as a "tiny little ant at a picnic for giants". You are a mighty ant, in my opinion.

  61. KC - thanks for posting that.

    Cheryl - praying for all of you and the others.

  62. Cheryl:

    You have our prayers.

    Heard that story on our local news.


  63. Mary,
    Were you the one who told me:
    Get out while you still can??

  64. This is off topic, but go look at the Google logo today! It's amazing!

  65. The best writing advice I got was "Be prepared."
    Thanks for the interesting post.


  66. Tina,

    Thanks for including me in the most valuable post! Such good advice in the post and the comments!

  67. Pepper, I don't remember saying that. But I usually quit listening when I'm talking.

    I usually don't know what I'm talking about so I've found it best.

    Good luck taking my advice.


  68. LOL, get out while you still can, does sound like Mary.

    At least she didn't tell you to kill anyone.

  69. Loved everyone's advice! Thanks for sharing, and thanks, Tina, for pulling the blog together.

  70. Tina,
    She didn't have to tell me to do that.
    She knew...instinctively :-)
    Scary, I know.

  71. /cry/

    Daddy daughter date night was apparently successful.

    But they also made pillow cases. With fabric paint.

    That is now all over their good jammies from grandma :(.

    Found a couple of online solutions - anyone have any personal experience with getting fabric paint out of, well, fabric?

  72. Thanks for compiling that! Great advice everyone!

  73. What a great post! I especially like the Emotion on every page comment. And like Erika, I have a tendency to "baby" my characters, too! In real life I try to avoid conflict, so in writing it takes effort to switch thought patterns. When I was starting out 8 years ago, I read somewhere to throw out your first manuscript. Of course I didn't wanna hear that! I actually submitted it to Love Inspired and, you guessed it, got rejected! There was so much I needed to learn and of course my writing skills needed honing. (And when I go back and read it now, I have to laugh at the overdone, flowery style!) That advice may not apply to everyone, but it certainly did in my case. I guess the underlying point is to be patient and keep at it. It took 8 years for me to get The Call. God's timing is best!

  74. All this advice is so great- I need it all-I have nothing to offer, but what I can support is the prayer for Cheryl and her family and the trauma of the other family. What a great loss. Glad the community is responding,and I pray they all will feel the comfort of the Great Comforter.Bev S
    Bevschwind at hotmail dot com.

  75. The one piece of advice in this post that resonates most with me is: "Never give up."

    I love it.

  76. Wow, thanks for stopping by ladies, Bev, Eva, Mystica, Karen and Phyllis!

  77. Awesome post! Thanks so much. Very great advice!!!!