A compendium of links to keep you motivated.
In working with a colleague to get several novels ready for print, we subcontracted out some editing. I edited one book, someone we knew edited another, and three people who were recommended to us took on the other books. The three unknown people wrote almost nothing on the pages, in spite of edits being needed. We essentially paid them for nothing.
What I learned from that experience was that just because someone is recommended, doesn't mean they'll be suitable for the job. But then, what's a writer to do?
Despite the promises of certain snake oil salesmen offering to sell you a magical unguent that — once slathered upon your inflamed nethers — will assure that your book gets published, no actual formula for success exists. If it did, a book would go out into the world and either fail utterly or succeed completely.
A working habit he has had from the beginning, Hemingway stands when he writes. He stands in a pair of his oversized loafers on the worn skin of a lesser kudu—the typewriter and the reading board chest-high opposite him.
So writers are taught to focus on ingredients and their combination. They’re told they should create attractive, sympathetic characters, so that readers will care about them deeply, and then to plunge those characters into situations of continuing peril, the descent into which is the mixing and stirring, and the duration and horrors of which are the timing and temperature.
But it’s really much simpler than that. “How do you bake a cake?” has the wrong structure. It’s too indirect. The right structure and the right question is: “How do you make your family hungry?”
“And they should always strive to get better. For those who say ‘you either have it or you don’t,’ I suggest that the ‘it’ is inspiration, which can be elusive for sure, but you can teach the other aspect of writing, and that is craft."