Advice for Writers: Keep Moving Forward

Monday, November 14, 2016
This statement, "Keep moving forward," has been appearing a lot in my life lately, and I think it's the perfect topic for a Monday morning inspirational post. After being completely stressed out in October, I finally had a meltdown of epic proportions about the craziness and busy-ness of my life; my friend said to me, "Just keep moving forward. You can't do anything about the past. But every day, you can take a step forward to where you want to be in your life."

How did he get so smart?

But he's right, and this is true for all of us--whether you're talking about your personal, professional, or writing life. You have to take a step every day to move toward where you want to be. Looking behind too long keeps you stuck.

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to serve as a mentor for the ShowMe Writers Masterclass Conference in Columbia, MO at the University of Missouri, and one of the speakers was Chuck Sambuchino from Writer's Digest. I've heard him speak before, and he is very engaging. Don't miss an opportunity to learn from him if you get the chance. Anyway, he was enlightening the audience about 10 ways to be a professional writer. He started his speech by acknowledging that there were so many things beyond our control as writers; and therefore, we have to focus on the things we can control, such as the quality of our writing and our brand/platform.

Then one of his points was also--you guessed it--"Keep moving forward." Take a rejection, for example; a rejection is beyond your control as long as you did your best job and followed the directions. You can keep moving forward by sending it to someone else, or if it's received several rejections, looking objectively at the piece and revising it. You aren't stuck. You aren't putting the manuscript in a drawer and refusing to write. You are moving forward because you sent it back out.

As I wrote last time, my YA book is out of print. But I am moving forward by planning to self-publish it, hopefully sooner rather than later.

I also heard Jay Asher, a YA author of Thirteen Reasons Why (soon to be a Netflix series), speak at a library in St. Charles at the end of October. He has a new book out, What Light, and this is his first book on his own after all the success he had with Thirteen Reasons Why ten years before. He talked about how difficult it was to write another book after all the success of the first one, but he kept moving forward. He said he works on a few projects at a time, so that if he gets stuck on one, he can switch to another. That might not work for some people, but it does for him--because he is moving forward on the projects instead of being stuck in writer's block.

So, how do you move forward in your writing career? If you are stuck, what could you do to get unstuck?

Margo L. Dill is a writer, published children's author, editor, and teacher, living in St. Louis, MO. To find out more, please visit

photo above by Josh James on 


Sioux Roslawski said...

Margo--What I've done--after getting a manuscript rejected--is start on something completely different. My manuscript that got a resounding "no" is a novel. Chick lit. What I started on for NaNo is historical fiction for children.

Keep moving forward. That could be applied to things other than writing these days...

Margo Dill said...

Yes, I know. If it was my own blog, I would have also commented on our recent events in the U.S.

Good for you for writing something completely new! ;)

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