I interview writers every week here on the Booktopia Blog. My Ten Terrifying Questions have been answered by over 250 published authors ranging from mega selling global stars like Jackie Collins and Lee Child to brilliant, relatively unknown debut authors such as Miles Franklin shortlisted Favel Parret and Rebecca James.
In each of these interviews I ask the following question:
Q. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Now, for the edification of aspiring writers everywhere, I will pull together answers to this question from three very different writers and post them here once week. Some will inspire, some will confound but all will be interesting and helpful in their own way…
“It’s not a game for sissies. If at first you don’t succeed try! Try! And then try some more.”
“Write every day, for as much time as you can spare, because it isn’t a craft that can be learned through random bursts of creativity, but rather slow, steady, and focused efforts. Read in as wide a range as possible, read interviews with the writers you admire, try to find out as much as possible about the process. The craft should be viewed as a constant education.”
“I get a lot of emails to website (www.alexandrapotter.com) asking for advice on how to get a novel published. And I say the same thing over and over: If I can do it, so you can you. But you have to really REALLY want it.
I love being a writer, but it’s not all about book launches and bestseller lists and glossy interviews. Writing isn’t glamorous. In fact most of the time it can be deeply frustrating, lonely, terrifying and long… very, very long. A book takes me eighteen months from start to finish and a lot of that time is spent battling writer’s book and thinking it’s all a big mistake and is anyone ever going to read this!
So you have to be determined. You have to keep putting in the hours, even when you only have one deleted sentence at the end of a weekend you’d devoted to writing a whole chapter. You have to believe you can do it, even when that inner critical voice of yours is yelling, ‘Give up! It’s rubbish’.
And you just have to keep writing. Day in, day out. Like you’re running a marathon. A few words. A line. A whole paragraph. Until one day you will finally reach the finishing line, and you will look up from your computer screen and realise that all those words have made a novel. And the pain will all have been worth it. Trust me. There is no feeling in the world like it.
Just don’t give up.“