Today I’m excited to have the lovely Amalie Howard, author of Bloodspell (click for my review), back for a “How I Write” feature, along with a giveaway! Many thanks to Amalie for participating!
Do you write daily or sporadically when you’re inspired?
I try to write daily. A word count goal is always useful because if you treat it like something you have to do, then you get into the habit of writing something daily. And when you start to deal with writing deadlines, you’ll be grateful for that habit. That said, when I’m inspired, that can totally change. Sometimes, if I’m on a roll, I just go. I don’t stop, and my kids don’t get bathed or fed on time. It just really depends on when those creative juices get going. I’m literally at the mercy of them.
Do you have any writing quirks?
Sure. I like to create a playlist for each book I write. I usually pick out the songs beforehand when I have a budding idea for a story, but it’s a work in progress as the story progresses. When I sit down to work, I must spend five or ten
minutes updating social media sites, just to get it out of the way up front so I’m not distracted when I’m focused on writing. My most interesting writing quirk, however, is that I am capable of writing with a house full of screaming children. It’s a special gift.
Where is your favorite place to write?
I would like to say my desk like a normal person. But shamefully, it’s the couch. There’s an unflattering dent in the cushions because I sit there so much.
What tool(s) do you use to write? Microsoft Word, Pages, Scrivener, typewriter,
pen and paper, and/or napkins/toilet paper?
I’m a Microsoft Word girl myself, but I have been known to scribble notes or ideas down on whatever’s available—post-its, napkins, body parts. I also keep a journal next to my bed just in case I think of something marvelous while I’m asleep.
What resources do you recommend for new writers?
For any new writer, I would definitely encourage reading as many books as you can get your hands on—the more you read (especially bestsellers), the more you’ll understand all the elements required to pen a great book. Develop and experiment with your own unique writing voice, and find what moves you. Which writing genres and themes are you passionate about? What drives you? Do you like stories, poetry or journalistic writing? Find your niche—people are
usually better at writing about what they love or what inspires them because it comes from somewhere real. I would also advise younger writers to get writing experience early, even if it’s something as simple with working on your school newspaper or starting a blog or getting a local internship. A good rule of thumb is that any experience is valuable experience, and if I’ve learned anything at all, it’s that this industry values credentials. Get yourself out there and write regularly— hone your craft. A book that really helped me sharpen my pencil was Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. You should also take part in writing events like NaNoWriMo. Enter writing contests—Writer’s Digest has heaps of them. Join your local SCBWI chapter so that you can meet other writers and find a critique group. Lastly, build your brand via social media—make your name known. Learn how to use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and other sites to develop your own dynamic, digital brand. Connect and network as much as you can because you never know who could be your next editor, agent or critique partner.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received for writing?
The most heartfelt advice I’ve received during my journey and can pass on to other writers is to never give up. Carve your own path. And don’t let rejection hammer you – it’s all part of the process, take in the constructive and make your work the best it can be. And keep going no matter what. Believe in yourself and you can’t fail.