The Sweetie Chronicles

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

The Value of Outside Advice

No one ever said that being a writer would be easy. For the most part, it's a solitary task. It's just you, all alone, sitting at a keyboard somewhere, trying to come up with an original story and unique characters who will draw people in and make them care. Since joining RWA and my local chapter, HCRW, I have found that there are valuable resources out there that can change everything. Through RWA I met two amazing critique partners that read everything I write and encourage me every step of the way. Of course, they also tear my writing apart sometimes, but that's one of the reasons I've gotten better and better over the last couple of years. BUT (and this is a huge BUT), outside advice is not the be-all, end-all. It's not the final word or the definitive answer. I think this is something I'm learning bit by bit.

As a writer, I find that I am constantly searching for that positive feedback and validation. It's simply a hunger deep inside of me I can't control. So, when I put my pitch paragraph out there for my critique group, some people from an RWA loop or on an agent's forums, I hit "submit" and pray for that validation. Sometimes, the response is brutal. "Your story isn't unique." "Haven't we seen this before?" "This is unclear. What's really going on in your story?" "I don't like the wording here, this is too generic." And the list goes on.

Other times, you've got one person saying they hate it and another saying they think it's perfection (knuckle bump, girl! this rocks!) So how do you tell who is right and who is wrong? That's the truly infuriating part. No one can decide which pitch to put out there when the time comes except for you. Er, me, in this case. The writer, when it comes down to it, is still that solitary figure, making those decisions alone. It can sometimes be a very scary place to be. Not everyone is going to love what I write or the decisions I make, but at some point, I have to just believe in myself enough to make a choice and know that this is ME. My passion. My best. My voice.


Elena Solodow July 22, 2010 at 10:28 AM  

I've found that you always have to go with your gut instincts most of all. Everyone comes from a different place and different perspectives, so they're advice to you may not be relevant to who you are as a writer. I especially don't like people who say "you must write this way". If anyone working in any art form says "must", they've immediately got a strike in the 'con' column.

Sarra Cannon

Young Adult Indie Author

I always secretly wanted to be a cheerleader. And a witch. Now, I write about both. The first five novels in my Peachville High Demons Young Adult Paranormal series are available now in ebook!

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Sarra's bookshelf: sarra-s-favorites

Beautiful DemonsThe Time Traveler's WifeLoveroot: PoemsFear of FlyingWe the LivingAnthem

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