Ellen here, and I’m thrilled to welcome my friend Cherie Claire to the Chicks for the first time. Cherie, who also writes as Chere Coen, has become a good friend through our mutual Louisiana appearances and fascination with the state. (She gets to live there; I only get to visit.) Today, she shares some wonderful words of writing wisdom.
A Few Words on Writing
I got interviewed on local radio today along with another Louisiana writer and one of the questions was, “Have you ever considered doing something else besides writing?” I laughed and my cohort replied, “Every day!”
From the outside, writing appears glamorous, not to mention lucrative. In reality, writing’s hard work much like every other profession, maybe harder since we work in isolation, success isn’t guaranteed and half of creating a workable novel is rewriting and editing, which most writers don’t enjoy.
And then there’s the money. J.K. Rowling may be richer than the Queen of England but she isn’t the norm. Most authors can’t live on their royalties. My day job is freelance travel writer, not the most stable of professions, although an awesome one and one I’m eternally grateful to have after years working in a newsroom. I adore traveling and I’m really good at it, both the traveling and the gathering of information. But payments run the gamut, from are you kidding me, that’s all you’re going to pay? to that should cover the mortgage, and sometimes you never know when the check will arrive.
But I’m not complaining and even if I contemplate doing something else when the checks are late to arrive and the hot water heater is failing, I would never dream of another profession besides writing. And neither should you, if this is what you aspire to be. There’s nothing like seeing your book on a bookstore self for the first time, or displayed on an online site. It’s a feeling like no other.
So, if you’re contemplating writing a novel or other significant piece of literary work, here’s some advice I gleaned from two decades of publishing and 20 books.
- It’s a long road from page one to Le Finis and it starts with the first word. Write it. Don’t think too much while staring at a blank page. Just get to it and make that blank page disappear.
- Like all things in life, writing a novel or other literary work appears daunting but every word adds to the final count and one day you will open that folder and see every chapter there. Take comfort in every word you write. They eventually add up to something large.
- Coffee helps. So does wine.
- Tell it like it is. Don’t be afraid to write the truth, whether in your own words or within those of your characters.
- Writing can sometimes be cathartic. If you need to let something painful go, write your heart out. I sometimes write my feelings on paper and then burn the words and release them into the universe. Use your creativity to express and heal.
- For every idea, there is someone who will listen, someone who will see the beauty in your work. If you get rejected, send it out again…and again. Never give up the fight.
- For every writer, there is someone who will listen. Join like-minded groups and take comfort in that you are not alone. Surround yourself with comfort, such as supportive friends and family, pets and items that bring you joy.
- Don’t forget the wine.
- Keep self-doubt at bay. “Harry Potter” was rejected by 12 publishing houses before it found a home, “Lord of the Flies” 20 times, “Gone With the Wind” 38 times and the beloved “Anne of Green Gables” four times. Stephen King’s “Carrie” was rejected 30 times before being bought, then was immediately sold to be made into a movie.
- If wine’s not your thing, try bourbon. I prefer Four Roses, the bourbon of Faulkner.
My strongest advice to writers to is to never give up. Don’t stop learning. Don’t stop writing and rewriting. And keep the faith! It’ll happen.
BIO: South Louisiana’s Cherie Claire is the author of the Viola Valentine paranormal mystery series and two romance series. The first book in each series is free to download. She’d like to wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day (also the launch of her latest Viola Valentine novella) and a Happy Mardi Gras. Learn more about her books at https://www.cherieclaire.net/.
Readers, how do find inspiration to power through a tough task?