What I Learned about Writing Advice by Heather Weidner
Try new things. Learn the techniques and conventions of your genre. If they don’t improve your writing process, ditch them and try something else. You have to find what works with your style and your life. When I was reading all the advice books, I was bombarded with outline, don’t outline, write every day, write when you feel like it, make a schedule, set a word count, don’t pressure yourself with daily word counts, use this style, and don’t use that style. It made my head spin.
This is what worked for me. Again, if it doesn’t work for you, try another technique. Everyone is different and has his/her own preferences.
Writing is a business, and I needed to treat my work that way. It took me five years to finish my first novel and another two to get it published. I had to be more productive, and I needed a schedule. I knew that if I wanted to be serious about my writing and to have a series, then I definitely needed to speed up my process. I outline each book now. I also set daily word count goals when I’m working on the first draft. If I stick with my plan, I can usually finish a complete first draft in 2-3 months. I also don’t edit as I write. I finish the first draft and then move to the editing stage.
Your first draft is not your final draft. It takes a lot of rework and reviews to get it to a publishable state. There are very few writers who can create an almost-perfect manuscript on the first try.
I can’t state it enough. Writing is a business. Authors are required to maintain social media presences, host events, and promote their books. You need to make sure that one part of the writing life (e.g., writing, researching, revising, marketing, promoting) doesn’t take over and dominate all of your time. It’s a balance.
Remember, your job is to write your next book.
What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
Through the years, Heather Weidner has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager. She writes the Pearly Girls Mysteries, the Delanie Fitzgerald Mysteries, The Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries, and The Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mysteries.
Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, Deadly Southern Charm, and Murder by the Glass, and she has non-fiction pieces in Promophobia and The Secret Ingredient: A Mystery Writers’ Cookbook.
Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers.