Carrie Butler is celebrating her blogiversary! She’s hosting a blogfest called How I Found the Write Path. See who is participating, and sign up yourself.
The Prompt: Please write a letter/note to yourself when you first started writing toward publication.
Since I often talk to myself (in third person even), this was easy. Below is the advice I’d give, if I could send a letter back through time.
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Hi, it’s me, your future self. No, this isn’t some scam trying to get your money. Go on, I’ll wait while you check the headers and track the IP.
You done? Okay, fine, so you’re still skeptical. I’ll prove it.
You know that masterpiece you’ve had stewing in your mind since you were 15? Yeah, Thanmir War. Guess what! It’s going to completely change. First-draft beta readers will hate your main characters, not to mention all your info-dumping confuses them. You’ll spend hours reworking both.
Before you start tossing out all your work, let me tell you two valuable words that will save your caboose—ones I had to discover on my own.
Remember those words. Find them online. Actively seek them out in your community. These people will change your life.
No, that’s not me being melodramatic (kinda sounds that way, though, doesn’t it?). I know what your life is like right now. Limited connections with absolutely no idea where to start. It’s just you and that story you’ve been terrified to show to anyone, afraid they’ll judge you.
Get over it. They’ll judge your writing before they judge you.
Critique partners will help hone your skill, point out flaws you never noticed, and suggest rewording that gives a whole new perspective on word delivery. Not only will these people turn you into a better writer, they’ll become your friends.
Okay, maybe I am being mushy now.
Well, my dear past self, another thing critique partners teach you is brevity. Yes, you, Miss Long-Winded, can learn to write something quick and snappy.
With that, I leave you to your writing.
Author of the Niniers Series
“I give permission for my entry to be included in the e-book compilation without royalties and/or separate compensation.”
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Are you participating? What advice would you give?
53 thoughts on “How I Found the Write Path”
I talk to myself in third person too. I can be such a whiner, I have to have continuous butt kicks to keep me moving in the right direction! My CPs have become some of my best friends.
Glad I’m not the only one who does that!
Those two words are powerful!
What we wrote as teens needs a lot of work, but it is possible to produce something of value.
Yeah, what I originally stewed up is totally different from what it turned into.
So glad to read a POSITIVE post about critiquing. Good job, Loni!
What a fab letter to your old (young) self. And I love what you wrote about people judging your writing, not you. And helping you.
This looks like such fun. Thanks for sharing the link. I’m headed over to Carrie’s blogfest!
Sweet! Looking forward to reading your letter!
Yes! I don’t know how I coped before I found my critique partners. They’ve definitely helped me become a better writer! 🙂
Track the IP address. hahaha Too funny!
Agreed! Critique partners are wonderful!
…a necessary evil, but wonderful. 😛
Aw, come on, I’m not that evil. 😀
Critique partners can be invaluable when it comes to our manuscripts. This is something which took a while for me to succumb to, especially since I’ve felt overwhelmed with the whole having to become an extrovert thing. Finding others to read my work meant having to navigate and get a feel for the writing community… scary stuff this previous introvert! (But I still love hiding behind my desk with two, three, sometimes four cups of coffee in the wee hours of the morning=)
Lovely letter, Loni. I’m happy to be connecting with new authors and bloggers through Carrie’s blogfest.
I’m not quite what you’d call an extrovert, but I’ve forced myself to interact. I particularly like meeting other people through these blogfests. 🙂
My crit partners are the greatest! I’ve been workshopping with some of them for years, and the new members are amazing too. Essential pieces of the puzzle.
My local critique group meets every other week and it’s loads of fun!
How’d you get the cool blogfest button, Caffeinated Critter?
You should be able to download it here: Link to blogfest button.
You’re the best!
I liked this, especially since I’ve been looking at my “teen-age stuff” this past week. I might re-work them, see what happens. I haven’t been in a critique group for a couple of years, but do have a buddy or two I count on. When I pull my behemoth first draft out of the drawer though, I know right where I’m headed!
It might need to undergo major changes, and might not even resemble the same beast, but if the story is good, then it might be worth it. 😀
What a great letter.
And this is such wise advice. I would tell myself something similar–to stop listening to people who tell me what I can’t do, and find myself some people who encourage me and tell me that I can do anything I put my mind to!! 🙂
Exactly! The right people make a world of difference.
It’s awesome that you were able to bring an idea you had at 15 to fruition! Like the realization of a childhood dream. I don’t think any of the ideas I had at that age made much sense!
Oh trust me, the only thing that resembles what I stewed up at age 15 is that there’s this guy named Derek and he’s good with plants. 🙂
CPs are a definite. I’d tell myself not to fret so much and just get ‘er done. Somehow that might be a bit more manageable when I get to the second book.
Get ‘er done!
I think some of us (myself included) will always continue to fret. But then, what is there to fret about if nothing gets written, right?
CPs changed my writing completely and gave me great advice. Don’t know what I’d do without them now. Reading over and over our own words can only go so far!
I miss so much with my own reading, because my brain knows what I meant to say. Thank goodness for critique partners.
Funny that you speak often to yourself because this sounded just like you were offering advice to any one of us and it was some amazing advice!! Especially about critique partners!! Such a love hate relationship. Lol
Yes, it was a touch of, “take my advice, I don’t use it anyways.” 🙂
The fact that you had your past self check the IP is one of the many reasons I heart you. LOL Thank you for participating, Loni!
Thanks for making this awesome endeavor possible!
CRITIQUE PARTNERS! Yes. Totally! I’ve been blessed with such wonderful ones. Don’t know what I’d do without them.
” I’ll wait while you check the headers and track the IP.” – LOL, you’re a coder through and through!
Great letter, Loni. I love the blend of humor and honesty (which what I love about your writing, too 🙂 ), and I love how you highlight the priceless value of CPs. SO TRUE.
😉 Probably one reason why I won’t quit my day job. I actually enjoy being a programmer.
Critique partners are definitely wonderful!
I was the QUEEN of tell instead of showing. Critique partners cured me of that!
I still haven’t been completely cured yet, but I’m working on it!
My Critique partners are invaluable to me. Thanks.
Mine too. 😀
Yes, indeed – CPs have saved my caboose countless times, and still do. Yay for getting mushy about fabulous, helpful, encouraging, delightful CPs!!
Good advice, but when you were that age would you have listened?
A Faraway View
I think I would’ve, or at least I would’ve started researching the idea of critique partners a lot sooner.
Critique partners have kept me from making a lot of mistakes in my writing. Of course, if I had had any idea what I was getting myself into with this writing business, I propbably never would have started. Nice letter.
Such excellent words of advice! I certainly don’t know where I’d be without my critique partners–definitely not where I am today, that’s for sure!
Our future selves are so wise, aren’t they? But even they don’t know everything — unless they’re our deathbed selves… SO important to get feedback on our work. I’m indebted to the editors who have helped me fine-tune my short stories over the the past four years. It’s definitely helping my novel edits move right along.
Eerie how alike our journeys have been. And yes, critique partners … my stories wouldn’t be this good without them.
Critique partners are worth their weight in gold. I’d be lost without mine.
Great letter! Critique Partners are truly invaluable.