Writing Advice for Beginners: Coffee and Conversation Flashback Friday Round Two

Last week, I kicked off a Coffee & Conversation Flashback Friday series where we revisit awesome nuggets of wisdom shared by editors, agents, art directors, authors, and illustrators throughout the years here at As The Eraser Burns.

Missed it? No worries, here’s the link for the first round of writing advice for beginners.

Writing Advice for Beginners: Coffee & Conversation Flashback Friday 01

Ready for round two? Okay, let’s go.

What advice for beginners do you wish you would’ve followed?

From author Monica S. Baker:

Do not send out a manuscript until the last fat lady has sung, swinging by her toes from the balcony!  I wasted much time, energy, cash…and probably goodwill by sending manuscripts out too early. The first picture book I ever wrote is so God-awful that I have a special file for it, where it won’t contaminate other manuscripts.  I can not believe that I imposed it on the publishing community. As my teens would now say, “My bad!”

Monica’s Coffee & Conversation Interview.

From author Sandy Asher

“Writing is rewriting.”  Don’t know who first said this.  I wasn’t listening.

Sandy’s Coffee & Conversation Interview

From author  Alexis O’Neill

Rejections are not personal (even though they feel like it.) A good book will find a good home eventually. It’s just that no one has a crystal ball to pin down the date of “eventually.”

Alexis’ Coffee & Conversation Interview

From author  Amie Rose Rotruck

Just finish the book.  The reason why my first, still unpublished book took so long to finish was I kept refining the first few chapters.  Finish the book entirely, THEN start revising.  If you’re taking a writing class where you have to focus on first chapters, that’s fine for one class, but don’t do the same first chapters again in another class until you’ve finished the book.

Amie’s Coffee & Conversation Interview

From author Jim Murphy

See above.  Focus on the project and see it to completion.  Then send it off and start working on another project.  Don’t get bogged down worrying over one project (I have a friend who has been working on one project for over ten years).  Also, learn to revise.  You would be surprised at how many writers can’t or won’t revise.

Jim’s Coffee & Conversation Interview

From author  Jacqueline Adams

I wish I had understood how the learning curve works, and that you may think you’re doing everything right, but a year or two later you’ll look back and see how far you’ve come. Because I was working hard and applying what I’d learned up until that point, I couldn’t understand why I was getting so many rejections. Later, when I’d learned more, I could see the flaws in some of those early stories. With other stories, the problem was that I was sending them to the wrong places—and that was true even though I was doing my homework. It takes a while to develop a feel for those kinds of things. If I’d realized that, I might not have gotten so discouraged.

Jacqueline’s Coffee & Conversation Interview

From author/illustrator  Susan Detwiler

I wish I’d had that first book contract looked over by a lawyer specializing in publishing copyright law; I was just so excited to have a picture book to work on that I would have signed anything.

Susan’s Coffee & Conversation Interview

From author/illustrator  Lulu Delacre

Hmm…the advice I give is the one I’ve always followed: believe in yourself, be persistent, do your best, be flexible, and you’ll get there!

Lulu’s Coffee & Conversation Interview

From author/illustrator  Vonnie Winslow Crist

Set aside time every day, if possible, to work on your skills and artwork. Always be ready in case an opportunity pops up unexpectedly (most of the time I was, but I did let some great jobs slip through my fingers). And I wish I’d focused on children’s illustration earlier in my career.

Vonnie’s Coffee & Conversation Interview

From illustrator Rebecca Evans

Join SCBWI and go to the events!

Rebecca’s Coffee & Conversation Interview

From illustrator Joan Waites

Always keep working on new portfolio pieces-something that you truly love to do. This will show in your work. It’s really hard to balance the paying work with doing new art for your portfolio, but make the time if you can.

Joan’s Coffee & Conversation Interview


About Laura Bowers

Laura is a writer, runner, reader, runDisney addict, blogger/vlogger at Write, Run, Rejoice and Joyful Miles, mom of two awesome boys, wife of one fantastic husband, excellent chili maker, and obsessive list keeper. She loves run-on sentences and adverbs. She also still thinks Spice World was an awesome movie and feels no shame about that.
This entry was posted in Illustrating & Cover Art Tips, Writing Tips and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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