Brilliant Advice for Writers, from Peni

I don't know it all; I just talk as though I do! This is the page where I ramble on sharing such wisdom, or reasonable equivalent, as I have acquired. Stop here for Writing Advice, Lifestyle Advice, a run-down on Paying and Non-paying writing work, and what you should look for in a Significant Other. This is followed by the inevitable list of links to people who might be able to help you where I couldn't.

Writing Advice

Lifestyle Advice

In which I reveal the size of the chip on my shoulder and the extent of my hang-ups. I'm not going to tell you which items on here I don't do.

Types of Potentially Paying Writing Work

Types of Non-Paying Writing Work

You don't have to be published to be a writer. You only have to write. If the traditional writing life of scrambling after markets and living from hand-to-mouth doesn't appeal to you, you can still get amusement and ego satisfaction from other modes of writing, such as:

Choosing a Mate

Thanks to Damon for standing as a model!

The following discussion is directed at the spouse, as the life partner we have most control over, but the most important relationships of some writers have been with parents, siblings, or children; apply this advice as appropriate. This aspect of lifeis neglected by the writing advice books, but examining the biographies of famous writers reveals how important the person you marry is - both to you, and to your spouse! Writers are high-maintenance partners. We can be deadly to those we marry, and those we marry can be deadly to us. Charlotte Brontė ceased writing when she married. George Eliot didn't hit her groove till she settled down with George Henry Lewes. Lord Byron, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and W.B. Yeats would make everyone's list of lousy husbands, but Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning made a classic team. Can we even imagine Virginia Woolf's career without Leonard, or Gertrude Stein's without Alice B. Toklas? E. Nesbit's husband treated her poorly, but she stuck with him and they made a life that had room for the work she wanted to do. I can't tell you who to marry, or how to deal with their faults (don't wait for perfection - you won't find it), but I can tell you what to look for.

The ideal writer's spouse:

In return, the writer must strive not to make life harder than necessary: should not refuse to seek employment in times of financial hardship; should not dump the entire burden of house- and childcare on the spouse; should make a point of taking time off from the writing routine periodically to accomodate the spouse's priorities; and should always, always, always, bear in mind that such treatment is a free gift, not an obligation. Most of all, if your family is making sacrifices in order for you to work - you'd better be working! It is not possible to deserve the kind of behavior writers need. It is fatally unwise, however, to settle for anything less.

The Inevitable List of Links

What, you want more help? You don't pay me enough to read your manuscripts and give you specific advice. Besides, if you don't figure it out on your own, you won't really learn it. Here's some places to go for more help and support, though.

Writer's Digest Magazine
Poets and Writers Magazine
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators - The most awkward name for a union since the AFL-CIO; but who else is going to understand why it took you three years to write a 32-page book?
Science Fiction Writers of America - with good advice for writers of all genres
The Authors Guild - The champion of your rights! Also, full of resources for putting yourself on the web.
Writers Guild of America - If you're into screenwriting

And now, if you're done, you can check out our other pages:

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