Tuesday’s Industry News: My Little Grain of Salt

Hello all, I’ve been quite busy these last few days rewriting the opening of a WIP I’ve decided to actually finish. This book is quickly adding up the word count and while some of my SavvyAuthors.com friends are already finished with their bootcamp I’m at 17k. I’m happy with that. ALso I may interupt someone elses day with news this week but can’t promise anything, although I sure wish I could.

Onto today’s topic, during the second week of bootcamp I got really discouraged and decided to write another little article. This article is all about advice. I hope you enjoy it.

My Little Grain of Salt

By

Sayde Grace

 

Each time my stocky bay mare would come barreling out of the arena there was always someone nearby to tell me what I did right or wrong and of course how to do better. It never failed to amaze me how others just knew how to fix all my problems, even when there weren’t any. But being an obsessive person and determined to be the best I would sit atop my panting horse and listen to every word spoken to me. Many times I’d leave the arena with more advice floating in my brain than money jingling in my pocket, which of course had nothing to do with the fact that maybe I’d listened to the wrong advice before my run, right?

But like any other teenager or in most cases plain old human I had to test the advice given to me before I could determine whether it would work for me and my horse. Many times it didn’t but on the occasions it did, I’d place high in that nights go round and make the failed advice parish from my mind and be eagerly awaiting new advice that would of course make me better.

After awhile though, I got tired of the constant trial and errors of said advice, so what did I do? I began taking all the advice with a grain of salt. This was suggested to me by mother and honestly as a fifteen year old kid I rolled my eyes and said whatevahhhh before strolling away muttering unpleasant things. But turns out the parental figure was right. Scary that I’m admitting that and if she ever finds out I did it’ll be hell to pay. But that little grain of salt has suffered through lots of runs, lots of practices, and lots of advice. In the end it’s served me well over the years on horseback but then I tested it to see what would happen if I ventured out to a whole new world, one I’d never stepped foot on?

Well my grain of salt ended up cooked and ate with the morning grits. I threw it in the bowl the instant my confidence was shattered by a rejection in my inbox. Nearly two years ago I began writing my career. Terrified and not knowing what had caused me to get a rejection I got online and began asking questions to other writers. Well turned out my voice was too passive, my adjectives weren’t right, I over used this word and told things instead of showing, not to mention I head hopped, whatever in the world that was. After getting this information I sat at my computer with a large glass of Diet Mountain Dew(yeah I’m on the hard stuff) and a Snickers bar nearly in tears. What did all this mean?

It meant I needed more advice which meant I was being quoted rules on writing I never knew existed and am still Googling today. But then one author emailed me after receiving a rather distressing email from me, she said a very motherly statement to me; “Take it all with a grain of salt. No one person knows what’s best for you. Authors can give you advice that has worked for them but there is no magic formula.  So my dear, suck it up and find your own magic formula. “

One year, five manuscripts, and lots of rejections and requests later I’m now looking at advice for my current work in progress and saying “Hmm, I don’t think that’ll work for me but thanks for sharing your advice.” Now this may seem to some that I’m snubbing advice from other authors but I’m not. In fact I love getting advice because I always find something from the advice given which helps me. Whether it opens my eyes to a new researching process, a plotting strategy, or a how to get your fingers to stay connected to the keyboard to finish that book , I always learn something new.

At the same time I also always find some piece of advice that if taken to heart as the gospel would harm my writing  in some way. Of course this advice isn’t ill given advice but just something that I know would not help me. New writers as well as veteran ones should always remember that their isn’t a set formula to publication and we aren’t all alike so when you receive or give advice remember to hold your grain of salt closely so that you never forget you are unique and not a sheep to be herded. We all are different and see things different so when you get that next email, phone call, or person outside the arena waiting to give you his/her advice listen closely but listen with an open mind knowing that they aren’t you and you are your own writer with your own flair.

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5 Responses

  1. Amen. Great post, Sayde! I like to think of writing like fingerprints…each journey is different and unique to the one going through it.

  2. Sounds as if you’ve learned the hardest lesson of all, Sayde: trusting yourself.

    We all learn in different ways, so there are bumps and struggles along the way as we try out so many possibilities. But you’re savvy enough to know to at least listen to advice offered, because if you don’t take note, how can you weigh it for its worth as applied to your work? Everything written is different, and there’s no one-size-fits-all.

    Nice post, Cowgirl! Thanks for the pick-me-up!

  3. Great post, my friend. I think you are right in all you say. We all are making our own way and it is nice to have a support group but ultimately, we must trust ourselves.

  4. Very helpful thank you.

  5. Thanks everyone. Glad you liked my little article and yes Lois I did learn this early. It’s one lesson I had to with all the adice pouring in about horses. I just use that concept in everything now.

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