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  • Writer's pictureJenna Moreci

Popular Writing and Publishing Tips That Didn't Work for Me

HelloOoOo everybody!


Have you ever looked at popular writing advice and said to yourself, “Absolutely not!” That's what we're talking about today. I'm breaking down the ten pieces of popular writing and publishing advice that just didn't work for me. This topic was requested by one of my newsletter subscribers, Demi. If you'd like to request topics in the future, you've gotta subscribe to my newsletter. It's linked here.


Please note, just because this advice didn't work for me, doesn't mean it's all bad advice. In fact, some of this advice is pretty solid. It just didn't work for me due to my specific quirks and lifestyle. And some of this advice is shitty any way you slice it. The point is I'm going through each piece of advice and explaining why it didn't work for me, and why it may or may not work for you. We're all different people. That's the beauty of this industry, it isn't one size fits all. Let’s get into it.



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Number 1: Don’t Edit As You Go

It's highly recommended that writers do not edit while writing the first draft, which makes perfect sense. Typically if writers edit while they're writing the first draft they get caught in this never-ending rewrite loop and they never finish the book. However, there's a small subset of writers who will be frozen in place if they're not able to edit mid-draft. I’m one of those writers. Blame it on my need for control, blame it on the neurodivergence, blame it on the fact that I'm a picky bitch. If I can't clean things up throughout my first draft, that draft is never getting finished. My typical cycle is to spend a day writing without reading or editing any of it. The next day I read over what I’ve written, and I make short, easy edits. If something's too complicated to fix, I highlight it and save it for later. Then I continue drafting and the process repeats itself.


Number 2: Rapid Release Is the Way To Go

The rapid-release method is often proclaimed as the number one option for indie writers. Rapid release is exactly what it sounds like; it means you release books very quickly, often multiple books a year. Some rapid-release authors release as many as twenty books a year. This method works for a lot of writers for obvious reasons. It's all about quantity, the more books you have out the greater opportunity you have for sale. However, from my research, it does seem that a lot of rapid-release novels appeal to serial readers. These are readers who gobble up as much content within a particular genre as they can regardless of who wrote it. If that's your goal, knock yourself out. But my goal was to create a vibrant and loyal readership. Additionally, rapid release also tends to focus on quantity over quality which is something I'm just not comfortable with.


Number 3: Create a Routine

Creating a routine is pivotal for a vast majority of writers. A writing routine is essentially where you create a daily or weekly routine where you're expected to write a certain number of words or write for a certain amount of time, on each day or within that week. I highly recommend doing this. If I could, I would. However, due to the unique nature of my lifestyle, I can't. Not only am I a full-time writer, but I am also a caregiver. My partner is disabled and suffers from a chronic pain condition known as CRPS. CRPS is extremely unpredictable which makes maintaining a routine pretty much impossible. Thus, I have to plan my schedule on a week-by-week basis and work it around his current health status. Thus, creating a consistent writing routine for me would always result in failure. Instead, I assess how Cliff is doing, and then plan my week around that. I'll locate the days when he doesn't have doctor appointments, or he's mostly independent, and those will be my writing days. If you're in a similar situation this might work for you, but if you're like most writers, creating a writing routine is the superior option.


Number 4: Your Workspace Shouldn’t Be the Same As Your Resting Space

I understand the reasoning for this. If you work in the same place as you rest, then when you're resting, you'll probably start thinking about working. For a lot of people this is valid and thus writing in an office makes sense. But I'm not a lot of people. I'm a cyborg bitch. Ultimately, the more comfortable I am, the easier it is for me to write. And what's the most comfortable place in my house? My king-sized bed. When I'm writing in my studio, outside, or even on my couch, I'm not as productive because all I can focus on are my sensory issues. But when I'm in bed, the words flow, I'm calm and my ass is cradled by comfortable goodness. Has it affected the way I sleep? Fuck if I know, my sleep patterns were messed up long before I became a writer.


Number 5: Channel Your Muse

For a while, there was a popular piece of writing advice floating around that encouraged writers to see their talent and inspiration as a gift from their muse. If they had writer's block, blame it on the muse. If the book sucked, blame it on the muse. The idea was essentially to use this "muse" as a way to alleviate pressure. They're not in control, some otherworldly entity is. While I can see the benefit of this mindset, there isn't a single universe where this would work for me. First of all, I'm a control freak. I need to feel in control in order to be productive. I also feel that passing off mistakes as the fault of a muse relinquishes accountability and writers should be accountable. We're creating art for an impressionable audience. We should feel a duty to our readers. Basically being in the driver's seat is a comfortable place for me, and leaving the ownership in the hands of an imaginary muse isn't gonna fly.


