Unsolicited Advice for Writers

I saw this in a Facebook post and thought it was so appropriate that I had to share. The author is unknown, so I can’t give proper writing credit, but it was shared on Tamara Saviano’s FB page.

unsolicited advice

1. Keep your eyes on your own paper. Do not ever, ever, ever, ever compare yourself to other artists/writers.

2. Do not talk to your family about what you do and expect them to cheer you on. This has nothing to do with family approval.


3. Do not base the success of your entire career on one project.


4. Do not stick with what you know. Get outside your comfort zone as often as possible. 


5. Value your expertise. Really.


6. Do not let money dictate what you do. 


7. Do not bow to societal pressures.


8. Do not do work just because you think your friends would love or approve.

9. Never give investors and patrons creative input. Either they believe in you or they don’t.

10. Do not set unachievable/overwhelming goals to be accomplished by tomorrow. Procrastination is a good friend to artists. You need time to dream.

I could relate to all of these, but particularly loved the ones about getting outside my comfort zone as often as possible and taking time to dream.

How about you? Did any of these resonate with you?

Taking a break?

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Or is it? Are you like me and feel that you have to work like a Trojan workhorse every day, day in and day out?

But what happens when we do? I can only speak from my own personal experience.

  1. Creativity all but comes to a screeching halt
  2. I find it hard to shut my brain off at night for sleep
  3. I feel exhausted all the time
  4. I get grouchy when I am not creating
  5. I get tunnel vision

Here’s the truth of it. Most of us are ambitious and anxious to write great books and get them into the hands of readers. But, no matter how much we do, there is always more to do: more writing, more marketing, more admin. A writer’s work is never done.

Writer's Work

I have one novel already written and two more in the series vaguely outlined and waiting. I fear I have failed miserably, as an author, this year. Yes, I put out several short stories and maintained my blog, but have not given much more than a glance toward my next full-length book. There’s a couple of reasons for that. I have been in this state of limbo since last year, waiting with bated breath to see if a publisher will take the first book of The White Rune Series. Guess what? I’m still waiting.

So, why couldn’t I force myself to work on the next one while I’m waiting? That would be the smart thing to do. I guess the truthful answer is I need to feel like it is worthwhile. Yes, I know. Everything we are inspired to do is worthwhile in some way or another. Maybe the better word for it is validation.

In telling Rick’s and my stories, I had passion. I was driven to get the story down and out into the hands of readers. I need to feel that burning passion again.

burning passion

I’m open to any advice. My sister tells me that if you don’t write a story, you lose it. I don’t want to lose them because they are good stories. Such a dilemma.

Then I have to ask myself this question. If the publisher that currently has the manuscript passes on it, what then?

Yes, I know I can self-publish, but I don’t have another $2,000 to $3,000 to invest with little hope of ever recouping. Since I suck at cover design and formatting, I’d have to pay for both of those services plus editing. If anyone ever said writing and publishing books is easy, they told a big lie.

So, the bottom line to all of this is that I took a break from working on the novels. Is that good? I suppose only time will tell.

How about you? Do you take breaks? Do you have books waiting to be published? Please tell me I’m not in this boat alone.

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Everyone who leaves a comment will be entered into a drawing for my latest collection of short stories, “Two Shorts and a Snort.” I’m giving away three eBooks.

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This book consists of two short stories and one poem from award-winning author, Jan Sikes, in response to a writing challenge from the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

Obsessed:

How far will one man go to satisfy an obsession? The price could cost him his life.

Maggie:

It is possible to pray up a baby? Frank and Mary Pyburn are convinced that is what they’ve done.

Friends Instead of Lovers:

Sometimes it’s better to remain friends instead of giving in to desires and crossing a line.

Why I Write

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Why do I write? Why does a painter paint and a sculptor sculpt? For the same reason I write.
I am passionate about my writing projects. I am driven to tell a story with the hope that it might touch someone’s heart or life in a positive way.

