When I started writing – in the dark ages, before the internet, possibly using slate (so my kids would have you believe) – writing was a solitary profession. I must have shared my vision of writing with you: sitting in an attic, with fingerless gloves, looking as unkempt as Fagin? No?
I’ve actually got the fingerless gloves – they’re perfect for cold winter days when the blood has pooled to my feet and my mug of tea has gone cold… again. I never quite made it into the attic though.
Anyway, back then, in solitude, authors wrote and submitted (by post) and had very little contact with other writers. Things even newbie writers take for granted now, like beta readers and groups to discuss their work with other writers around the world, were unheard of. I knew no writers personally – I read Writing Magazine, and that was all the contact I had with the profession.
It wasn’t until I started my first blog in 2011 I heard of beta readers, and 2012 when I tentatively asked a new writer friend to read over something I was working on.
Now, writers and readers have access to the whole world. We can tweet our favourite authors to tell them we love their new novel, and they’ll probably respond. I can talk directly to my readers about what I’m working on next, or share pictures of my new notebook and get a response. I can help writers who are starting out, and moan with others about how my characters are doing strange things and I don’t know how to stop them
But there are some solitary habits I can’t give up, like hiding in my imaginary attic (my bedroom with a large window) and scribbling first drafts with my fountain pen, and asking for advice.
I’m slowly improving on that score, thanks to the wonderful authors at Vine Leaves Press. We have a very active Facebook group where there’s always someone with a question, and my fellow writers are so supportive.
For example, it was only recently I realised I could ask for their opinion on an advert I was designing, rather than wandering around in a thick fog of uncertainty. And they gave some fantastic feedback which I implemented immediately. I’d probably still be there, minutely changing the placement of each word by a couple of millimetres or scrolling through the endless list of fonts which the app provides.
So, as this is Advice Week at the Fountain Pen, my advice is… ask for advice when you need it. Ask for second opinions if you’re not sure about something. Share your thoughts and ask for feedback. Your life is jam-packed with people who have the experience and knowledge require right now – and most of them would jump at the chance to be helpful. Just as you would help them!
I’m not talking solely about writing now – this applies to everything you do. There will be times when you’re just not sure about something. You might dither and fluster and maybe walk away from it. Don’t. Pick it up and ask someone.
So, what help will you ask for this week?
And now I’d love your help
See how much I’m improving?? 😅
I’ve got a short survey on the go about eReaders, and I’d love your input, if you haven’t done it already via links on Facebook or Twitter. Just click below and fill it in! There are seven questions, and it’s completely anonymous. Thank you!
The Goodreads giveaway for Grace & Serenity is ongoing for the whole of October. If you’re in the US and haven’t entered yet, you can do that right here…