5 Lessons I’ve Learned as a Writer

5 Lessons I’ve Learned as a Writer, Guest post by John Herrick

You won’t find a perfect writer. You’ll find only writers who, if they’re honest, are on a never-ending mission to improve. None of us has all the answers, but we have lessons we’ve learned along the way. Here are five of the most valuable lessons I’ve had the privilege of learning.

5 Lessons I’ve Learned as a Writer, Guest post by John Herrick
1. It will take longer than you think. Writing a novel. Understanding the rules of the game. Developing your voice. Everything. Anything substantive in life takes time and sacrifice—but it’s worth it. Do your research. Know the marketplace. Readers can sense when something isn’t quite right, even if they can’t identify what it is.

2. Remove adverbs. Ninety-nine percent of the time, adverbs are unnecessary. In fact, most writers and industry people consider heavy use of adverbs the telltale sign of an amateur. Instead of writing that a character spoke angrily, try describing the character’s vocal tone, gestures or facial expression. That creates an experience for the reader, which is why the reader grabbed your book in the first place. On occasion, an adverb is the only route you can use. But when in doubt, just nix it. One reason you have the freedom to do this is lesson #3 …

3. Readers are smart. That offers an advantage to you, because you don’t need to document every miniscule detail. Readers can read between the lines and draw logical conclusions based on what you’ve told them so far. They want to draw some of their own conclusions. When I wrote my first novel, I thought I needed to explain everything. But I discovered if you invest a lot of effort developing your characters, you will end up with many psychological details you never mention in the manuscript. To my surprise, readers deduced some of those details anyway. Nowadays, I enjoy planting nuggets between the lines of the characters’ psyches for readers to find—and sure enough, they find them! You see, a book isn’t just a book. It’s a partnership between you and your reader. It’s a relationship through the written word.

4. Don’t churn out crap. A good reputation is more valuable than silver or gold. I’ve taken that biblical advice to heart. When a reader buys your book, it’s an act of trust on their part. They have chosen to trust you. They trust you will provide a high-quality product in return for their hard-earned money. They could have spent time doing countless things, but they chose to spend time with your book. Don’t violate their trust. It’s disrespectful and, yes, selfish. Spend time developing your story, developing your characters, identifying holes in your logic, proofreading your work.

5. Save your work. All the time. Every time you think of it, after every natural pause, hit Ctrl-S. Develop the habit. Let me tell you, that has been my habit for years. But somehow, as I wrote this guest post, I got so far involved in it that I forgot to do so—then I clicked something too fast and lost everything I’d written. Save often! Be neurotic about it!

What lessons have you learned along the way? I’d love to hear them!

Thanks for letting me stop by the blog. And feel free to visit me at www.johnherrick.net or on my socials. Never give up!

5 Lessons I’ve Learned as a Writer, Guest post by John Herrick
A self-described “broken Christian,” John Herrick battled depression since childhood. In that context, however, he developed intuition for themes of spiritual journey and the human heart.
Herrick graduated from the University of Missouri—Columbia. Rejected for every writing position he sought, he turned to information technology and fund development, where he cultivated analytical and project management skills that helped shape his novel-writing process. He seized unpaid opportunities writing radio commercial copy and ghostwriting for two nationally syndicated radio preachers.
The Akron Beacon Journal hailed Herrick's From the Dead as “a solid debut novel.” Published in 2010, it became an Amazon bestseller. The Landing, a semifinalist in the inaugural Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest, followed. Publishers Weekly predicted “Herrick will make waves” with his novel Between These Walls.
Herrick's nonfiction book 8 Reasons Your Life Matters introduced him to new readers worldwide. The free e-book surpassed 150,000 downloads and hit #1 on Amazon's Motivational Self-Help and Christian Inspiration bestseller lists. Reader response prompted a trade paperback.
His latest novel, Beautiful Mess, folds the legend of Marilyn Monroe into an ensemble romantic-comedy.
Herrick admits his journey felt disconnected. “It was a challenge but also a growth process,” he acknowledges. “But in retrospect, I can see God's fingerprints all over it.”

5 Lessons I’ve Learned as a Writer, Guest post by John Herrick


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  1. Replies
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    2. I much appreciate you for sharing here 5 lessons which you learned as a writer & make you a perfect writer. This post is motivate all the people who want to be an honest, perfect and successful writer because a decent reputation is further valuable than silver or gold. So to attract and increase more readers every writer must be keep mind this lesson. This post is very beneficial & provide positive attitude to one of my colleague who currently joined our constancy Personal Statement Folks where he is design psychology personal statement - http://www.personalstatementfolks.co.uk/psychology-personal-statement/ for UK students with smearing main beliefs and investigating human performance and mind. He is writing story and blog but feel little nervous as a beginner writer. So I hope this post would be a helpful for them.

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  3. JENNIFER BROWN BANKS22 August 2017 at 03:47


    Very interesting and informative post. Thanks so much for these useful tips.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.


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