I think many aspiring writers with blogs have a terrible problem: what do I blog about? I certainly have this problem. Since this is a writing blog with the occasional diversion into geek land, I feel that most of the posts should have something to do with writing. However, and here is the problem, I don’t feel I’m an expert when it comes to writing. Yes, I’ve learned some things from writing, books, and working with a clever agent, but there are countless blogs with people like me. Taking writing advice from me is one step up from taking advice from some-random-dude-on-the-Internet.
So what the heck should I blog about? I have done a few pieces on writing advice, but not that many. I’ve also talked a few times about the querying process since I’m been through it, and it went pretty well for me. The rest is a mixed bag of personal stuff (including puppy pictures), things about my own writing, tech-y stuff, links to other articles, audiobook reviews, the offsides rule in soccer, and pun runs. Hey, just because I think my posts should relate to writing doesn’t mean they all will.
So, basically, don’t expect a lot of writing advice here because, honestly, other people do it better. My agent is one of those people so check out her blog, The Blabbermouth, for some first grade advice on writing and querying. There are plenty of others too.
But there is something I can talk about since I’ve been there, and that’s evaluating advice. Here’s the thing, there’s a ton of advice out there from people who are great writers to people who are struggling for anything to put on their blog. There are loads of books about writing with loads of advice, sometimes contradictory. There’s the advice you’ll get from forums and fellow writers. All of this is nice, but there are two things that are more effective than all of that: reading good books and writing terrible ones.
Reading good books is obvious. There’s nothing better than a good example for learning something, and the more you read with an eye toward writing, the more you’ll learn about what good authors do. Good books will break the ‘rules’ all the time, but they do the important things well: voice, plot, dialogue, and characters (and probably some stuff I’m leaving out). Do a great job on all of those, and your manuscript will shine. Sure, rubbing fried chicken on it will make your manuscript shine too, but I’m sure you know what I mean.
Writing terrible books is key as well. That’s because, with the occasional exception, your first draft of your first book will be terrible. Mine certainly was. However the simple act of writing and fixing it up will be exceptionally educational. So don’t worry if you haven’t read every book about writing or haunted the blogs of editors, agents, and writers. Just start writing, and the knowledge will come.
So there’s some advice even it comes from a dubious source–me.