Saturday, November 27, 2010


My dear friend, Lyndee Dudley, recently posted this comment on her FB: "I'm breaking dishes in my head." It was the most perfect of statements to me, because I, too, often break dishes in my head. And my kitchen. Her explanation of her statement was this: "Sometimes ... the frustration I feel in my head does not translate into the physical need to throw an actual dish, so instead i throw them in my head." 

Exactly. And sometimes you just can't throw the dishes physically because of the restraining orders. 

So what's with this blog? Well, when I read Lyndee's statement that day I immediately thought "What a great blog title." And "What a concept." Simple. To the point. Profound. I knew exactly what she meant. So I texted Lyndee and basically asked her if I could steal her brilliant statement and put it to my own uses. She graciously agreed, and so, armed with contraband philosophy and stolen profundity, I have begun a new blog. 

This one will be on a variety of subjects, depending on my mood, the severity of my madness on that particular day, and the dishes that need breaking. Sometimes it may be a rant. Sometimes it may be a plea. Sometimes it may just be more meanderings of a demented mind. Sometimes it may be something absolutely sane, but don't count on it. 

I don't promise to post every day or every week, but when I do post, I promise I will try to provide either entertainment or education. Today, basically because I already wrote it and don't have anywhere else to post, I'd like to share my recently composed LUCKY THIRTEEN BITS OF ADVICE FOR ASPIRING WRITERS. It first appeared on CEO of Thomas Nelson Books, Michael Hyatt's blog as a comment. Read it and then maybe tomorrow I'll tell you the TRUTH about aspiring writers. And if you're one of them, get ready because there may be dishes flying your way! .


1. Do your own research. Read Mr. Hyatt’s advice at
in his blog "Advice to Aspiring Writers" and follow it, then search the Internet for more information on getting published.

2. Read every book you can find on Writing, especially books written by authors that write in the genre in which you are interested.

3. Join local writers groups and national groups that represent the genre you want to write for; take advantage of their combined knowledge and available resources.

4. Take workshops taught by published authors. I didn’t really understand what was wrong with my writing until I took a class from SF writer, Warren Norwood. He changed my life!

5. FINISH your book before you even start thinking about submitting to agents. You can’t submit a query to an agent or editor until you have a finished manuscript in hand, at least for your first sale. Very rarely a new writer may sell on the basis of a proposal (three chapters and a synopsis) but that is highly unusual. Instead of worrying about how you’re going to find an agent, concentrate on finishing your book and making it as polished and great as you possibly can-—then do the necessary research to find an agent.

6. Join a good critique group, one that is supportive, yet honest. Be careful not to fall prey to groups that are all about tearing down the writer, not helping him/her become better.

7. GO TO CONFERENCES! I can’t emphasize this enough. Every state has writing organizations that hold conferences every year. This is the ideal place to be able to meet agents and editors in person, and even make a pitch for your book. But don’t just go for this reason. Go to learn from the workshops and improve your writing so you can FINISH that book!

8. Write every day no matter what. If you’ve been working on the same book for ten years, it’s time to either put it away, or finish it. You can never succeed in publishing if it takes ten years to write one book. Every published author must produce on a regular basis.

9. Seek to learn how to improve your writing instead of just wanting to be published. Seek out people with experience who will help you to improve. Surrounding yourself with people who pat you on the back and tell you you’re great, when you really need to develop your writing, only guarantees that you won’t be published.

10. Realize that publishers want books that they can “slot” into their established lines. Research those lines. Write a book that will fit one of those lines. This in no way limits your creativity. It will still be your own original and very amazing creation — but it will be more likely to find a home than an undefinable manuscript that is neither fish nor fowl. That rule, of course, is meant to be broken, but usually you have to find your way into the publishing business before you can start cracking the glass!

11. SF writer, Robert Vardeman once gave me the best advice of my life. He said “Be stupidly determined.” Sometimes trying to get published feels like you’re beating your head against a brick wall and feels, well, stupid. That’s okay. Be stupidly determined to get published all the way to the bank! If you FINISH what you write and do the research needed to navigate the waters of publishing, and seek to improve with every new thing you write, and follow the rules of submitting to agents and editors, you most likely WILL be published one day.

12. Getting published is not an impossible star. Stop treating it like fantasy and treat it as a very viable and possible reality. Then get to work—it’s not easy. It’s a long, hard road and it won’t happen overnight. Are you ready to persevere and give it your best shot?

And finally Lucky 13 –
If you’ve done all of this and you’re still not published, don’t despair. The truth is that until you get your manuscript in front of the right agent or editor who finds your story/style/voice amazing, you won’t sell. But that can happen! There are so many agents out there–you just have to keep trying until you find the right one. Also — if you have followed all of these suggestions and aren’t published, consider that you need to take a fresh look at the book you’re submitting. I know so many writers who can’t sell a book but they spend literally YEARS shopping it around, trying to sell it. I understand why. You’ve spent so much time, energy, blood, sweat and tears on this book. But move on. Write another book. Learn from any mistakes you’ve made. Get more input from other writers. Keep writing. Keep writing. Keep writing. Submit. Submit. Submit. Write. Write. Write. Keep persevering and being stupidly determined!!