Take what works, leave the rest.

Hi Gang. Craig with you again today. I created this post based upon some comments I’ve gotten on my last few posts. Some of you might find it helpful, and that’s almost the point.

The online author community is a wonderful resource. Almost anyone is willing to help a fellow writer for the asking. Many of us post articles about craft, tech, promo, and a million other little things. I know of an author who has been sharing historical skills for a few months. Great stuff for some genres.

I’ve learned a lot from the community, but it can be like drinking from the firehose sometimes. Part of being an author is understanding where you are on the journey. Some posts might be too simplistic, others might be beyond your skills – for now.

We try to cover many things here at Story Empire, and I can look at our stats to see that posts from years ago are still performing well. In that regard, if something didn’t click for you the first time, the content is still available.

While the community is wonderful, writing still remains an individual process. We’re finally at my point. Not everything is going to work for everyone. To get the most out of Story Empire, or any other resource, you have to keep an open mind, but you also have to be willing to steal the cherry off the top. Parts of things will work for you, but many will not.

I’ll use my example of being a story-boarder. I don’t outline, but I’m not exactly a pantser either. I’ve posted about my process here a few times, and most of the comments are something along the line of, “That’s really cool, but…”

You know what? That’s perfectly okay. My process might have helped a couple of authors, others might have stolen some parts, and others discounted it right away.

This is the important lesson today. Anything the community has to share still has to work for you. Your process should modify slowly. Try new things, discard those that aren’t working. When something helps, you might even have to modify it from the original presentation.

Authors get hung up on rules, but what I’m posting about today aren’t rules. These are helpful suggestions. You don’t have to follow them blindly. Your process is your own, and any way you can reach the end is functional.

This applies to anything else we might offer here. We might take a deep dive into characters. I know I have. This does not mean you have to write a “mentor,” for example. It’s merely a suggestion of how to do it if it ever comes up. Even then, you have every right to modify so it works for you.

One of us might post about some cool new research site, or tech of some kind. Try it out, if it works that’s awesome. If it doesn’t, you really haven’t lost much. Eventually, you’ll find bits and pieces weaving themselves into your process. This is how we grow and improve as writers.

Since I mentioned the archives, did you know there is a cool search function on Story Empire? It might be worth trying if something is vexing you in your current project.

39 thoughts on “Take what works, leave the rest.

  1. I like to read the articles here on Story Empire, Craig. some of the suggestions don’t work for me in exactly the same way they work for the writer of the post, but I often adapt them to my personal needs. For example, your storyboard idea, I now store all the articles I research for my historical novels in boards on Pinterest. It is one of the best things I’ve done to keep my research organised, make finding articles again easy, and do my bibliography at the end. So not exactly as you use your storyboard, but an adapted version. I have also used Staci’s spreadsheet idea, Jan’s marketing ideas and a bunch of other things I’ve learned through these articles. I’ve bookmarked Harmony’s how to publish on KDP Amazon for the day I get the courage to go it alone. I will then we following her advice step-by-step.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The books I read are varied in genre and style and I’d quickly lose interest, I think, if they weren’t. I love Story Empire for it’s friendliness, help and suggestions and some of those suggestions are right for me and others are interesting but don’t ‘click’ with me and that’s the way life is. What you say here makes perfect sense. It’s the many differences in people that make it possible for two people to find their perfect match and and I think that applies to the wonderful variation in writing, too. Great post, Craig!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great post and reminder, Craig, that each writing journey is different. We take the suggestions we need at the moment we need them. It’s great there is so much help and wisdom that we can learn from and then move forward on our own path.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Love this post. I always like to hear what other authors are doing and what works for them. Their methods go into the big swamp of writing techniques and tricks I’ve heard over the years. Some of it sinks to the bottom as a reservoir to draw on if the need ever arises and some floats to the top as something I try and like and use. Every writer’s different, and so are the things that work for them.

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  5. I have always enjoyed picking the brains of others. Each person’s journey is uniquely his/her own. There are some moments that are universal, and all humans can relate. There are other moments that only a few will connect with. So, it only makes sense that blog posts may or may not apply to an author at that point in his/her journey. I love that Story Empire keeps past posts available for authors to revisit. Honestly, I’ve never thought of searching the archives for a skill, so I appreciate this post, Craig. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You could apply what you wrote to character creation, too. I use our search function frequently. There are tech posts, editing posts, all kinds of useful things since we’ve been around a few years. Glad you enjoyed this.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Excellent post, Craig. And so important. If we tried to adopt every writer’s process, we’d go bonkers. I love that writers are so different. Each is like a fingerprint. We may seem the same on the surface, but if you look closer we’re all unique. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love, love, love this post, Craig! It applies in every aspect of our writing (and personal) lives. There is so much information available and I love the example of drinking from a firehose. I have left many writer’s conferences with a raging headache, trying to absorb everything. But the bottom line is to take what fits for you and leave the rest. That isn’t to say the rest may not be super applicable later on. We are all constantly in a state of evolving. Thank you for this insightful post and for the reminder about the search option on this site!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. That’s how I approach all the writing blogs I follow. I might try to follow the advice step-by-step or I might cherry-pick an element or two. At times, I might skim and say, “This post wasn’t for me.” And all that’s fine. One size never fits all. How boring life would be if it did. Great reminder, Craig.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Thank goodness for the uniqueness of each person. Wouldn’t life be pretty dull if we just saw ourselves everywhere? Thank you for the reminders and encouragement. And especially, thank you for underscoring how we each must find our way through the maze of processes. Well done, Craig.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. There is no “one size fits all” for authors. Each of us has our method. New writers can experiment but ultimately must decide what works best for them.

    I just saw a reblog to an article written by an author who “teaches” others and has written several books on the craft. While the title of the article interested me, I only skimmed it to see what this person had to say. Didn’t get much of a takeaway from it. The reason? Several years ago I listened to a podcast where she talked about the importance of outlining. Claimed she spent up to a year outlining a book before she began writing it. In the Q&A session, I asked, “What if I’ve already begun my novel.” She insisted the ONLY way I could finish it was to scrap it, outline, and start over. Guess what? I didn’t. Published that book several years ago. After hearing her narrow-minded view, I don’t put much stock in what she has to say. (And by the way, I tried reading one of her books and couldn’t finish it.)

    Great post today!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I love this post, Craig. Right now, I’m kinda fancying that splodge of cream under the cherry. Your words resonate so much with me. If I tried to follow every single bit of advice or rule, I don’t think I’d ever write another word. Also, thanks for the great reminder about SE’s search function. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

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