Greg Barron has lived in New South Wales, North America, and the Northern Territory. He once crossed Arnhem Land on foot and has a passion for the Top End landscape. Greg’s previous novels, all published by HarperCollins Australia, were received with critical acclaim and have attracted a growing readership. His books win rave reviews in Australia and overseas, and have featured widely in the media, with dozens of radio and print interviews to Greg’s credit. He was a keynote speaker at the Grassroots Writer’s Festival in Coffs Harbour in 2015 and appeared at the Sydney Writers Festival in 2014. His work has been long-listed for the Ned Kelly Awards for best new fiction and shortlisted for the ABC Radio short story project. He is an avid reader in a wide range of genres, drawing inspiration from writers as varied as Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Larry McMurtry, and Ion Idriess. I first met Greg at the inaugural 2014 Sydney Book Expo where he was a guest speaker and I representing Your Bookshop. Since then, we’ve kept touch through social media.
I found Greg’s tips on becoming a better writer very honest and to the point. Getting published is not easy. It requires a thick skin, truckload of discipline and an unyielding belief in oneself.
But don’t just take my word for it, here’s Greg with his
3 Tips on Becoming a Better Writer.
Accept rejection as part of the process
Lashing out at publishers when they reject you, either privately or publicly, is a futile exercise. When your book is rejected they are simply saying ‘I don’t think we can sell enough copies of this book to make it a viable proposition.’ Try to understand why they don’t think it’ll sell. Maybe it’s the work itself, maybe they think you need more of a social media platform. A form email won’t tell you much, but you should be able to find something encouraging in any personal rejection – some little constructive gem that you can build on.
Really work at the craft
Of course, you already read fiction constantly because you love it, but make sure you seek out the very best writers in the style you’re working in: the best lessons on craft are found in their books. You also need to constantly remind yourself how high the bar is. By all means, read WIPs (Work in Progress) from your writing group pals, but you should space it out with the masters of the genre. Hard work is the main secret to great writing. Rewriting from scratch might seem like too much effort, but sometimes it’s necessary. One more final read-through of a manuscript after months of editing will feel like torture, but if that little voice inside your head is telling you that your work needs it, you have no choice. There are thousands of ‘almost there’ manuscripts in publisher’s slush piles and on Amazon. Taking a story to the next level, as close to perfection as possible, is what separates the mediocre from the fabulous. I’m still working towards that goal, and I know that I may never get there.
Write because you love it
Write because you love it. No one can ever take that away from you. Do it every day and find an audience where you can. That might mean reading your poems to a local writers group. Writing is special, being a writer is special. Be proud of what you do. Self-publish, publish online, but find your audience somewhere. Keep submitting to publishers. Sooner or later they might be looking for exactly what you are writing. The story only you can write.
Greg’s latest novel is a crime thriller set in a Grey Nomad camp in the Northern Territory. It is available in bookstores and online as well as the usual ebook outlets.
Thank you for visiting my corner of the internet. I hope you’ve enjoyed the tips. If you did, consider sharing it with your social network. Also, be sure to check out other My 3 Tips posts on this site.
Till next time…