The Frustration of Good Advice (Part II)

In the last post, I promised you a quiz on one of the many good sites out that dispensing advice for aspiring writers.

Did you read it?  Are you ready for the quiz? Ready or not, here it is:

1) Have you read every book on the recommended reading list? Or even most of them? Plus a whole lot of others, as the writer suggested? Or are you working diligently on the list?

2)  Do you practice your craft every day, or at least on a regular basis?

3)  Have you taken any writing courses?

4)  Do you participate in workshops, whether in-person or online?

5)  If you answered “Yes” to 1 – 4 above… Have you no LIFE?

I mean, seriously, we’re talking about a huge time commitment here, and as Angela commented on my previous post, many of us can’t afford it.

So far, we’re just talking about the actual writing of your novel. If you ever hope to sell it, you need to establish a platform, network with others in the industry, make a name for yourself, yada yada yada.

There’s no shortage of sites telling you how to go about doing that too, and it’s essential to do certain things if you ever hope to be a published author. Have a website; blog; interact with people on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

In a world where time is money, none of that stuff comes cheap. Many of us have day jobs (or maybe, night jobs), spouses, children, and households to take care of. You might be active in church, go to school, care for an aging parent, volunteer your time with a local civic organization. And, usually about once a day, most of us have to devote a few uninterrupted hours to sleep.

All these things the experts tell us might constitute practical wisdom, but it makes me tired just thinking about it. I can usually squeeze time into my day for writing, or for reading – but it’s a rare day when I can do much of both. And I’m supposed to spend a couple hours a day on Twitter, too? Please!

So what do we do with all this good advice that seems impossible?

The best we can.

Do you want to be a writer? Then you’ll have to take it seriously. Get tough with yourself. Review your priorities. Make a reasonable schedule, and stick with it. Streamline your tasks as much as possible. Relax at night with a book rather than the TV.

Determine which of the recommended activities are most important for you in your situation/most practical for someone in your circumstances, and focus on those, not worrying about the rest.

Most importantly, if you’re a follower of Christ, pray about it. A lot. Being a writer might be what you want to do, but it’s important that you do what He wants. If it’s what He wants for you, He’ll give you success (remember Joshua 1:8)? Sure, we need to listen to the experts. But let’s face it. God is bigger than Twitter.

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