Too. Much. Information.

Yeah, that’s how I’ve been feeling these past few weeks. I am super-excited to be launching an indie career over the next few months. I’ve been writing professionally since 2008, and my first two works of fiction will go live on September 6.

That means lots of research. Over the years I’ve read my fair share of books on writing craft and the writing biz, but for some reason I’m starting to feel overwhelmed by all the information I’m trying to process. Maybe because I feel like I finally have to make choices with that info. Information such as…

  • You can’t write a cohesive first draft if you don’t know at least the basics of your plot.
  • You can write bird by bird, scene by scene, one word at a time.
  • All first drafts are crap. Revision is your lifeline.
  • Revision is for suckers.
  • All good books have a three-act structure.
  • Three-act structure is an artificially imposed construct. Feel free to ignore it.
  • KDP Select and Kindle Unlimited are going to make you a fortune.
  • Run as far and as fast as you can from KDP Select and Kindle Unlimited.
  • If you write quickly you can make a living writing short fiction.
  • No one makes money writing short fiction.
  • If you’re going indie, you need your own imprint.
  • Starting a publishing imprint for your self-published books makes it look like you’re trying to trick readers into thinking you’re not self-published.
  • You shouldn’t…
  • You should…
  • You’re doomed if you don’t…
  • You’re doom if you do…

Head. Exploding. Too. Much. Information.

You seen what I mean, right? So here are a few things I’ve learned so far:

One: Most of what I learn as an indie author will be trial and error.

You can’t necessarily replicate someone else’s results. So much of what I’ll learn won’t be from reading someone else’s blog post but from my own experience.

Two: If someone gives you a hard and fast rule regarding process, it might not work for you.

Just because outlining has worked for another author for twenty years, that doesn’t mean you’ll get there by outlining. And just because another author has written by the seat of his/her pants for twenty years, that doesn’t mean you can. Process is highly individual, so do what works for you.

Yes, all that information is still giving me a headache. And I will probably spend the next few years sorting out what works from what doesn’t work. Or the next few decades. (Seriously, I hope not.)

Lastly, a brief ROW80 check-in…

Writing: Did one last read-through of The Faerie Key and sent it to the proofreader. Starting a second draft of White Wolf, Red Cloak, a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. My goal is to finish that draft this week and get that story to the editor soon, and then start revisions on Spellfire’s Kiss.

Reading: Finished reading Twilight Guardians. Loved the world. As always, Maggie Shayne’s writing was excellent. Love her books. Currently reading Garden Witch’s Herbal by Ellen Dugan, which is packed full of flower, plant, and tree lore and magical correspondences.

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. Click here to cheer on fellow participants.

What about you? How do you handle conflicting writing advice? What are some of the contradictory pieces of advice you’ve received over the years, and how have you sorted them out?

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12 thoughts on “Too. Much. Information.

  1. Hugs on all the conflicting information. One thing I’ve learned is that everyone’s journey is different, and there aren’t any rules that work for everyone. Lots of trial and error.

    I’ve got a couple of those Twilight Guardians books in my TBR pile. Must dig them out soon.

    • That’s what I’m realizing. You just have to follow your instincts, write a lot, and figure things out in your own way. Whatever I learn, the best advice will always be to read a lot (especially in your genre) and write a lot. That always works.

      I’ve only read Twilight Guardians, which is available as a free download on Amazon. If you haven’t read it yet, I recommend it. I just loved the world she created, even if Charlie, the main character, did drive me crazy at times. 🙂

  2. Oh, my gosh, I was just writing about some similar stuff. My head, too, is full of truths and lies and I can’t figure out which is which. Argh. I’m no help to you at all as I don’t know what to do either. But I do think that most writing advice is bunk. I will probably never get traditionally published because of that. But I will never understand what the point is of reading book that fits in all these little boxes (40 chapters long, building tension until chapter 20, crisis at chapter 20, etc.). So, hang in there. And do what you need to do for yourself and for your writing.

    • I’ve learned a lot from reading craft books over the years, but now I’m starting to find that there’s so much contradictory advice out there on how to write fiction. I’m just going to keep reading, keep writing, and keep learning and see how it goes. I feel like the few books I’ve managed to polish are pretty solid story wise. I’ve written a few that just need complete rewrites and more than a few that need some serious polishing.

      If you go the indie route, you might find that readers care less about those things than editors do. The average reader might not care that the book doesn’t follow a three-act structure, for example. I’ve always been hesitant to write a certain way because some editor or agent said to, which is probably why I’ve chosen an indie route. I’m still very concerned with reader experience. I want readers to be entertained and inspired by my books and feel like they got their money’s worth. At the end of the day, that’s what matters.

      Good luck with your journey, Chris!

  3. There is definitely a lot of conflicting advice out there. You just have to figure out what works for you and try to tune out the rest.

    Good luck with your upcoming releases! And looks like you’ve made good progress this week.

  4. Indie publishing is definitely one of those trial and error things. I try to look at the people who are doing really well and see what they have to say about what has and hasn’t worked.

  5. Indie publishing is trial and error, lots of error sometimes. It’s hard to sift through all the information and make good decisions. I’ve found it best just to jump in small and learn as you go. So far, all I have is short stories, not much money earned! But I try to see it as building a brand and an audience. Good luck. I can’t wait to read your book!

    • I’m starting with short stories, too. I know they don’t sell as well, but I enjoy writing them and hopefully a few readers are inspired and entertained by my shorter works. Thanks, Caren! 🙂

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