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      • JD Stanley JD Stanley 1 year ago
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      • That's easy - being able to support myself wholly on my art. Writing is like breathing to me. I need to do it or I'm not alive. If I got to the point that's the only thing I'm doing, I'd be happy as a clam. Having been a working writer most of my life, I've supported my family on writing of various sorts, but most of that wasn't for me. When I think of success, I'm talking about doing the kind of writing I love and want to write, not the sort I have to because it pays the bills. I'm not a person who needs to accumulate money for the sake of it, so as long as I'm making enough I don't have to do the other sorts of writing, like technical or commercial writing, that's my definition of "making it" and I'd be content.
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      • JD Stanley JD Stanley 1 year ago
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      • Oh, hands-down, military-science and political thrillers. I freaking love reading them and have been a massive Tom Clancy fan since The Hunt for Red October. I would love to write something in that genre as an homage to Tom Clancy, but the background I'd need is too far outside the scope of my experience to do it proper justice. And honestly? That makes me a little sad.
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    • AllAuthor AllAuthor 1 year ago
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    • Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit. Any tips for aspiring writers?
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      • JD Stanley JD Stanley 1 year ago
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      • If it's not emotionally draining while you're writing it, you're doing it wrong. That same emotion carries through your words to the reader. The words *have* to be charged with that emotion to pull the reader into the story and have them believe it. Otherwise? It's just words on a page.

        Overall, though, writing isn't for the weak. You're nearly never getting an instant pay-off. That pay-off may not even come for a decade or more, so you have to be prepared for that. If your only motivation for writing is you think you're getting famous and rich two seconds after you put something out and are okay with giving up when it doesn't happen, you're in the wrong business. It takes stamina. And it's more frustrating and heart-breaking going into it setting yourself up for that kind of disappointment. You have to do it, because you love it and you can't *not* do it. The eventual pay-off can't be your only motivation.

        A great end goal to shoot for is to make a decent living off your art, but you're not going to do it on one book. You're playing a long game, building up your reputation over time, building a fan base, building your skills, putting out quality work you're getting out in front of new readers... It takes time to make all those things come together.

        Learn to take a constructive critique without wanting to throw in the towel. If it's coming from someone who's been in the business a while, they know things you don't, so take the info in and use what's relevant to you. You don't need to use all of it, because some of it comes down to taste, but the business part? Yeah, take the advice. When you're sending to traditional publishers, be persistent. Not in the hounding a single publisher kind of way, but in continuing to send to more publishers when you get rejections. But make sure you do your research. Send to places that are looking for your type of work, so you don't waste your time or theirs. Some of the most famous writers we know were rejected hundreds of times, so keep at it. Eventually, you'll find an editor who really loves your voice and "gets" you.

        Write every day and protect your writing time. Don't let other things get in the way of it, even if you only have an hour a day between a day job and kids and responsibilities. If you're in it for the long-haul, you'll always find the time. Practice your art and never think you're "good enough" - challenge yourself to improve with every new thing you create.
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      • JD Stanley JD Stanley 1 year ago
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      • I was very much a product of the 60s and 70s. The style of prose then was very wordy. If you've ever read books from the 1900s, you could see the influence from that time, even in popular fiction. That's the way I started off while I mirrored what my favourite authors did. I credit the commercial writing I've done in my life with teaching me to pare down my fiction writing. Now I look for ways to use less and better words to make it really lean and a faster read while still conveying the same story.
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      • JD Stanley JD Stanley 1 year ago
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      • Writing for other people definitely pays the bills, but after awhile, it becomes wholly unfulfilling. Start writing for yourself now. That was always your goal, so make it your first priority and everything else will take care of itself around it.
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