Throughout my writing career, I’ve listened to countless authors on blogs, podcasts, and interviews talking about the advice they received when starting out. Learning from mentors helps us to improve and evolve in our chosen field, and I still recall the top tips given to me at the start of my writing journey. In honour of that, and to help the next generation of writers’ young and old, I wanted to start a feature whereby established authors impart their words of wisdom and share their top ten writing tips.
First up for the challenge is romance author Tracie Delaney.
Top 10 Writing Tips by Tracie Delaney
Tracie loves to write steamy contemporary romance books that centre around hot men, strong women, and then watch with glee as they battle through real life problems. Of course, there’s always a perfect Happy Ever After ending (eventually).
When she isn’t writing or sitting around with her head stuck in a book, she can often be found watching The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones or any tennis match involving Roger Federer. Coffee is her regular saviour.
Here are Tracie’s top 10 writing tips:
- We’ve all heard the old adage “write every day” and while that’s great advice, and I’d love to follow it, my life simply doesn’t allow me to. However, I always do something to do with writing whether that be rereading a couple of chapters of a WIP, editing or proofreading depending on where I am in my schedule, or reading. I consider reading to be really important, especially as when you begin writing and particularly publishing, time becomes a very limited resource and reading often suffers. However, I certainly write at least five days per week – even if it’s only 200 words.
- Write as though you’re the only one who will ever read it (aka write for yourself). This is especially important when writing romance. If I allowed myself to think about people reading some of the… hotter scenes, I’d never get a word down!
- Find a great critique partner. I’m so lucky with mine, although be prepared – the good ones won’t hold back! She forces me to work much harder, but I always end up with a much stronger book at the end because of her invaluable input.
- Don’t read reviews. I’m going to say that again. DON’T READ REVIEWS! J R Ward recently wrote an amazing piece on her Facebook page where she talks about reviews are for readers, not writers and how she “stays in her land”. I loved that. I’d seriously recommend searching out the post and reading every word. Twice.
- When you’re in the zone and your muse is talking, take advantage because those times don’t happen every day. Celebrate them. They’ll carry you through the tougher days when even writing a single sentence feels like climbing a mountain.
- Exercise. Try to get out of the chair and take a walk. Even twenty minutes around the block will help, especially when you’ve found yourself sitting there for an hour staring at the screen, willing the words to come. I often get my best ideas or find a solution to a plot hole when I’m walking.
- Sprints… these are my saviour. They’re not for everyone, but if you’re a procrastinator like me, then sprints really hold your feet to the fire. I get at least twice the amount of words down when I’m sprinting as when I’m writing on my own.
- Learn resilience. This is a tough business, and it’s only getting more challenging. At every stage, you’re risking someone hating on your baby. Get over it. Fast. Learn that not every book is for every individual and you are never going to please everyone.
- You can’t write by committee. Newer writers often fall foul of this – I know I did. Every single person who reads your work has a different view. Some hate the protagonists, some love them, some think the guy should or shouldn’t have done this or that, or the woman should stand up for herself more (or not stand up for herself as much). Seriously, if you try to blend all these opinions into a book, it’ll end up a mess. Stick true to the story you want to tell and while you should always listen to feedback, especially from your trusted readers, consider every piece carefully. Of course, if five people say the same thing, you might want to take a very hard look (translated – change whatever the thing is they’ve all complained about!)
- Don’t spend too much time panicking your first draft is awful. It probably is, or at the very least, it needs a shit-ton of work. Get to the end, then you have something to polish. Trying to edit and change things as you go through distracts you from this goal. Make an editing checklist, note down anything you think you need to change (ie if your characters have led you in a different direction from what you originally intended) and then move on.
Huge thanks to Tracie for sharing her top tips with us. If you want to check out her latest release FRICTION, which is out for release on August 23rd (available for pre-order NOW), then click HERE.
Our new racing driver.
God on the track.
And the man I didn’t know I wanted until I fell into his arms and kissed him before uttering a single word.
He’s resisting me at every turn.
But he’s wasting his time.
I always get what I want.
And I want Jared Kane.
The boss’s daughter.
Spoiled, entitled, tenacious, and spunky.
She’s completely off limits.
Until I’m warned not to touch her.
Then it’s game on.
Except taking her to my bed might cost me everything I’ve fought hard for.
No woman is worth that.
Not even Paisley Nash.