Number 6: Write Out of Order

“If you're inspired to write a scene, even if it occurs sixteen chapters later, write that scene. Follow your heart, and lead with your creative mind.” Listen, this advice sucks. I'm just gonna say it. I understand the intention. If you're really excited about a scene, it's very tempting to write it in full. And don't get me wrong, I sorta do an adjacent version of this. If I have dialogue or a fight scene lingering in my mind, I'll write it out in shorthand. Then I'll shove that shorthand into my outline so I can elaborate on it once I reach that chapter.


But writing entire scenes out of order is a recipe for disaster. One, your story changes as you write. Even if you have an outline, things will change, your story isn't set in stone. I've never followed my outline to a T, there was always something new that happened. Two, your talent grows as you write. That means if you write chapter sixteen before chapter one, chapter sixteen is probably gonna be your worst chapter. And three, your characters grow throughout the story. Your MC is gonna be a different person by the time you reach that scene. Will their actions and reactions even make sense by the time you get there? With those things considered, every single time I wrote a scene out of order, I had to rewrite it. Take from me, write it out in bullet points, and use it as a guide for later.


Number 7: Don’t Make Your Book Available for Pre-Sale

This is a common piece of advice for indie authors who fit the following criteria: A, they don't plan to do much marketing. B, they have a smaller audience. And C, they want to hit number one on an Amazon bestseller list. If all of these points apply to you, then not making your book available for pre-sale is a logical idea. None of these points apply to me. Well, one kinda does but still. I'm a marketing nut; if I'm going to be releasing a book, I'm going to do as much marketing as possible. Additionally, I'm fortunate enough to have a large audience. Do you know why? Because of all that marketing that I did! Because of these two facets, my books have consistently hit number one on multiple Amazon bestseller lists. Thus, there isn't much incentive for me to skip the pre-sale step. A pre-sale window simply means more orders, and I'm not gonna say no to that.


Number 8: The Villain Is Always the Hero of Their Own Story

Historically speaking, plenty of villains have been the heroes of their stories. They see their goal as a betterment for society, and if that's the idea behind your villain, have at it. My issue is with the word “always.” Do all villains see themselves as the hero? Hardly. Most villains throughout history were acting on elitism, entitlement, and greed. They knew they were making choices that could hurt a lot of people, but their goal took precedence. So claiming that all villains should see themselves as heroes is simply bad advice. Now, it may depend on your definition of the word hero. If you mean “hero” as in the main character, then yes, villains definitely see themselves as the MC. After all, that's how entitlement works. But if you're looking at “hero” based on its definition, which is more or less a courageous "good guy" with noble intentions, then no, not all villains see themselves that way. Beware of writing advice that speaks in absolutes.


Number 9: Write Every Day

Have you ever noticed this advice usually comes from men? Men who have wives to handle all the childcare and household duties. And if a woman says this, they're usually either single or financially supported. Or they're none of those things and their lives are in absolute shambles. Just sayin’. You don't have to write every day. I don't write every day. Sometimes writing advice is full of shit.





Number 10: Pantsing Is the Only Way To Be a Real Writer

Cue the angry pantsers. I wanna make a note: Pantsers get mad at me all the time, just because I encourage writers to consider outlining. You do realize my advice isn’t law, right? You can do whatever you want. Your hands are not tied.


I just don't get it. When I read advice encouraging people to pants, I don't get offended. I just think “Welp, this advice isn't for me.” It's not personal.


Anywho, for those who don't know, pantsing means writing by the seat of your pants. You don't plan beforehand, you just kind of go with the flow. For some writers, this is the only way to go. If they can't pants a book, it's not going to get finished. And that's fine. But I started my journey pantsing for a decade. And I never finished a single book because inevitably the same thing would happen; I’d write myself into a wall and I'd have no idea what to write next because I didn't have a plan. That's when I finally started to implement outlining, and lo and behold, I was finally able to publish a book! And then another book, and then another book, and then another book. Then I mingled in the writing community and learned that outlining or planning in some way is the majority outlook. It's not the only practice, but it's the practice that works for most writers. Not all writers, pantsers! Do what you want. Stop crying, you're scaring my dog. Ultimately, at least in a novel format, pantsing doesn't work for me, so it's a piece of advice I usually ignore.


So that's all I've got for you today!

Author Jenna Moreci.

These ten popular writing and publishing tips didn't work for my lifestyle. Do any of these tips work for you or are you like me? Let me know in the comments below.




 

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