Sunday, December 20, 2009

Advice to Writers: Melody McClarty

During 2009's Dog Days of Summer BlogTour we shared time with aspiring author (and poet with multiple books coming out shortly) Melody McClarty. Melody was kind enough to talk to me about her journey as an author (and I feel it's especially important that authors starting out connect). We all get advice as aspiring authors. Some's blatantly wrong (the economy's so bad nobody's buying books--pffft). Some needs major adjustment (write what you know--but I like werewolves!).

But the advice Melody got is spot-on and I hope you apply it, too. It will change your attitude if you aren't already thinking in this way. Melody told me:

My first run in with a real writer was learning from Sophfronia Scott. She’s an absolute gem of a person. I hate to say it but she really did take the brunt of my initial trepidations about becoming a writer and my lack of focus. Sophfronia is a super coach in all ways. Her focus is amazing.

One of the first things she ever said to me was, I want you to say to yourself that
“you ARE a writer.” She had me walking all over town saying it out loud to people.

After a week or two of that I realized that all that was stopping me was me. I have the imagination and the passion to become a storyteller but what I lacked were the tools. Writing is like building a house only your imagination and your words are your materials. All you need is a plan, the passion and the right tools.

But first and foremost, you have to believe in yourself. Practice and discipline yourself. Just keep reading and writing. Most importantly don’t get discouraged. Accept the fact from the beginning that you will be getting rejection letters. Make them something positive by finding a wall in your home to hang them on and keep moving forward because every writer gets them. I view them as badges of honor from having been in the trenches. Each rejection is just gonna make you refine your craft and sooner or later its gonna all come together just write. It’s par for the course.

I think every writer has to come to uncomfortable conclusion that writing is an art but publishing is a business.

Pantster or Plotter?

This question always makes me chuckle.

To me whatever method achieves your goals that’s what I say. Do what ever works for you. Sometimes I plot, sometimes I just write and let the pieces fall where they may. Then I worry about the structure and formatting later when I know I have to go back and do rewrites anyway.

Every writer and every story is different. What ever works.

What about workshops and conventions? Any you like or would suggest?

Writers Digest is fantastic for workshops. Bob Mayer’s program is also
very excellent. Not to mention the wealth of information you can get
from the Maui Writers Conference and their website www.hawaiiwriters.org.

As far as conventions I can’t recommend one over the other. But I do
hear that the Maui Writers Conference and retreat is one of the best.
I’ll gladly let you know more after I attend the conference next year.

What resources online do you think are indispensable for authors?

There are many but I would recommend to anyone starting out to start
with Writers Digest and Hawaii Writers to find all the resources you need.

Great stuff from Melody!

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