July 22nd, 2010

Gil Marsh cover

The support of others

I don't usually give out much writing advice here. That's because I think there are many people on the web who do an excellent job already, and I'm happy to point out particularly good pieces when I run across them.

In an interesting post today, Tobias Buckell noted how you can find a lot of advice for beginner writers online, but much less for mid-career writers. It's not because there aren't as many difficulties or questions about publishing for mid-career writers, but each writer has a slightly different career path, and what works for one writer might not work for another. And, unfortunately, a common response online to a mid-career writer who poses a professional quandary is "stop whining. I wish I had your problems." 

So yeah, talking mid career shop suddenly becomes something more interesting to do in person, or between groups of writers in roughly the same place as you are, less misinterpretations occur . . . I still carefully will talk about aspects of it, but with all that, I can understand why most stick to beginner advice and dodge that other messy stuff.

So I'm going to step in the fray and give one piece of advice for writers whose careers have gone beyond the beginning stages. Find other writers who aren't beginners to talk to.


Writing can be lonely. Yeah, I have friends of all stripes who are kind and willing to listen to me (as I am willing to listen to them). But like lots of folks, I like to talk shop. And, as in every job out there, you can only really talk shop with people from the shop. The best thing I ever did for myself was to join groups of other writers whom I could talk shop with. Over the years, they've given me advice, perspective, and a heck of a lot of support.

So find other writers. Ones who know where you're at.

One caveat:  Like all advice to mid-career writers, use mine only if it works for you.