Nearly Everything I Need to Write a Book I Learned in Elementary School

by Kelly Klepfer

1) Learn. 

Not even kidding about this. You need to invest your time, energy, heart and soul in learning what to do and what not to do. This involves conferences, books, magazines and blog reading. If you are new, you may have already poised to click out of this because you are tired of hearing this advice. But, there is no way around this step if you want to succeed. In order to be published and/or sell books, you have to give the impression that you are worth investing in. And the advice that hundreds of thousands of people give is that you learn to write according to the rules. When you get those down, you can calculate how to creatively twist those in your story.
2) Be a grownup.
Remember the horror of having to raise your hand to go use the restroom? Or heaven forbid you threw up in class and they had to call Mr. Kenny to bring his bucket of sawdust to clean up your desk? Utter humiliation. This rule is also something many people don’t want to hear. In a fantasy world it would be so fabulous to sit down, crack out a novel and then make enough money to buy a private, fully staffed island. But in reality, writing is painful. If you’ve never suffered through a critique or edit but have only been praised for your gift, brace yourself. Pull on those big boy or girl undergarments and know it’s as tough as a dental visit after skipping twice a year for a decade.

You can’t successfully write alone. You become immune to your quirks and favorite phrasing and enamored with your characters. With immunity comes distorted vision. The goal of writing should be clear communication. And there are so many ways to be unclear. It requires teachability, humility and motivation to accept that someone suggests that your flowery writing is obscuring what you are trying to say. Or even worse, someone recommends you cut a character that really complicates things and muddies the waters. The character you wrote based on your sorority sisters. See the need for adult underwear?

3) Play well with others. 

Publishing, though there are millions of books on Amazon, is a tiny world. If you make a habit of being rude or difficult, others won’t want to work with you. Publishing and its huge big brother, marketing, is challenging if you’ve been hateful to others. Blogs do not have to share your book information. People don’t have to friend, like or follow you. An editor or agent who attended a conference where you acted like a prima donna might remember you for all sorts of reasons, none of them good.

4) I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine. 

This is all about social media. If you only FB hang with your inner circle you are missing out on potential readers. If you never thank people, like their stuff or return follow them when they reach out to you, you are going to get lonely when it comes time to find a group of readers who’d love to promote your book. You need a platform and a willingness to invite others on your journey. But that also means you need to be willing to return that favor when it’s their time.

5) Be kind. 

If you stick this out, you will have opportunities to help newbies or even kids on your bus. You don’t have to be dishonest, but always look for a gentle way to say something that might be critical. For example, laughing hysterically and calling someone a hack is not the best way to help them. Instead point out why you got hung up on their particular wording. Or when you review a novel don’t give it two stars and point out that you hate the characters’ names. Instead, communicate positive things in the book, as well as negative.

6) Remember that lunch and recess are part of the day as well. 

Sometimes you just need to sleep on it. Pull yourself out of your cramped office space and take a shower or eat dinner with your family. There might even be some time for a rousing game of tetherball, even if a deadline looms.

7) If at first you don’t succeed try, try again.
Don’t give up. If writing is in your blood you’ll go crazy trying to ignore it. Take a summer or Christmas sized break if needed. But always keep reading and go ahead and do a few reports along the way.

Yay! The bell just rang. I’m outta here. 

If writing is in your blood you’ll go crazy trying to ignore it.~ Kelly Klepfer (Click to Tweet)

Kelly Klepfer
had ambitions to graduate from the school of life quite awhile ago, but alas . . . she still attends and is tested regularly. Her co-authored cozy/quirky mystery, Out of the Frying Pan, is the culmination of several of the failed/passed tests.

Kelly, though she lives with her husband, two Beagles and two hedgehogs in Iowa, can be found at Novel Rocket, Novel Reviews, Scrambled Dregs, Modern Day Mishaps, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter with flashes of brilliance (usually quotes), randomocities, and learned life lessons. Zula and Fern Hopkins and their shenanigans can be found at Zu-fer where you always get more than you bargained for. Please join my author page.