Sunday, January 27, 2013


 by: Joelle Charbonneau

The more I go to events and talk to readers, the more I hear the question “what advice would you give to an aspiring author?”  Yikes!  This question always freaks me out a little because I every writer has a different process and a unique way of coming up with story ideas.  I don’t want to say something that overturns someone’s creative applecart.  I mean…how terrible would that be!?!

However, since the question seems to be frequently asked, I have come up with three pieces of advice that I believe are not only safe, but important to impart to any new writer.

1)      Read.  All writers that I know are readers.  We love stories.  Reading other people’s stories helps fill your creative well and while reading you will also be able to absorb the types of writing techniques that you will be interested in using.

2)      Write every day.  No, I’m not talking about sitting down at the keyboard for hour after hour day after day.   But I do think that those who are interested in becoming serious about their writing need to make writing a habit.  The best athletes and musicians practice every day.  Writers need to do the same.  Set aside fifteen minutes a day and write.  Stretch those muscles and you’ll find they will grow in strength.

3)      Finish what you start.  This is the most important piece of advice I can give.  I cannot stress how important.  If you read this blog, you will find that I’ve said it before and clearly I am saying it again.  FINISH THE BOOK.  When I started writing, I knew nothing about creating a novel. The only thing I did know is that books had a beginning, a middle and an end.  So my goal when writing my first book was to fulfill those three requirements.  I sat my butt in the chair and wrote.  I didn’t worry about making it perfect.  That could come later.  The only way I could ever figure out how to make the story better was to tell it.  The whole thing. 

The importance of finishing what you start cannot be overstressed.  Not only will hitting THE END help you understand where your story is going and how you need to revise in order to better get there –it teaches you that you can get to THE END.  That you can finish a book.  That lesson will be one of the most important you’ll ever learn as an author.  It is a lesson I use each and every day.


Steven J. Wangsness said...

Also, Be born with talent!

Blythe Gifford said...

Agree 100% with all three! Although, to be honest, the more time I have to spend writing, the less time I have for reading...

Kathryn Craft said...

Rock solid advice, Joelle. Hmm...wondering what I'd say. I'd probably add not to rush your first book to publication with taking the needed time to learn your craft. The stakes rise once you have a first book out and people (readers, publishers) are going to expect you to deliver.

Joelle Charbonneau said...

Blythe - that is the one downside I have found to be an author - less time to read. Yet, I find it is important to make time to read at least something every day.

Jay Stringer said...

4. Coffee.