Welcome to week 7 of our Top 10 Writing Tips by… feature. If you’ve missed any of the other top tip posts you can find them all HERE. Please feel free to pop over and connect with the wonderful authors who have taken part.
Next up for the challenge is crime writer, Lisa Sell.
Lisa Sell is a thriller, crime, and mystery writer who also scribbles short stories.
To combat writer’s bum and keep mentally fit, Lisa is a runner. The consequence is she’s now a running bore but is proud of her achievements.
When she’s reading, Lisa practically hoovers up books. The to-be-read pile has become a tower, threatening to topple on her when she’s sleeping.
Lisa’s cats, Feegle and Wullie, try to help her write but often fail. The furry pests demand attention and desk space. Lisa is currently applying for cat wrangling to be recognised as an Olympic sport.
Lisa’s Top 10 Writing Tips:
- Don’t expect a specific writer to give you the best writing tips. Sounds weird because I’m giving you advice? Hear me out. Liking an author’s work doesn’t necessarily mean their advice is relevant for you. Consult different sources. Sift through, try things out, and see what works for you. Stephen King may not be your guru. Shocking but true.
- You don’t have to write every day. It’s sad how some people guilt writers into this demanding “rule”. Life often gets in the way. The day job saps your energy, your family demands attention, illness strikes, and the like. Don’t feel guilty for not writing. Take a break if you want or need to. You’ll produce better work after a day off if you need it. Slogging it out, exhausted, produces gibberish. Writers do lots of other things apart from writing too. Research, promotion, querying, submitting, and plotting are also part of the writing process.
- Don’t be ashamed of your work or genre. Don’t let anyone make you feel shame either. If you enjoy writing steamy novels, go for it. Plenty of people love reading them. Ignore book snobs. They’re not your people.
- Give yourself permission to be crap. Let the first draft be dreadful. Just get it written. If the next few drafts aren’t rocking your world, that’s fine too. Keep on keeping on. Little nuggets will appear. You really can shine a turd.
- Read in your genre. It sounds obvious. You’d be surprised how many people decide to write something, for instance, crime, without reading a crime novel. It may sound glamorous and gritty to be a crime writer. Believe me, it’s not. Write it if you know it and have a passion for it.
- Fill your life with things other than writing. This stops you from boring your family and friends to death. I like running. If I don’t run, I’m a prisoner in my house, of my own making. Writers tend to stay in their caves. Getting outside shows me there’s a world out there; that place I write about. Find some hobbies, learn things, and speak to people. Gain experiences.
- Pace yourself. If you’re writing one novel, editing another, plotting a third, and promoting something else, you’ll burn out. You don’t have to do everything at once. This is a lesson I’ve had to learn. A calendar and smart scheduling are lifesavers.
- Don’t give up. It wasn’t long ago I submitted my novel and received many rejections from agents and publishers. It’s demoralising. Sometimes you’ll want to quit. If you believe in your writing ability and your novel, keep going. When I submitted Hidden to Bloodhound Books, I decided it was the last time. The rest is history.
- Way back when, the advice was to write what you know. Then it became don’t write what you know; it’s boring and unimaginative. If you’re a decent writer, using your experiences in your work is effective. Hidden is set in a 1980s Oxfordshire council estate. I lived on a 1980s Oxfordshire council estate. Who better to describe the setting and the people who live there?
- The moment writing becomes just a job, reassess. You can be an author for decades, churning out novels on a conveyor belt. Where’s the enjoyment and enthusiasm? You are allowed to enjoy your work. I didn’t believe this until I became a writer. I’ve had awful jobs I dreaded going to. I’ve never felt that way about writing. I don’t look forward to certain parts: writing a synopsis, drafting eleventy-billion times, and proofreading. Overall, though, I love what I do. Fall in love with writing, stay faithful, and you’ll have a love affair for life.
Huge thanks to Lisa for sharing her top tips with us. If you want to check out her new release HIDDEN, which is out for release TODAY (August 27th) then visit Amazon here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hidden-absolutely-gripping-crime-mystery/dp/1912986612
If you’d like to visit Lisa’s website/blog, click here: http://www.lisasell.co.uk or find out more by following her on social media: