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Monday, August 31, 2015

Lessons Learned About Writing by Mary Buckham



Lessons Learned About Writing: by Mary Buckham

Writing is not for wimps.

From the first moment we move from stories in our heads to words on a page, especially if those words are meant to be published and read by others—we’re in out-of-our-comfort-zone territory.

Writing is about taking risks. Know that to risk means there will be times when you don’t reach your goals. That’s part of the learning process. Celebrate these learning opportunities because they help you expand your comfort levels.

If we avoid risk we stagnate as writers.

The minute we start beating ourselves up because we're only human :-) and hesitate when facing something that's going to push our comfort zones, it’s counter-productive.

When you start out writing for publication, take whatever time you need to make your novel as strong as possible. One of the great things about pre-publication—we have additional time to not only write a book, but also learn how to write better and stronger with each project.

Once you are published that time frame is decreased dramatically for most writers between the business of writing, marketing, connecting with readers and crafting the next book, novella, etc.
To write is to become an entrepreneur in a wild and crazy business.

Don't kill yourself trying to reach someone else's production schedule. You drive your own career - make it work for you!

And the most important thing to remember? Have fun along the way!






USA Today bestselling author Mary Buckham writes the Amazon best selling WRITING ACTIVE series for writers – WRITING ACTIVE SETTING and WRITING ACTIVE HOOKS. She doesn’t just teach writers though, she practices what she preaches, writing Urban Fantasy w/attitude. Love romance, danger & kick-ass heroines? Find it in her Alex Noziak or Kelly McAllister series!   

You can visit Mary’s website at -  http://marybuckham.com

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35 comments:

Gail Hart said...

Good advice, Mary - and I think it applies to life in general, not just to writing.

Claudia S said...

It is a pleasure working with an author who does not shun hard work, who acts in a professional manner and exudes a modest amount of self confidence. Mary, you are always prepared to go the extra mile and you are a credit to your profession! Your advice in this blog is spot on!

Mary Buckham said...

Hi Gail and thank you for visiting today! Great insight and you're spot on. Sort of Everything I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Here it's Everything I'm Learning About Life I Learned in Writing! :-) Cheers and thank you again for sharing!

Mary Buckham said...

Hello Claudia! So delightful to see you here. I think one of the elements I didn't mention is that there would be no authors without amazing readers (especially like you!). Even as so many of us write in a vacuum, our stories only come alive when they get into the hands of readers and when readers take the time and make the effort to let a writer know that? Then miracles are created!! Thank you and all readers from the bottom of my heart!

Mary Buckham said...

Thank you Sarah and Judith for having me visit Romancing the Genres! It's both an honor and a delight. What you're offering to writers, readers and everyone who visits your lovely site is an opportunity to connect and enjoy. What a gift! You ladies rock!!

Thank you again!

Terri L. Austin said...

Great post, Mary. You're right, the production schedule gets very hectic. It's a learning curve, trying to juggle everything. But I'm determined! Love your writing books. They've been so helpful. Keep up the good work!

Rhonda Lane said...

Thank you for your words of wisdom, Mary. When writing that first book, what the NASA crowd calls "Go Fever" is contagious for new authors, especially when closing in on The End. So many just finish and launch (another Space Race metaphor), but I also wonder how stable their foundations are? (Er, "launch pads." Our theme is Space Race, not living space. ) Of course, my much faster author friends wonder what the hell I do all day. Anyway, lovely to see you here.

Mary Buckham said...

Hey Terri! So lovely to see such an amazing author swing by and share. You make me blush! Love your determination and, when combined with your talent, there's no stopping you!!! Thanks for sharing and visiting today!!

Mary Buckham said...

Rhonda ~ you raise a great point (and why am I not surprised!) :-). Part of the process of that first book (and every book after it) is discernment. Getting great feedback to let you know if the book is ready to be launched. Because it is finished does not mean it's ready. How zenish is that? As writers we are so close to the process that we often can't judge our own work with an objective eye. Finding trusted critique partners who want us to succeed, or beta readers, is part of creating a publishing team, whether we plan to be traditionally or independently published. The day we stop learning more about the craft of writing, or the business of writing, is the day we stop growing as a writer. Thanks for bringing up this valuable issue!!

Kimberly Dawn said...

Great advice, Mary. Even those of us that aren't writers can use that advice. One of the biggest things I have had to teach myself is that when I get stressed over something, I need to just walk away for a bit. Maybe play with the kids or read or do something mindless like playing a game. Then I can tackle whatever was stressing me fresh and usually with a new perspective.

Mary Buckham said...

Good lessons learned Kimberly! Taking those kinds of breaks, knowing when we need a break :-) can be a challenge for a lot of writers (and people in general)! Especially if we're writing to a deadline or feeling behind on social media postings, getting edits or first draft or revisions done...the lists keep growing and growing. Brene Brown in one of her insightful books talk about the need to "make what we do look easy" as one of the top 3 ways women are shamed in this society. Asking for help, accepting compliments, saying no -- are powerful tools that many women struggle to learn. Daily we're inundated with messages that if other women (in commercials and ads especially) can do it all, then we must be failures if we can't. Stepping away to gain perspective is a good counter balance. Thank you for visiting and sharing!!

Denise Keef said...

This is great advice. Even though I'm not a writer, I do write reviews and like to make them interesting so people will read the book that I reviewed. All of your books Mary show your love of writing and that you take your time with each and every one.

Denise Keef said...

This is great advice. Even though I'm not a writer, I do write reviews and like to make them interesting so people will read the book that I reviewed. All of your books Mary show your love of writing and that you take your time with each and every one.

Jan Flynn White said...

Always great advice from you, Mary. Thanks for sharing.

Heather said...

Great advice for everything we do Mary! Thank you! I think it's important to keep the fun in it. The minute the fun is gone, everything changes, and not for the better.

Sarah Raplee said...

You have encapsulated so much wisdom into these four tidbits! Embracing them keeps writers sane.

1. Writing is not for wimps.
2. To avoid risk is to stagnate as a writer.
3. To write is to become an entrepreneur in a wild and crazy business.
4. Have fun along the way!

Thank you for Guesting with us, Mary - and for your kind words about RTG.
Poor Judith's internet is down, so you won't hear from her until it's fixed.

Debra Elise said...

Hi Sweet Mary,
I enjoyed reading this post. Pursuing writing as a career has been my biggest risk to date. I never imagined how much I would learn and grow from meeting other writers on this crazy journey. If I had let the first "no thanks" stop me in my tracks instead of using it as a learning experience, I would never have met you and discovered your craft books which have helped to improve my writing! Thank you, Mary for your inspiration and your IR novels! -ps, sending you some virtual beans <3

Mary Buckham said...

Hi Denise and thank you for visiting today! I think readers help keep a writer grounded and connected to the impact of their stories. An invaluable and very necessary part of the writer/reader relationship. Thank you for sharing as a reader because that helps all writers!!

Mary Buckham said...

Hey Jan ~ lovely to see you here. Hope you learned a few nuggets from either my post or the other posts on the blog. It's a wise writer who plans on success in their writing and then makes that happen by seeking out insights from those who are down the path a little further. Best of luck with your writing and publishing career and thanks for sharing!

Mary Buckham said...

Oh Heather! Absolutely on the money! Fun. Joy. Passion. All vital elements to keep a writer fueled and continually writing new and fresh stories. So glad that resonated with you!! Thanks for reading and for sharing!

Lynn said...

Great advice in a few, concise paragraphs. You must be a writer or something. :)

Love the advice about celebrating the missed goals, since they are learning opportunities. We are in charge of our own careers, and we should have fun. Hard to do, but you make it look easy.

Mary Buckham said...

LOL! Sarah, it's good to remember to hold on to that sanity (whatever version of sanity is our cup of tea) :-) because it's an easy occupation to make a writer crazy (or crazier) with the demands and the many facets of it always expanding and changing. Thank you and Judith again for having me visit and I hope Judith is able to take a few minutes of her unplugged in time to refuel. We all need that :-)

Mary Buckham said...