The stories I write (so far) are true stories about the journey of two people moving through adversity in order to grow and learn to become better humans. I believe with all my heart there is something that is worthy of sharing in these stories. Bits and pieces of wisdom, hard-learned lessons and above and beyond it all, love…True love that you only read about in stories and yet this is truth. The old saying that truth is stranger than fiction fits the stories that I share through my writing.

I started writing when I was a young girl, around the age of eight. The first real piece I wrote was a gospel song. I had an uncle whom I loved dearly, but he was an alcoholic and his drinking caused such family discord that at times, resulted in him being banished from our home. So, I wrote a song about Uncle Luke finding Jesus. That is my first memory of feeling the passion deep down to my toes for writing.

Reading has been a true love of mine from the time I learned recognition of words. I loved fairy tales and checked out the Grimm’s book of fairy tales from the school library so many times, they had to create a new card for it.

Books transport us to places and events that we would never be able to physically attend. We can be in Paris, France or the Appalachian mountains or on top of the North Pole by turning pages in books. That is true freedom!

Through reading, I learned about making love (Harold Robbins) and how to be part of a motorcycle club (a book penned by the legendary Sonny Barger). I learned how to dress elegantly and be the ultimate hostess. I learned about life during the depression era (Grapes of Wrath) and life in the roaring twenties (The Great Gatsby) and on and on. By reading, we have the opportunity to explore many of the teachings of the masters who have lived on earth (Ram, Buddah, Krishna, Jesus, Black Elk, Chief Joseph Nez Perce) just to name a few.

What an incredible gift the written word is. It is hard to name a favorite author because my life has been touched by so many. I love all genres and formats of writing.
I get a thrill from reading Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Robbins because they dare to defy most every rule ever made about writing and it works for them.

My sister, Linda Broday, is a published author. Imagine that…it runs in the family. She has been my mentor as well as my sounding board and my inspiration to try harder and reach farther in refining my craft of writing.
My late husband was a lifetime singer/songwriter and at fifty, he taught me to play guitar. My love for music along with the written word gave me the tools I needed to write songs and I absolutely love it. As a result, I’ve written a rather large catalog of songs over the years with many of them being recorded.

Since our lives revolved and evolved around music, along with my book projects, I also create and release a music cd to accompany each one. The music matches the time period of the story. Perhaps this is a bit unusual, but it works for me.

My first book, Flowers and Stone, is set in the West Texas honky-tonks in 1970. It portrays the life of a Texas musician and the lifestyle that went with it during that time period. It is a love story with lots of music history and events woven throughout it. Then comes the twist when Luke Stone is arrested and convicted of bank robbery (a crime he did not commit).
The cd released along with this book is titled Rick Sikes and the Rhythm Rebels – Early recordings and is music taken off 45 rpm records that were made in the late 60s.

The second book, The Convict and the Rose, is due for release in the next week and is the sequel to Flowers and Stone. It opens with Luke Stone’s arrival at Leavenworth Penitentiary in Kansas and shows an angry, bitter and rebellious man. It take him a while to figure out prison wasn’t going to change him and he certainly wasn’t going to change prison. Determined to find a way to be positive and worthwhile in an extremely negative situation, he manages to crawl forward one tiny step at a time. The woman he left behind, holding his heart, tries to find her way in life without him. She tries many different avenues…From drugs to gurus to different relationships…none are successful. I won’t give away the ending of the story here so will leave it at that.

The cd released along with this book is as dear to my heart as the book itself. There are twelve tracks on the cd and all but one were actually recorded inside prison in a crude makeshift studio. The title track was written by Rick Sikes but never recorded. Jamie Richards, a talented singer/songwriter in his own right, agreed to put music to and record the lyrics and the end result is the amazing rendition of Forty Foot High, which is also the title of the cd.

So, now you know the story of why I write. I sincerely hope you’ll check out both of these books and while you do that, I’ll be working feverishly on the third and last book of the trilogy.
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