While writing, we often have a list of words that we’ll fall back on when we can’t think of another word to write. Sometimes, we don’t even realise that we’re doing it. It’s not until our critique partners, beta readers, or editors point it out to us that we see the repetitive word glaring at us.
“How could I have missed that? It’s as obvious as the nose on my face.”
Well, it’s quite easy to miss things when you don’t know that they’re a problem. However, the solution is surprisingly simple.
You might think that your family and friends are brutally honest (my husband certainly is), but the feedback you get from fellow writers is completely different. Writers will often understand the mechanics behind writing — your family/friends won’t, unless they are also writers. In some respects, it is best to get feedback from those who don’t actually know you, because those comments will completely isolated from your person and be solely fixated on your writing.
Words do change their meanings as each generation develops their own colloquial tongue. The most notable word-meaning change would be for gay. The word, in it’s original context, means happy, bright, excited. However, now many don’t use the word gay in that fashion anymore because of its other common meaning: homosexual. Other words that have taken on colloquial meanings include cool, chill and dank.
Publishing, like so many other industries, can be solitary, and any activity that you have on social media can reflect badly on you, depending on the nature of your posts. An innocent comment could easily be taken as negative, even if it’s not intended that way. To avoid putting anything out that can be misinterpreted, it is vital that you have a person whom you trust that you can grumble to. Perhaps you received a critique that made your blood boil, or maybe you are reading through a passage that you are struggling to understand for whatever reason. Maybe you have provided feedback to a fellow writer who just refuses to listen and have gone on the defensive. At all times, you need to be professional on public forums, but when in private with your grumble buddy… Everyone needs a grumble buddy.
If you don’t want to have a blog, don’t. There is no hard and fast rule that writers need a blog. A writer’s platform consists of all the platforms that you feel comfortable with. If that includes a blog, then great. It if doesn’t, then that’s fine too. However, I would recommend a website for all. Using systems like WordPress, means that a website is easy to build and it is one of the best ways to keep your readers up to date with the latest news about your writing.
There are some out there who are so afraid that they’ll make a grammatical error on a blog post that they never update or release that blog post. Mistakes happen. No one is perfect. Even this editor has made a few whoppers (i.e. you’re instead of your, and colonial instead of colonel). It’s okay. If you strive for perfection, you’ll never get anywhere. Publish the post anyway. However, if you do notice the mistake after it’s been published, then go into the system and edit it. It’s that simple. At the end of the day, it’s just a blog post.
It doesn’t matter if you are traditionally published or self-published: books don’t promote themselves. You need to put some time, effort, and energy into book promotion. It’s all about getting the word out there. To make matters worse, there are no magic answers. (If you know of a magic answer, please tell me. I could really use one.)
The moment you make the decision that you want to become published, start thinking about a writer’s platform. It’s never too early. Get involved in Twitter — start connecting with other writers. Connect on Facebook — lock away a custom author’s page. Think about a blog/website. Maybe you like taking photos, so use Instagram. There are so many options. Let’s face it, agents, publishers and fans will google you. The more hits you can get on the Google search, the better off you’ll be.
Writers are the worst procrastinators around, able to find any excuse not to write, edit or anything else in preparation of that manuscript — even stare at the ceiling and count the holes in each tile. Social media is our worst procrastination tool because it holds all the illusions of productivity. If you’re struggling to get the words down, put yourself in a bubble and disconnect from the world. Remove the distractions. However, it won’t stop you from staring at the ceiling.