Thursday, March 23, 2017

A Warning To New Writers: Don't Try To Drink From The Internet Firehose

A Post By Jonathan

Hi all. This probably isn't going to be my most groundbreaking post, but I do think I've got some advice that could be useful for new folks out there who are just getting into this whole writing gig.

When I was just starting off and was in that super-exciting period that all new writers experience --where you're like, this whole imagining all the time and creating characters and new worlds and all that is really cool and I could do it everyday of my freakin' life!!!-- I made it a point to join every list serve, writers community, author page, blog, magazine, forum, website, Facebook page, Pinterest board, YouTube channel, twitter feed, and any other online thing I could find. I basically wanted all the knowledge I could gain on the writing craft and I figured the more the better.

What I didn't realize was that this would result in a continual, and often contradictory, deluge of writing advice, promos for this product or that, a million webinar/retreat/workshop/conference invites, information of all kinds that I could never in a million years keep up with or ever have time to engage in even 1% of the things that were/are constantly being pushed on me. It's just too much for a new writer to handle, so my advice to you is to pick your subscriptions wisely. I would choose two or three really good writing sites to follow and stick with those. I can't even begin to give advice on which ones are the best because I joined them all. I guess I would try to go as genre specific as possible. As a Middle Grade/Children's writer, the best site for me is the SCBWI Blue Boards. And stay away from the ones that are always asking for money. Don't these people know we're starving artists? Geeze!

But there are all kinds of resources out there. Just be discerning. I know you can unsubscribe anytime you want, but once they have your name you somehow end up on a ton of other lists. Not to sound paranoid or anything (okay, where'd I put my tinfoil hat?). I guess what I'm trying to say is don't try to drink from the internet firehose. Especially when you're just starting out.

The other thing about being part of way too much internet writing crap (hopefully this post doesn't qualify) is if you're in one of those non-writing periods, which I so often am, getting pinged about writing all day does not really help you (not me at least) get out of a writing slump. It's like, shut up already! Good for you, you're writing. Now leave me alone.

Well, best of luck out there folks. And be sure to subscribe to Across The Board!
 

10 comments:

  1. I also find that a constant deluge of writing info makes me question my artistic choices.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wholeheartedly agree, Kimberly. I wish I had just read and written at the beginning of my writing life. The internet can be great (we're on it right now) but it can also make you question a lot.

      Delete
  2. Author FB groups are a big time suck for me. There are SO MANY author FB groups. It's easy to spend all day reading posts and participating on Facebook that it gets to 10pm and realize I haven't written anything yet. I lurk a lot, and spend about 2 hours/week just reading through posts and seeing what I missed. But anything more, I figure it's going to come back around again. And if it doesn't, it's probably a fad or phase. At least that's what I'm telling myself. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed, Brenda. FB has real people talking about real writing issues, but a lot of it is promos for this book or this complaint or that. Still some good material out there, as long as you don't get sucked in!

      Delete
  3. For me, reading really good authors is the best education in writing. They inspire and maybe even form my writing style. When I fail to spend time reading I go dry, my writing suffers, and I feel like I've gone back to a more elementary version of my writing. Haha, but who can really tell? Write on...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Write on indeed, Cheryl! I actually spoke with a more seasoned author a little while a go who started writing prior to the internet age. She had no formal training (or a college degree), but she just went to the library and read and learned and was super successful doing so. I find a lot of the stuff on the internet to be a huge distraction from what we're really supposed to be doing as authors. Read good stuff, write good stuff. Thanks for sharing!

      Delete
  4. Great post, Jonathan! I didn't read anything until after I finished my first book. I wasn't sure if I'd publish it,so I just wrote. I'm so glad I did. Once I started reading articles from all these different sites I got very overwhelmed and it really messed with my head a bit. I've backed off significantly and only follow a few blogs. And then I'm even more selective to which articles/posts I'll read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Carrie! That was VERY smart of you. I think we humans are wired to only be able to process so much information-- and especially writers who are in that vulnerable creating phase. Good for you on backing off! And thanks for sharing!

      Delete
  5. IThankyou I enjoyed your thoughts..as an artist writer I sometimes think its the simple things that are the most effective..also I find I stay away from other artists who are similar to my work because they would be too influencial and inadvertently bend my style to theirs... the london bookfair had helpful seminars which may still be online

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Clare. Totally agree on the similar artist thing. I'll definitely have to check out the London bookfair stuff. Keep commenting and thanks for stopping by!

      Delete

 
Blogger Template by Designer Blogs