Melanie Gideon’s A Slippery Year is one of my personal favorite memoirs. It also stayed on the New York Times’ top ten best-seller list for many weeks, and received rave reviews from NPR, NY Post, San Francisco Chronicle, New Yorker’s Book Bench, Christian Science Monitor, San Francisco Magazine, Elle, Kirkus, Booklist, BookPage and others.
I asked Melanie what advice she’d give aspiring writers on HubPages, and here are her answers. Thanks Melanie!
1. Expect rejection. A good rule of thumb is 33% of people will love your work, 33% will hate it (unfortunately these people tend to be the most vocal and always on the internet) and 34% won’t care.
2. Don’t give up. If an idea doesn’t work, toss it and dream up a new one.
3. Get feedback and get it early on. I like to work with an editor as I’m writing.
4. Ask yourself if you’re an outliner or a find-the-story-as-you-go-along kind of writer. I outline quite extensively. Many writers don’t, but outlining works for me, for both my non-fiction and fiction. The point is you either have to do the heavy structural lifting on the front end or the back. I like the security of having a roadmap.
5. When your book is published you must separate from it. It will have its own fate out there in the world, and most of that fate is out of your control: how people respond to it; what kinds of reviews you get, if you are reviewed at all, etc. The best advice I was given was imagine your book is a boat. Carry it to the shoreline, launch it, then wave goodbye. The worst thing you can is jump in the water and dog paddle after it. As tempting as it may be to do just that (because who knows if it will sink or swim, find a stiff wind, or founder in dead calm) you must. Your sanity depends on it.
6. One more. Stop Googling yourself. It can only lead to heartbreak.