I’ve been writing for fun since I was nine years old. In that time, I’ve learned a couple good, basic tips that I try to apply to my work and my role in writer communities. I was thinking about a few of these recently and I wanted to share them, because it occurred to me that these items are excellent tips to apply to our on lives, both on our blogging platforms and in our day-to-day.
One of the best pieces of technical advice I can give is to backup everything. When I was younger, I used to write directly on the desktop computer I shared with my younger brother. Sure, all the files were password protected because like any writer, I was very concerned about anyone reading my work (“it’s not ready yet!”). This was an old computer. I’m talking 90s-style, built from used parts, you had to press a button to shut it down when the OS gave you permission, dial-up internet was revolutionary computer.
Unsurprisingly, one day, this computer cheerily welcomed us with the Blue Screen of Death.
At least modern Blue Screens of Death have the unicode sad face to make it seem like the world isn’t ending. Back in the day, it just yelled at us about fatal errors and termination.
I lost so much. Early drafts of Fate, a collection of fiction and non-fiction short stories I had written when I was younger. I remember I had a dragon fantasy called The Chronicles of Illyria that hadn’t been printed and squirrel away in a binder so it was gone-gone-gone. Loads of digital photos and graphic art, too. I was so upset.
This kind of thing doesn’t only happen on old computers. I started backing up on USB flash drives – I have at least one that has been corrupted or damaged. Cloud drives that have failed to save after a day’s work. I haven’t had a backup fail in about seven years, but it happens. Backup the things you care about often and in multiple ways to avoid losing them.
This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s surprising how cut-throat people can be. There used to be a joke, I don’t know if it’s still going around, “Be nice, or I’ll put you in my novel.” I’ve heard it from other writers and I know I’ve joked around and said it myself. Writing should never be used for revenge. However, this entry is more than that.
Compassion comes on a few different levels. Being kind, understanding, and supportive to others is always important. It’s also important to dot he same for yourself. We treat ourselves so much more horribly than we would ever treat someone else. We talk ourselves down, tell ourselves we aren’t good enough. We aren’t worthy, our ideas aren’t original enough. Be compassionate to yourself. Believe in your story. We writers are our own worst critics and it’s important to practice compassion to ourselves.
And that if good advice for daily life. You are pretty enough, smart enough, driven enough, talented enough, strong enough, friendly enough, brave enough, good enough.
Novels aren’t good without research. Full stop. If you haven’t looked up the role of women in England in the 1600s for your period romance or the biological effect of a nuclear explosion for your post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel, your readers can tell. I read a book a couple years ago (and I don’t want to name names) that claimed to rely heavily on Norse Mythology. It was one of the reasons I was so excited to read it!
I”m no expert on Norse mythology I know a little, and I know that as much as I enjoy it, much of the MCU is tweaked from the actual mythos.
But I do know things like the origin of Fenrir and when you are calling Celtic goddesses Norse goddesses. It ruined the entire book for me because it felt the the author not only didn’t do their research, but also took what little they knew of the mythos, scrambled it to suit their own romantic purposes, and then tried to pass it off as accurate. I was pretty merciless in my review.
This is also true in real life, and 2020 taught me that in spades. It’s very easy to trust hearsay and headlines and spread it around, but it’s important to do your own research and dig deeper into sources to find the real truth of a situation rather than trusting the biased media or the words of someone motivated by fear or hate.
Being a decent writer and a decent blogger and a decent human being sometimes are not too far apart.
Are there things you have learned in your hobbies that you apply to daily life? I would love to hear about the lessons you have learned and how you have applied them! Let me know in the comments, I’d love to chat!