Monday, 11 July 2016

Tips for the Aspiring Writer by Alex Caan - Cut to the Bone Blog Tour

Today, I'm the first stop on the blog tour for Cut to the Bone by Alex Caan. I'm delighted to welcome Alex to my blog with  some Tips for the Aspiring Writer. Cut to the Bone is published by twenty7 on 14 July 2016.

Tips for the Aspiring Writer
by Alex Caan

Don’t do it! Seriously. If you think writing is an easy way out of your personal/social/financial problems, it’s not. It takes years of sheer hard graft for very little reward (for most). Sure, we all dream of being the next J K Rowling or Lee Child, or writing the next ‘Girl’ phenomenon, and someone reading this might be that person. But those authors, if pushed to tell you how they made it, will give you a different answer. The path of every writer is unique, so don’t read a list or watch a video and beat yourself up for not following those rules.

While the advice of published writers is not going to give you a blueprint to follow, I found inspiration in lots of things different writers said. So I will share the tips that I found most useful and that kept me focused. But here’s a disclaimer – they won’t make you a millionaire (probably), but might unclog a drain somewhere. I always thought I’d make a good plumber...
  • Work out why you write. If it’s because you can’t NOT write, if you start feeling ill when you DON’T, then that’s the correct answer. Anything else (especially because you want to buy a yacht) is the wrong reason.
  • READ. Very obvious, but virtually every writer whose advice I’ve read has said this. Read widely and across genres – I often find a lot of ideas come to me through non-fiction!
  • Writers would make great spies (and psychopaths). You have to believe you can write/are writing something phenomenal, you need that absolute confidence somewhere or you wouldn’t even start. Coupled with that is your natural inner critic reflecting back every negative word anyone has ever said to you, which if it gets too loud will stop you ever writing again. Fighting that voice and channelling your inner confidence is a tough job. It has to be done, so polish your armour. (Thank you to my English teacher extraordinaire for providing mine!)
  • Try your hand at different genres/voices/styles, until you find the one that fits.
  •  Get some Teflon skin. You will be told No more than you will Yes. If you can’t take rejection or criticism, stop now. (Although a darkened room full of chocolate intravenous drips is useful when the rejection happens…)
  • The rule I HATE is the one that says write what you know. I find it so limiting. Write what you want to know. Google is your friend, and nowadays you can pretty much get virtual experience via YouTube for anything.
  • Surround yourself with the right people. You don’t want Yes people or No people. Just balanced ones. Good luck finding them. (And no, your mum isn’t one of them!)
  • Stop focusing on other people who get deals/published or how well they do or don’t do. Their success/failure/breakthrough has no relevance to you, and is just a distraction.
  • Be nice. It won’t kill you. And people are willing to stick with you and help you in return.
  • The most important one – write your own rules. If writing ten words a day works for you, do it. If listening to music will keep the words flowing, do it.

So there you go. And if anyone does make millions following these tips, feel free to share. Thank you.

About Alex Caan
Alex Caan was born in Manchester, and has spent over a decade working in Information Systems Security for a number of government organisations, and is currently specialising in Terrorism Studies. A lifetime passion for writing was sparked by the encouraging words of an English Teacher in school, and eventually led to Alex successfully completing an MA in Creative Writing, and write Cut to the Bone.

Readers can find out more about Alex on Facebook here and follow Alex on Twitter - @alexcaanwriter

Cut to the Bone
By Alex Caan
Published by twenty7 (E-book - 14 July 2016; Paperback - 3 November 2016)
ISBN: 978-1785770494

Publisher's description
Ruby is a vlogger, a rising star of YouTube and a heroine to millions of teenage girls. And she's missing. She's an adult - nothing to worry about, surely? Until the video's uploaded. Ruby, in the dirt and pleading for her life. Who better to head up the investigation than the Met's rising star, Detective Inspector Kate Riley? She's leading a shiny new team, high-powered, mostly female and with the best resources money can buy. It's time for them to prove what they can do. Alongside her, Detective Sergeant Zain Harris - poster boy for multiracial policing and the team's newest member - has his own unique contribution to make. But can Kate wholly trust him and when he's around, can she trust herself? Ruby's millions of fans are hysterical about what may have happened to her. The press is having a field day and as the investigation hurtles out of control in the glare of publicity, it becomes clear that the world of YouTube vloggers and social media is much, much darker than anyone could have imagined in their worst nightmares. And the videos keep coming ...

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