Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Words of Wisdom from the Smart Chicks

As a novice writer I find it fascinating to listen to seasoned veterans about the writing process and book business. Last Sunday I was fortunate enough to attend the Seattle stop on the Smart Chicks Kick It Tour. The lineup was quite impressive: Melissa Marr, Kelley Armstrong, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Rachel Caine, Melissa de la Cruz, Sophie Jordan, Jeri Smith-Ready, Margaret Stohl, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Richelle Mead, Rachel Vincent, Stephanie Kuehnert, and Sara Zarr. I was starstruck for most of the afternoon. However, being the huge nerd that I am, I did manage to push aside those stars and take notes in my writers notebook. (Side note: On another huge nerd front, I also had several of the authors sign my writers notebook as a way to keep myself inspired to write. Sadly, this idea occurred to me halfway through the line up so I didn't get all of the attendees to sign it.) 

I decided to share some of my favorite gems with you today instead of creating a traditional crafting post. Hearing these ladies speak was so inspiring for me. I tried to write down where each tidbit came from, but at times the authors talked too fast and I just got the idea down.

Melissa Marr: Feed off your characters and be inspired by them

Sophie Jordan: Reading is the happiest time of my life.

Characters are often who we wish we had been.

Melissa Marr: I have a mortician on speed dial. (This was in response to a question on research.)

Melissa Marr suggested immersing yourself in your research for your WIP. Jennifer Lynn Barnes uses her real life experiences rather than traditional research for her writing.

Sara Zarr's Advice for Writers: Focus on becoming the best writer you can be - Craft should be your focus - Have life experiences - Read widely

Richelle Mead's Advice for Writers: Write about what you are passionate about even if you don't think other people will want to read it - there are no new stories so pour your heart into the story you want to create

Sophie Jordan: Give yourself permission to write crap.

Melissa Marr: I don't plot. I prefer to be consumed by my writing.

Sara Zarr: A first draft is a discovery draft.

Writing is hard and there are a ton of other things you could spend your time on. Push yourself and just force your way through the hard stuff.

You have to carve out writing time that works for you. Make it happen.

Writing gives you permission to explore what intrigues you.

Margaret Stohl: Being a writer is like being drunk all the time.

Writers block is a product of fear and lack of confidence.

Pay attention to language.

Pay attention to your life.

Listen to the lyrics of music. It can trigger inspiration.

Kelley Armstrong: You will only fail at writing if you walk away. Don't just think about it - write, write, write.


  1. Best. Post. That was awesome and exactly what I think we all need to hear and don't like to hear at the same time. Thanks for sharing, Drea!

  2. Glad you enjoyed it, Danielle. I found the advice to be spot on for me. I tend to put writing off when its hard or tell myself that its a pipe dream. I need to build writing work ethic and confidence that will help me get over those hurdles. My book isn't going to write itself after all.

  3. I'm not confident enough to attempt writing---yet! Although I've got plots and characters running through my head constantly!

    The writers advice posts were amazing and how awesome that you got to attend! That must have been a fantastic day :o]

    Very cool of you to share this with us! Thanks so much! The information you posted is priceless!

  4. Hey! I'm your 50th follower! That's a great milestone, before you know it, it'll hit 100 then 300, then 500 and so on!

    You have a great blog with fantastic content!

  5. Drea, this post is so perfect! Great job! I so wish I'd been there with you. One day my awesome CP, one day!

    Kristi, thank you so much for stopping by today. We love seeing new faces. :-)