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About Writing Right: The Blog


When an inexperienced novelist who was stuck midway through his book asked me that question recently, I thought the universe would be in lock-step with an answer. I was wrong. I keep hoping that, sooner or later, everyone who rushes forward with a response to writers in need will recognize a responsibility to answer with the truth. I'm still hoping. Meanwhile, here's what I ultimately wrote that writer in response.

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You've received two answers so far, and both of them are horrendous.


First, writing courses are not better than editorial work. Nothing beats on-the-job training and experience, if you're good enough to get it. Obviously, the respondent who suggested the superiority of writing courses to editorial experience wasn't.


Second, even if there are "a lots of" [sic] online schools now, that doesn't mean you'll learn anything from them. Including how to proofread your material before publishing it.


Third, a "good critique group" isn't hard to find; it's nearly impossible. Too many egos spoil the plot. If you find a "good" critique group and want to join, fine. But, it will never take the place of one-on-one mentoring and professional training.


Fourth, you don't "grow out of" being an inexperienced writer by rewriting; you do so by writing, learning, publishing, writing some more, learning some more, and publishing some more. Simply writing and rewriting the same material without improving your knowledge and skills through professional feedback and analysis won't make you anything but tired.


In short, the problem with writing, for beginners as well as professionals, is that, when you meet a brick wall and literally don't know how to get past it, no amount of trying will work. In the end, you'll only get frustrated, disappointed, and disillusioned. The results: Yet one more unfinished novel joins the ranks of the never-born.


The only way to avoid getting stumped is to learn what stumped you and how to get "un-stumped." And, the only way you learn that is from others who already know. "Been there, done that" is valuable advice. Get it?


So, if you want to know the answer to your question without getting waylaid by those ridiculous stabs in the dark by wannabe critics rushing to be the first (and the worst) to respond, hire a mentor with tons of experience to tell you where you went wrong and how to fix it. Someone who will be there right beside you when you need additional support and guidance.


Remember: If you try bulling your way through a china shop, you'll only end up with a lot of broken china.


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D. J. Herda is author of the new ebook series of writing advice, About Writing Right, available at Amazon and at fine booksellers everywhere.

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