Hey Debra E ~ how lovely to see you here, especially knowing you're on the cusp of the next phase of your own writing journey from unpublished to published. As Dickens said "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times" (or close enough) because change can be challenging, so can reviews and other people's deadlines and expectations from you. You're like the Wizard of Oz about to step out from behind the curtain. I know you'll do great! Why? Because you take the time to visit sites like this and glean nuggets of wisdom! Cheers and appreciate your visit and post!

Mary Buckham said...

Too funny Lynn! Since writing novels is my first love I have learned from sweat and tears that writing short and concise does not come easily or naturally. Step aside Tolstory! Good thing I also learned that it's a craft skill like so many others - one that CAN be learned. Thank heavens. Delighted that you found some glimmers of help in my comments and I really appreciate your swinging by to visit today! Cheers :-)

Christy Carlyle said...

Wonderful post, Mary! I am in the "time frame is decreased dramatically" mode right now as I try to complete three books in a contract in eight months. The question for me has shifted from motivating myself to write to figuring out a way to keep the creative well full when I'm writing so quickly. I suddenly have a terrible desire to knit! So I've learned to allow myself downtime in between the mad rush of drafting, editing, and promoting.

Your books have taught me so much! Thank you.

Judith Ashley said...

So glad you could join us and we really appreciate your kind comments about RTG! Your post certainly resonates with me. The 2.5 days with no computer available was stressful and I did forget the 'have fun along the way' as well as my own advice about the gift of being untethered from technology.

Your advice and the resulting comments have reminded me of what is important and pointed the way back to sanity.

Thank you!

Mary Buckham said...

Hi Christy! So lovely to have to swing by and share. You captured the mad house that being published can create as we juggle our creative needs (to write that next amazing book!) while handling the increasingly hectic life of an entrepreneur. Your brilliant to realize that stopping, taking the time to play, craft, sit, think - can make it easier and more enjoyable when we throw ourselves back into the fray. :-) Beginning to sound like we're training for the gladiator games now doesn't it? :-) Thanks for sharing!!

Mary Buckham said...

Hi Judith! It can be almost impossible some days to stay away from the computer - especially if that time away is imposed by the tech glitches - talk about increasing madness instead of grounding us. So good to say hi and have your share your wisdom - not only here but by inviting such a lovely group of guest bloggers to share. It's like the bar at RWA conferences - we don't all go to drink but to share, to laugh, to release steam and to be among other writers who are living their dreams! Thank you!

Dorothy Callahan said...

Great article, Mary! You are always filled with wisdom, and I learn so much from you. Thank you for always offering to help those who need it and being so wonderful along the way!

Dorothy Callahan said...

Great article, Mary! You are always filled with wisdom, and I learn so much from you. Thank you for always offering to help those who need it and being so wonderful along the way!

Mary Buckham said...

Hi Dot! How fun to see you here and thank you for such kind words . I personally think learning is the path to understanding and understanding is a means to share. Can't wait to see you soon!

Kimberly Dawn said...

I learned long ago not to compare myself to anyone! I'm just me! Lol! (Knowing my limitations has helped a great deal. And yes, I still try to push my limits sometimes.) :)

Mary Buckham said...

Hi Limberly! Great lesson to have acquired and thank you for sharing it. I think you should start a new movement - the Just Me one - where joining means we accept ourselves and our achievements and challenges as part of the wonderful package that's life. Thank you so much for visiting and sharing!!

Liette Bougie said...

Words of wisdom, Mary... and so totally true. On a personal note, I'm real glad I've met you on FB and discovered your writing. I'm now totally addicted to Alex Noziak's and Kelly MacAllister's adventures as well as your non-fiction books. I hope one day to meet you in person.

Mary Buckham said...

Hello Liette! Lovely to see you here and thank you for your kind words. I feel the same way about getting to know and work with you as a par excellent Beta Reader. You and all my Street Team Ninjas make facing the next blank page a pleasure. One of these days I'll head to Montreal and we'll laugh and share stories in person! Cheers and thanks again!