#WritingTips: useful to my career have been:

I was once close behind my children when we were about to cross the road. The little one took the big one’s hand and said, ‘Let’s close our eyes and cross our fingers and hope there are no cars coming.’ That is not the road safety I’d taught them! But for some reason he forgot good sense and tried to wish his way to achieving his aim (getting to the park). I’ve never found wishing furthered my aim of having a career as an author, so I thought I’d pass on a few thoughts on what has been more useful.

Learning to touch-type. From experience in workshops and talks, this isn’t a popular tip. Learning to touch-type can be time-consuming and uninteresting and who needs it? Look down at the keyboard and when you press a letter, it appears on the screen. That’s true. That method may serve many authors perfectly well. However, I liken touch-typing to driving. Once you can do it accurately and without thinking about what you’re doing, without looking at the controls but just knowing where they are and how to command them, life is easier and less stressful. Touch typing is usually the fastest way to get words down, too.

Having a partner with a steady salary. OK, that’s facetious because many households need two or more salaries to survive. What it might be better to say is that having a supportive partner helped a lot. He did have a steady salary while mine flipped about but, mainly, he never suggested I get ‘a proper job’ instead of writing. My income’s much better now and this is no longer ‘a thing’ … but it used to be a big thing.

Learning about publishing as well as learning about writing. I think learning about publishing helped me understand the reality of what I was trying to achieve. Agents and publishers genuinely have only a certain capacity and there are a lot of authors vying for the available room on their lists. The more I understand how publishing works, the better I work with my publishers. Publishing is a business so there are always newsletters and articles for me to learn from. And, though my next release Under the Italian Sun will be my tenth book with Avon, I’ve even learned from their lockdown show, too.

Trusting my instincts. If I have a nasty feeling that I could have written this better or research that more thoroughly, then it’s true. I need to face the fact that more work’s needed. The less trouble I take, the less success I’m likely to get. Trusting my instincts extends to professional relationships, too. If I get the feeling there’s an issue then I always ask about it. A direct question and a willingness to be part of the solution helps a lot more than the closed eyes and crossed fingers I mentioned above.

The harder I work the luckier I get. This sentiment is sometimes attributed to Henry Ford when told he was ‘lucky’ to have achieved what he had. It’s also attributed to Mark Twain. I don’t know who said it first but it’s pretty much the credo I live by because hard work is more useful to me than luck. And I can’t touch-type with my fingers crossed.

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10 Comments

Filed under Sue Moorcroft

10 responses to “#WritingTips: useful to my career have been:

  1. Lindsey Russell

    Hmmm – I get your point on touch typing but I’m partially dyslexic. I know where all the knobs and levers are in my car but simply can’t hold the letters of the alphabet and what row they are on in my head. However I do have good hand-eye coordination – if the words are there I can get them down reasonably quickly. Unfortunately I write at my best longhand 😦
    Great tips though 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is SO helpful Sue – and very useful too! The whole agent/publisher thing is terrifying to me – I don’t know enough, and need to learn – and I think it’s definitely true that knowledge is power!! Thank you very much for your insight into what can be a scary world!! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad if it helps at all, Elaine. I found the deeper I got into the publishing world the less scary it became. The RNA conference helped a lot as it gave me a ‘can do’ attitude. The people who had many, many books to their name were just ordinary people who were further along the road than I was. It helped me keep my head down and keep going.

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  3. jessiecahalin

    I learnt my work ethic from my parents and it hasn’t let me down. I wonder if touch typing would help my blasted RSI, but I do think I have bad posture when working at my desk. Do you have any tips for this? I have shared the post in some RNA groups. Thanks and best of luck with your latest book.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Jessie, I guess I learned my work ethic the same way. I couldn’t comment on whether touch typing will help RSI and can only recommend good posture and exercise. I stop and stretch quite often as I get pain across my upper back. It helps to get up to exercise, even if it’s just for two minutes. I think the longer I sit, the more I slouch. Hope you get some improvement.

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  5. Hello Sue! Learning to touch-type was the best thing I ever did! I learned in Bristol just after my A levels (long ago!) – and it took just a fortnight using a method called ‘Sight and Sound’. I think it must’ve been akin to brainwashing!! A blank keyboard, with letters projected on screen. Not very fast to begin with, but accuracy and speed improved the more I used it.
    And yes – I can agree about the need for exercise, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Penny!
      I think learning to touch-type is pretty much brainwashing. But it works. I didn’t have blank keys but I wasn’t allowed to look at them. I always had to have my eyes on my copy.

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  6. Veru interesting and useful. Thank you, Sue. I agree that you make your own luck by hard work and research. The first thing I learned was how to touch-type. As for having a the partner with a steady income, it never happened. But as the song goes, two out of three ain’t bad. PS Good grammar is a must. xx

    Liked by 1 person

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