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The Best Advice I Ever Received (On Writing)

March 8, 2010

Last week, Wendy posted an in-depth interview with the founder of VampLit Publishing, and today’s guest speaker ties in exceptionally well.  I met some great writers on their social networking site last summer – two of which I ran into elsewhere on the net and kept in touch.  The first writer was Wendy; we connected on the Textnovel site later and supported one another while competing in separate contests.  The second was Nicole Hadaway.  Nicole stopped by one of my pages and offered support and I in turn visited her blog to offer support. It allowed me to get to know her and her unique writing style a bit better. I’m glad I did.

Her Literary Paranormal take on the vampire genre harks back to the eloquence of some of the greats; and she’s a writer Anne Rice took notice of in a review Nicole recently posted. Nicole’s recent ebook, Release, is being received well by reviewers and the print version will hit the shelves later this year.

Please give a big Wicked Welcome to Nicole as she shares with us this week the best writing advice she ever received.


Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

To thine own self be true.

Carpe diem.

It happens when you least expect it.

Plant early.

Don’t eat the yellow snow.


The above quotes and phrases are just some of the tidbits of advice I’ve received, from my mother and my friends, as I’ve gone through my life’s journey. I’m sure you’ve heard them before. Yes, they’re cliché but they’re all true. (And besides, the Bard is never wrong!)

When I started writing my first novel, I’d gotten about a third (or maybe a quarter) of the way through, when I looked at the words on the page, the sentence structure, what scene I was trying to describe, and thought, “What the hell am I doing? I’ve got no business trying to write a book? I wasn’t even an English major, for heaven’s sakes, and this is crap!”

I was telling my good friend (who had been an English major) about my writing woes, and she said those magic words: “Good writing involves a lot of bad writing.”

Something about that phrase, it’s honesty and simplicity, clicked inside me. It was okay if what I wrote on that day wasn’t great because – I could always rewrite it. And writing does involve rewrites and redos. Bad ideas turn into golden ones once you apply the right polish.

Her advice became my mantra whenever I started to doubt my work and my abilities. It kept me going and going until ultimately, I had a novel that I could be proud of. (It features vampires in a World War II setting; they rescue Jewish children from concentration camps and kill Nazis!)

So there it is, simple and true – if you think your work is bad, or even if someone else tells you so, don’t let that discourage you. Good writing involves a lot of bad writing and good editing, so if you’ve got some messy areas that need to be cleaned up, you could be on track to something golden.


Thanks so much, Nicole, for stopping by and blogging with us today. Insightful advice to inspire any writer to never give up and look for the good in every piece they craft.

I wish you the best with Release, and its sequel Return. You bring incredible talent to the category of vampire literature and the aptly coined phrase of Literary Paranormal suits your work well.


And thank you all for entering in our Best Book Giveaway on the Internet! This week’s contest winner for their choice of FIVE novels will be announced on the Contest page, please stop by to see the results.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. March 8, 2010 10:41 am

    Thank you, C.J., for inviting me to post today! I hope my advice helps (it’s certainly kept me going through novel #2!), and you’ve got such a lovely group here. I do hope Supriya finishes her novel, Breathing In Bombay soon, as I’m dying to read it 😉

    • March 9, 2010 9:03 am

      You’re welcome, Nicole! Always great to have published author friends stop and share their wisdom with us 😉

      Supriya has been done with her novel for a while. Right now, she’s doing a last revision to bring in all she’s learned that helped her craft the beginning of her Chasing Cairo sequel and applying it to her first book to really make it shine.

  2. March 8, 2010 2:20 pm

    It’s wonderful having you here, Nicole. Release was one of my favorite books I’ve read this year and I can’t wait for Return.

    Your friend’s advice is priceless. Just getting the story on paper, in the computer, or in my case on the hand held recorder is half the battle. I know I like to just listen to what comes to me in my head and record it on audio. Later, when I transcribe, some of what I’ve said would make absolutely no sense to a reader, and sometimes I even have to think twice about what I meant. 😉

  3. Harley D. Palmer permalink*
    March 8, 2010 8:20 pm

    That is fantastic advice! I had my Drama teacher in high school say almost the exact same thing, during the week we were writing our own scripts. I was invaluable information and while I haven’t written a script since, it applies to all the manners of writing I do. I am always greatful to her for her support – and I’m to see that other writer’s have had such great support too. We all need it!

  4. March 9, 2010 7:57 am

    Hi Nicole

    Great list of advice, don’t eat yellow snow, is a family favourite of ours. My new one, after 24 hour internet glitch, is never put off till tomorrow what you can do to day. Great post.

  5. March 9, 2010 10:31 am

    Thanks guys!

    Glad to hear Supriya’s on the last run-through of Breathing. The last go-round is always a good one in editing.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the posts, Wendy and Harley. Gaynor, in your case, I should have added: “don’t feed the gremlins after midnight” as invaluable advice to keep the electronics working 😉


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