Posted On December 28, 2009 by Print This Post

The Best Advice

After looking over the RU schedule, I realized we had a vault of information within the minds of our visiting professors.  Our guest bloggers have graciously offered their expertise on managing a writing career, but I was curious what they would say if we asked them about the best advice they had ever received.

 I contacted Brenda Novak, Denise Swanson, CJ Lyons and Bob Mayer and here is what they had to say:

My advice is probably the simplest in the world. It’s one word: Believe. If you believe in your own ability, you won’t take no for an answer. You’ll keep writing and networking until you get your break, and then you’ll jump all over the opportunity.

Brenda Novak

The best advice I ever received was from husband when I was very close to giving up. I had finally gotten an agent after several years of trying, but it had been eighteen months and she hadn’t sold my book. Around the end of February, I said to my husband that if she hadn’t sold the book by summer I was going to pull it and quit writing. His response was that as things were there was a 50/50 chance that I might or might not ever get that book published, but if I didn’t leave it out there, let her keep submitting it there was a 100% chance that the book would never be published. She sold that book in a three book deal on March 18.

Denise Swanson

The best advice I received about writing came from Jeffery Deaver who told me “Remember, the reader is God!”  He meant that as a published author we need to keep our audience in mind, putting our egos aside, to ensure they get the most entertaining read possible.

After he told me that, I began to write my first drafts for me–fun, fun, fun!  But his advice allowed me to then divorce myself from my ego during revisions and focus on giving the reader the best story possible, asking myself at every point: what would make this better for the reader?

The best advice I’ve discovered for myself is exactly what I use as my own credo and teach my writing students: No Rules, Just Write!

If you have the vision, passion, and commitment to make your dreams come true (and believe me, it takes all three!) then you don’t need any rules.  Stop looking for the “right” way and put your butt in the chair and get to work.  No Rules, Just Write!

CJ Lyons

 Best publishing advice I’ve received?

 1.  A book is all about character.

2.  Don’t worry about the market:

3.  Write what you are passionate about.

4.  Networking is very important.

Bob Mayer



Thank you, Brenda, Denise, CJ and Bob. 

 RU Crew, what is the best advice you have ever received?

 Join us on Wednesday when Tracey Devlyn explores the Beta male. Are they hidden gems or wallflowers?

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9 Responses to “The Best Advice”

  1. Very inspiring, Adrienne! Thanks for checking in with our VPs.


    Posted by TraceyDevlyn | December 28, 2009, 6:40 am
  2. Great advice from all of them. “Believe” is my one-word motto.

    Posted by Edie | December 28, 2009, 9:17 am
  3. “Believe”…a powerful word…If we believe in ourselves and back it up with the vision, passion, and commitment C.J. Lyons mentioned, we have a blueprint for success.

    Posted by Victoria Gray | December 28, 2009, 11:10 am
  4. “You can’t fix a blank page.” and “put your butt in the chair and get to work”
    The first from Nora Roberts, the second from CJ Lyons….I repeat them several times a day when I keep walking away from my ms to do something else….


    Posted by carrie | December 28, 2009, 11:57 am
  5. “Just five words”. Victoria Christopher Murray said this at a retreat several years ago and it stuck with me, even if I haven’t always followed it. Sometimes writers put a lot of pressure on themselves. 500 or 1,000 words, a whole chapter per day, etc. Victoria said to give yourself a goal that’s too easy to miss. “Just five words”. Who, if she sits down to write five words, won’t write more? And if you truly only write five, because it’s a really, really bad day, you’ve still met your quota and can pat yourself on the back.

    Posted by PatriciaW | December 28, 2009, 12:05 pm
  6. My first three novels I wrote with the line I remembered from Ray Bradbury.
    “plot is the footprints the characters leave in the snow.”
    I love this line, even if I don’t recall it perfectly.

    Unfortunately it leaves out all the crafty bits, that seem endless overwhelming, and I hope ultimately weave into the sheer pleasures I remember when I was writing/conjuring novels wildly/freely and with joyous imaginative abandon.

    Now the line I think on often, is my own, “I write to save lives, perhaps mine.”

    Oh, there is another one I like, and am probably recalling with a rouond-a-bout or three. Something about you only need to see as far as the headlights will take you in fog to write the story. I guess this is more about a story than a novel, but I still like it.

    May 2010 be deeply creatively nourishing and profoundly celebratory in all worlds.

    Laurel aka Aisling

    Posted by Laurel Kahaner | December 28, 2009, 2:55 pm
  7. Hey, RU crew! Checking in from somewhere in SE Asia. Trace & Adrienne – can’t get email out, but I can receive :).

    I suppose the best advice I’ve heard is simply: “Keep writing.” I’m going to remember that during 2010 since my goal is to write every day, even if only 100 words. And even if those words don’t seem to make a darn bit of sense. Jumping on the wagon January 1st!


    Posted by Kelsey Browning | December 29, 2009, 7:16 am


  1. […] a post-script to our series on bad advice, I also want to point out a little good advice, such as highlighted on Romance University this […]

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