1. Work with Your Hands: There is something satisfying about handiwork, because you can see the physical results of your labor. Whether you're baking bread, knitting a scarf, or weeding your garden, making something with your hands can set your mind on fire.
Like most writers, I spend hours alone and doodling on my laptop, even on Saturday nights. Until recently, I had zero interest in fist-bumping people on social media, preferring to spend my time on fiction rather than fall down virtual rabbit holes.
Launching your first novel is exciting because you don't know what to expect. It's a big deal that you've published a book at all. Sending subsequent books into the world is still a big deal -- we're living the dream, right? -- but in some ways it's even more intimidating.
Crossing the threshold from unpublished to published author was a similar journey for me: I had to keep pounding on that door until, one crack at a time, it gave way. There was no one lucky break. It was more like a hundred of them.
At the end of the day, writers can't worry about what readers think, want or buy. We have one job, and one job only: to follow our passions and put words on the page, creating books that we, ourselves, feel proud to have written.
There is no easy way to ask for blurbs, but take comfort in the fact that every writer has to do it. Now that I've just gritted my teeth and gone through the process for the fourth time, for my novel Haven Lake, I thought it might help newbie writers to think about these strategies...
If you're trying to make a living as a fiction writer, I certainly know a great many self-published writers who are able to do that. Literary writers, or even commercial writers like me, have a tougher time making a solid income from our fiction.
Novels are not cars to be assembled. You can't write them if the muse isn't with you, and the muse doesn't always come when you call her. Yet, if you want to make a living as a writer, you must find a way to go to the muse if she won't come to you.
Copy editors are worth their weight in gold, yet hardly ever garner a mention. So here it is, a shout-out to you, copy editors around the world: we writers and readers are so lucky to have you smoothing sentences and paragraphs and chapters. Thank you for all of your hard work.
To me, settings are far more than just places in books. I view settings as essential components of every novel, because so often places convey the interior landscapes of the characters and deepen the reader's experience.