I am at the hospital with my son today, but as promised here is the marvelous Beth Revis. Hello Beth and let me say it’s great to have you here today. Oh and feel free to edit my punctuation. You and I both know it’s just not my thing. Hope you enjoyed those, ahem *pretend* peeps.
Beth Revis has come to talk to us about writing and how blogging can aid us as we walk down this road to publication.
Beth, can you talk about lack of self confidence and what you do to try and overcome this problem that can be overwhelming at times?
One thing that few people realize about me is that I have horrible self-confidence—not just about my writing, but about everything! But I learned during those painful junior high years, where I was ceaselessly plagued for pimples and braces, that the only difference between me and the cool kids (other than designer clothes) was confidence. So I walked with my head held up high...and it worked. Since then, I’ve applied that to everything in my life: if I think I can, and act like I can, and believe I can, then I will at least have the courage to try...and if I fail, then I’ve at least tried something new. Life is more full of adventure this way, that’s for sure!
How has having your blog added to your writing?
I used to think that writers were horribly selfish people who lived in their ivory towers and laughed at the scribbling pre-published writers who groveled at their feet. When I started the blog, I started it mostly to be self-reflective and keep track of links that I liked. Then I started meeting other writers. First, PJ Hoover, whose kindness blew me out of the water (and destroyed my previous image of ivory towered writers not daring to mess with the Untouchable prepubbed writers). She really gave me the encouragement to keep up the blog and turn it into something more. Since then, I’ve tried to use the blog as a combination of sharing with others what works and doesn’t, and keeping myself on task. I feel like a tool when I write a blog entry about writing and I’ve not written anything lately. So by making writing posts public, I also self-shame myself into sticking to my writing goals.
What advice do you have for new writers who are just beginning their blogs?
1. Never post anything negative about agents/editors/writers. No matter how mad you are about the rejection, you look unprofessional when you post about it.
2. Be wary of posting too much of your work online. There’s copyright issues, sure, but you also don’t want to have too much up there that’s not polished/not professional (in case an agent actually does look at it), nor do you want another Midnight Sun on your hands if someone leaks it.
3. Try to keep a professional tone—you don’t want to sound whiney or desperate.
4. Make the blog something you wouldn’t be ashamed of if your favorite author, your dream agent, or your future publisher read it.
5. Maintain focus. If you’re writing a blog about writing, then don’t include too many pictures of the dog.
6. On the other hand, though, it IS always fun to get a peek into a writer’s personal life, so don’t be afraid to occasionally post about things you’re passionate about.
7. Have fun! If you don’t enjoy blogging, and it’s become a chore—quit. There are better ways of spending your time. Such as writing a novel.
What is the most important piece of advice you would like to give to the writers out there in blogosphere?
Don’t be one of those writers that make the rest of us cringe. We all know “writers” who are self-absorbed, don’t read submission guidelines, think self-publishing = viable publishing, blame the market instead of their own writing, etc., etc. Don’t be that person.
What do you do when you find yourself stuck while writing your story?
Usually play on the internet! Inevitably, I take a break from it. Typically, however, while I’m taking a break, I’m also thinking about the story. If the solution doesn’t come to me, however, I just sit down and force myself to stare at the computer until I write something, Just writing gets the juices flowing and the story picks back up again. Butt-in-chair never fails.
How long do you give yourself to look over potential agents to query?
At least a month or two. When I finish a novel, I seek out beta readers. While they’re reading, I research agents. I also keep track of any potential agents while I’m writing. I’ve got a folder full of bookmarks to new agents sites. When I’m ready to query, I’m starting there.
Any other thoughts about this road we’re all on together?
Personally, I feel that all writers should ask him or herself this question when they start thinking about publication: am I in it for the fun of writing, or am I in it for the fun...and for publication? I’ve been reading a lot lately, between queryfail and agentfail and agent blogs, about writers who don’t seem to have a realistic picture of writing as a business. Although writing itself is an art, publication is business, and I feel very strongly that every writer should present him or herself in a professional manner. That certainly doesn’t mean not to have fun! Just today I wrote a blog post that involved Tyra Banks and Easter candy...but at the root of all my dealings with writing, I’m striving to make myself both a better writer and a better professional.
Thanks so much for being brave enough to be my test subject! You’ll never know how much it’s appreciated. *Everyone claps*