Writing Tips from Author Sandy Wickersham – Know Yourself
Please welcome author of romance Sandy Wickersham-McWhorter. She’s sharing with us today writing tips that make her more productive, and some more about her romantic suspense, The Diamond Road.
Sandy, please tell us more about your writing tips, and what you mean by ‘knowing yourself.’
You want one writing tip, Rebecca? 🙂 That’s hard because so many run through my head, each clamoring to be #1. Three rise to the top: protect the work; revise in different places and in different media; and change colors on the manuscript after each session to help find your place later. If you consider these for a moment, you’ll see they all relate to KNOW YOURSELF.
Know yourself means learn what your limitations are and work within them.
Know how long you can work without words looking like gobbledegook on the page. When Wendy’s looks like @s$xy’z you know it’s time to stop for that session. I’ve had that happen!
Know when family REALLY must come first. Know your frustration tolerance level; if an outside force is nagging you, won’t leave you alone, stop and handle the situation even if you’re on a deadline, otherwise your work will be bad, and you’ll waste time redoing it.
Know that you shouldn’t try to write at a certain time if your mind is clearer at another. If you’re most productive on Tuesday night in a boat on Lake Erie, do it! Whatever works to get the most writing done in each session.
Know that you should force yourself to say NO sometimes, even if it means disappointing someone and angering them.
Know to trust your instinct–if a piece doesn’t look right to you and 3 or 4 other readers also find it hard to understand, put it away for a time, mull it over in your mind, then revise it again.
Know to write what you like to read; don’t force yourself to write genres you’re not interested in. That historical novel won’t be something you’d want to put your name on if you’re a ravenous science-fiction reader!
Those things I mentioned earlier? All my KNOW TOs are part of “Protect the work.” This is not letting anyone or anything take your joy in writing away. If you really want to write, consistently do whatever it takes to find the time and place, and be bold, don’t listen to those who say you have no talent or those who don’t like your chosen genre.
Also, part of “Protect the work” is “revise in different places and in different media.” This helps overcome the familiarity breeds contempt problem. Our brain becomes so familiar with what our words look on a page that we have to trick it into seeing errors we’ve missed because we always revise or edit in the same place and in the same media. Print a copy and go to another room, or leave home if you always edit on your computer at home in your office. Print in a bright color like red if you always print in black. Read from the manuscript’s front to its back.
Last, if your manuscripts are long and you never remember to write down the page number you stopped working on and don’t have a bookmark function, just highlight and make newly written or edited text a different color. Scroll to the end of that text to find where you left off. This is especially helpful if you’re editing in the manuscript’s center and need to find that spot again quickly.
I think you get the picture by now, learn all aspects of yourself and work within those limitations to produce the best writing your can, a manuscript whose cover you’d be proud to see your name on, not cringe over because you know it wasn’t your best effort.
Devoted to her family and God, American trucker Connie Williams decides to run the winter ice roads to earn money to pay her beloved father’s mounting bills as he fights kidney failure. Losing him will destroy her. Subconsciously, she feels inadequate because she never went to college like her siblings and still lives life like a teenager.
Canadian professor, rancher, and ice-road trucker, Jake Baxter, runs the ice roads for money to keep his ranch out of his greedy siblings’ hands. He clings to the ranch because it’s the only thing keeping his parents alive in his heart; their deaths are too fresh in his mind, too overwhelming. He blames God for his parents’ deaths and hates seeing any living creature die.
During Yellowknife, Canada’s ice-roads season, Connie and Jake will face two truckers fixated on murderous revenge. Connie and Jake and their friends have three short months to solve the mystery of who their attackers are and stop them, or die.