Saturday, February 25, 2023

Best Writing Advice by Kait Carson

Someone recently asked me for my best writing advice. The question gave me pause. Faced with a newbie writer looking for guidance, I felt a heavy responsibility. Whatever I said had to be both attainable and accurate. Thousands of quotes floated through my mind. Write what you know; butt in chair, fingers on keyboard; at that very moment Hemingway’s open a vein and bleed felt like the most honest suggestion! When the haze of possibilities lifted, I gently suggested that the best advice was different for everyone, but the advice that worked for me was get out of your way and write!


There is no easy way to write. Well, not for most of us. I do know some authors who sit down and write a book from start to end in a week. They are the exception, though. For the rest of us, it’s like square dancing. Two steps forward, two steps back, and a do-si -o or two before the curtsey.


The two steps forward are easy. Those are the words that flow. It’s the back steps that will kill you. That’s when you write those flowing words, and then read a blog that purports to have a better method, or a book about writing faster, or an article about a more efficient story structure, or a…. You get the idea. If you’re like me, you look at what you’ve written, and wonder if trying out xyz will make it better, or easier, or more commercial. That means those flowing words get a rewrite, or your process is revamped. In any event, you fall prey to do-si-do and instead of moving ahead, reinvent the wheel.


Here's my advice. STOP THAT! Get out of the way. Put those words on the page, sit, stay, write. There is no magic formula to writing. What works for you, works for you. It may not work for Stephen King or even Hemingway, but they’re not writing your story. You are. Keep learning, of course, use suggestions from others that complement your writing style, but trust yourself first.


Writers and readers, do you tend to stick with what works for you or are you always seeking a better way?

Like her protagonists, Kait is an accomplished SCUBA diver, hiker, and critter lover. She lives with her husband, four rescue cats and flock of conures in the Crown of Maine where long, dark, nights give birth to flights of fictional fantasies.

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  1. I do try experiments, most of which I abandon. However, the ones that work are what have made me a better writer and I wouldn't have incorporated those without the failures.

  2. I find that different things work for different people, and different things work for me at different times. Sometimes it's the project; sometimes it's how I'm feeling, both physically and mentally, and sometimes I have no idea why one day a story will flow, practically writing itself, and the next time I will struggle with the most basic of tasks on a new project.

  3. My favorite pieces of writing advice can be summed up in a few words each:
    "Sit, stay, write."
    "Revision is the key to success."
    "Bash it out now, tart it up later."
    I'm adding "Stop that!" to my list, Kait. I love it. Thanks!

  4. You said it all, Kait. "There is no magic formula to writing."

  5. I like "stop that!" I recently turned a secondary character sketch into a short story. Who knew? We all have our own way of doing things.

  6. Great advice. Seems like I spend more time trying to find my way then to get out of my way.

  7. My apologies to all commenters! I was down for the count yesterday with a health emergency.

    Thank you all for your comments and kind words! Molly, I'm adding "Bash it out now, tart it up later" to my list!