I feel bad. I started out my last post with the intent of providing some useful Do It Yourself tips for authors of all kinds and I went off on a tangent about my own life. Not very useful. So for the foreseeable future (a few months probably) I will transform my Fridays to DIYdays (pronounce DIE-days so it rhymes). I will post short tips or how-to mini-manuals for everything I had to learn on my own on this journey as an author. If you’d like to follow along, you can always check my blog on Fridays, or make it easier for yourself and sign up to follow via email and get my posts directly to your inbox as soon as they go live! See? I’m all about the helpfulness =)
Obviously, I cannot advise you on how to write a masterpiece. That will solely be up to you. And I can’t give you a sure guide to success and instant fame. All I can do is share what I have learned, and if you want to use it, great! I hope it works for you. If not, that’s okay too. And always, always, ALWAYS the rule will be, if you want to share your own trials, what worked, what did not, if you have a better way of doing it, please comment and share with us. =)
The plan is to talk at least a little about each of my Links and Resources. But some ground work must needs be laid down before I can get to them so please bear with me. I will try to keep preachy sermons to a minimum. If you see me ranting, call me out on it. The last thing I want is to waste people’s time.
So without further ado, here is lesson number one:
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As an introduction to everything, I offer my first rule of doing anything (including these lessons). And it does not mean what you think it means. 😉
KISSASS is an acronym for Keep It Simple, Stylish And Self-Sustainable. I find that following this rule makes my life a lot easier.
What do I mean? How many times have you walked into a cluttered room and got so lost in an impromptu “Spring Cleaning” that you forgot what you went in there for in the first place? How many times did you click on a website and couldn’t for the life of you find that one piece of information you needed?
This works in all aspects of life.
Simple – does not mean lacking or minimalist. You can have gravy, just make sure there is a reason for it to be there. You don’t want to put strawberry whipped cream on a medium-rare steak. Sure, it would look nice, but the two don’t mesh. Whether it’s writing a scene, building your blog/website, composing a cover letter or resume, get to the point, make sure it’s an important one, and then you can add the flourishes.
Stylish – does not mean in the latest fashion. As with the above, it means, make sure everything in one part matches. For example, if you write murder mysteries, it might not be a good idea to have a bright pink website with flowers. Set the mood for what you want to accomplish. You can have many different styles live in harmony, but find a way to make them play nice together.
And – because there is always an ‘and.’ Whenever you think something is done, it’s not. Give it a rest, put it aside, then come back to it and look again with fresh eyes. Only when you can’t find any more things you want to change/add/improve can you say to yourself, “This is done.” You’d be surprised how difficult it is to get to that point (at least for me). If you don’t do this at least once, odds are overwhelmingly against it being the best it can possibly be. Don’t short change your audience. They give you their time, money and devotion. They deserve the best you can offer.
Self-Sustainable – does not mean it works for you or on its own. But it sort of does. As an author, you create something and then put it out there. At that point, the conversation ends. You spoke, your readers listened. Make sure you said all you wanted to say, all that needed to be said, in a way that is understandable, because you will not get a chance for follow-up explanations. If your readers have questions you did not intend for them to have, you did not do a good enough job explaining. If someone looks at your cover page and doesn’t see the connection between it and your story, you did not design it well enough. If someone comes to your website and can’t find your books, there is no point to having it. Whatever you do should stand on its own. You can improve, you can change, but each time you do, it should make things better, not worse.
Here endeth the lesson. Now go forth and create =)