Saturday, October 02, 2010

Guest Hope Clark Advises Writers About Themselves

Hope Clark and her dog Dixie
Although mostly blind and deaf, Dixie loves a drive

Hope Clark is the energy behind the newsletters Funds For Writers and Funds For Writers Small Markets out of South Carolina, which are received by a large network of writers. Each week she offers both paying and merely promotional markets for writers, along with terrific career advice. Here is one of her colums that resonated with me, reprinted with her permission.


Writers seek validation first and foremost. New or seasoned, we hang on feedback. We write and edit, but we fear venturing off on errant tangents, writing words that don't mean squat. So we spend countless hours reading websites, blogs, magazines, and books. We endure hours of misery in critique groups, sometimes walking away with gems, other times with empty hands and bruised egos. What we wouldn't give to have the guts to waltz into a room of readers with our book, shaking it, standing before the crowd to say, "This is a story you'll never forget." And really mean it.

This business, however, is wrought with naysayers. Funny, but it's usually those who break one little strategic rule along the way who gets noticed. Agents and publishers want someone fresh, but want what has always worked, too. That's why it's so difficult to give them what they want. They aren't sure what it is. They just know it when they see it.

Wouldn't it be nice to be comfortable in yourself . . .and your writing? Let's find some suggestions that may
help you on that journey in nailing your comfort zone.

1. Write . . . daily. Each day takes you closer to your true voice. There are no shortcuts. It takes thousands
of words to reach that voice that stands for you, and you alone.

2. You are unique. No one is like you. No one has your voice, stories or characters. Embrace that individuality. No one can offer the world what you have.

3. Everyone doesn't have to like you, to understand you. Sometimes the mysticism becomes your strong suit. Your task is to know when to use that magic.

4. Practice makes perfect. Only you can know when your work is polished well enough to present to the masses. If you aren't sure, it's not ready. That little voice that makes you wonder, is trying to tell you something.

5. Persistence gains more ground than creative inspiration. Be the tortoise, slow and steady, always moving toward the goal. A hot idea today might be a dud two months from now. Love being alone with yourself, working through the words.

6. Whether you receive positive or negative feedback, be selective in what you take to heart.

Bottom line . . . writing is all about your decisions, not someone else's. You will have hundreds of decisions in a writing career, but only a tiny number of them are not completely in your hands.

Hope Clark

Thanks so much, Hope. Great advice!


Lilly Gayle said...

Great advice!

Caroline Clemmons said...

Thanks for sharing, Hope.