GUEST POST: Beth Revis on Writing Advice

Hey all! The PubCrawl gang here with a special Tuesday guest post with Beth Revis, the New York Times bestselling author of the Across the Universe trilogy, and one of the smartest and most generous people we know! Because Beth is so generous, she has written—not one, not two, but three—books of writing advice! We are giving away the first here today, which I think many of our readers attempting NaNoWriMo this year might find useful!
DON’T MISS OUT ON THE GIVEAWAY AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST! All orders of Paper Hearts made before November 15 from Malaprops will come with a special gift—more details below!

There is Always a Reason to Be Jealous

writingadviceWhen I was a kid, scribbling stories and beaming when the teacher or my mom displayed them on the wall, authors were as mythical as unicorns. Walking among the shelves of a bookstore felt like walking among giants. It wasn’t until I wrote my first novel that I started to think being an author wasn’t an impossibility.

And that was also about the time when I started to feel jealous. I wanted, more than anything, to be a published author, and as time went on, I became more and more jealous of anyone who already held the keys to elite circle. That feeling just became more and more intense as I wrote manuscript after manuscript, hoping to find the golden ticket into publishing.

I would tell myself, If I could just get an agent, I’d be happy.

And then, eventually, I got an agent. And so I said, If I could just get a book deal, I’d be happy.

And I did. I got the book deal of my dreams. But then I said, If the book could just do well, maybe some awards or hit the list…then I can be happy.

And it did. And I was blissfully, gloriously happy. I had all my dreams come true. A great book deal, a trilogy that hit the NY Times bestseller list, publisher sponsored book tours, fan letters, literally everything I ever wanted.

But there is always a reason to be jealous.

Always.

Someone else hit the list higher. Someone else got a bigger deal. Someone else is heralded as the height of the genre. Someone else has higher ratings and better reviews. Someone else has everything I have, but also a nice lake house and isn’t allergic to kittens.

There’s always a reason to be jealous.

Even if you have it all, even if everything’s perfect…it won’t last. It just won’t. I guarantee that even J. K. Rowling worries that her next book will flop and the glory days are over. A number one New York Times bestseller fears that no one will read his next book. An author on the red carpet of the movie based on her book has a niggling fear that this is the peak and everything is downhill from here.

And even if you are riding that high, there is always someone who is higher up than you. There just is. That is the nature of the game. We all want to be the best of the best. We all want to be made immortal through our works. We all want to know that the things we wrote made a difference in someone’s life. And it’s hard to measure what our success is. So we look at things that do measure “success.” Things like author rank, or sales numbers, or who gets invited on a book tour, or who gets the most fan art on tumblr, or who is friends with who, who got a blurb from this other author, or which publishing house is better, or who gets more attention from their editor, or who stays on the list longer than who else, or who even makes the list, and in the end none of that matters.

None of it.

There is always a reason to be jealous.

No matter how successful you are, there is always someone more successful than you. No matter what you think the epitome of your career is going to be, when you reach it, there will be a higher point you want to reach. And that is good. You always want to be striving forward, you always want to be trying to make your art better. But if you become focused on what other people have, you waste your life on jealousy. You become bitter. You start reaching for the false goals. You quit celebrating the success of others, because you’re so wrapped up in yourself.

There are countless reasons to be jealous. But that doesn’t mean you have to succumb to them.

You can win a journal with this cover!

You can win a journal with this cover!

I wrote Paper Hearts for the writer I used to be. The questions I used to have plagued me when I was starting this career path. How do I get to the end? What’s the proper way to structure a novel—is there even a proper way? How do I make my book stand out from all the other ones on sub?

Now, fifteen years, eleven unpublished books, three New York Times bestsellers, one self published book, and countless hours working on craft and working with other professionals, I think I finally have the answers that I needed way back then.

Unfortunately, I can’t travel back in time.

But what I can do is try to help others. I’ve been compiling articles on the things I’ve learned about writing, publishing, and marketing for years, first informally on blog posts, then more collectively on Wattpad. After hitting 100,000 reads, I realized that I should take Paper Hearts more seriously…and that I had not one book, but three.

Fully revised and expanded, the Paper Hearts series will feature three volumes, one each on writing, publishing, and marketing. Paper Hearts, Volume 1: Some Writing Advice will be out on November 1, with the other two following in December and January.

Preorder it now from: Independent Bookstore | Amazon | BN |  Kobo | Smashwords

PAPER HEARTS: Some Writing Advice

Paper HeartsYour enemy is the blank page. When it comes to writing, there’s no wrong way to get words on paper. But it’s not always easy to make the ink flow. Paper Hearts: Some Writing Advice won’t make writing any simpler, but it may help spark your imagination and get your hands back on the keyboard.

Practical Advice Meets Real Experience

With information that takes you from common mistakes in grammar to detailed charts on story structure, Paper Hearts describes:

  • How to Develop Character, Plot, and World
  • What Common Advice You Should Ignore
  • What Advice Actually Helps
  • How to Develop a Novel
  • The Basics of Grammar, Style, and Tone
  • Four Practical Methods of Charting Story Structure
  • How to Get Critiques and Revise Your Novel
  • How to Deal with Failure
  • And much more!

BONUS! More than 25 “What to do if” scenarios to help writers navigate problems in writing from a New York Times Bestselling author who’s written more than 2 million words of fiction.

Remember: if you pre-order the print copy from my local indie bookstore, Malaprops, you’ll also get a chapbook of the best writing advice from 12 beloved and bestselling YA authors included in your order for free!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Beth SquareBETH REVIS is the New York Times bestselling author of the Across the Universe trilogy, as well as The Body Electric, Paper Hearts, and the forthcoming A World Without You. She lives in the Appalachian mountains with her boys: one husband, one son, and two very large dogs. You can find out more on Facebook, Twitter, or online. If you never want to miss a thing and also get exclusive insider opportunities, sign up for her newsletter here.

     

4 Responses to GUEST POST: Beth Revis on Writing Advice

  1. Sandy Oct 27 2015 at 11:11 am #

    Thanks for this great post! I’ve struggled with jealousy a lot in my writing life, but I found that if I stop and examine it, my feelings actually help me hone in on what I really want. If I’m jealous of somebody else’s success, that means I really, really want the same thing and need to make it a priority in my life to achieve it.

  2. Elizabeth Torphy Oct 27 2015 at 12:09 pm #

    What did I get out of this? “Someone else has everything I have, but also a nice lake house and isn’t allergic to kittens.” You cracked me up! Thank you for all your wisdom…it is nice to know that the struggles are never-ending….and that is sarcasm!!!! Great post!

  3. claragwrites Oct 29 2015 at 11:06 am #

    As a person right at the bottom of the writing and author totem pole, I am so happy to have read this post and learn that even if I grow as a writer, I’ll always want more. It’s just like everything else in life. Success is relative and the human mind always wants to top the next level.

    I’m preparing for nanowrimore (username is claragwrites, if you want to add me), and it’s good to keep these things in mind. We all do it because we love it, and more importantly, there’s something in us that can’t not do it. This is why we do it.

    Paper Hearts sounds like an amazing resource. I’ll check it out.

  4. Hannah Nov 10 2015 at 6:21 am #

    I think this can be applied to most areas of life. The whole ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ mentality usually affects us all in some way at at least one point in our lives. Using the success of others as motivation for your own success has plenty of benefits though.

    Paper Hearts sounds like a very informative trilogy. Congratulations on your success thus far and thank you for taking the time to share your experience and wisdom with others!

Leave a Reply

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.