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August 2018: Writing Advice
~ Harley Wylde ~

CTR asked:
QUESTION: What is the one piece of writing advice that has stuck with you and why? (Something other than ‘write what you know.’)

Harley Wylde (pen name for Jessica Coulter Smith) said:
I was once told that to be a writer, you first needed to be an avid reader. And I’ve taken that to heart. I think a lot of times, when people decide to take up writing, they spend so much time working on their craft they forget to take the time to go back to the basics. Reading. I can’t begin to tell you how many authors I know that are always saying, “I have a huge TBR list, but I never have time to read any of the books I buy.” And that, to me, is a problem.

Reading not only gives you mind a chance to escape from every day life, but it can expand your horizons. I’ve had authors tell me that they worry they’ll end up borrowing from the books they’ve read, and those stories will work their way into their own books. But I don’t think they remember all the ideas that blossomed back when they were just readers. Maybe they read a truly amazing book that sparked their interest in writing one of their own. Reading can help keep your passion alive, and it can also challenge you. I’ve often read something and thought, “Wow, I want to write like that!”

If a writer is truly worried about borrowing ideas from books they’ve read, my suggestion is to read another genre. Writing a contemporary romance? Why not try reading a dragon shifter novel? Or be really different and read a non-fiction book. And if you’re really worried about having the time to read, there are a lot of really awesome novellas out there. A book doesn’t have to be over three hundred pages in order to be entertaining and well-written.

For me, reading gives my brain a chance to reset, and I’ve found that even my body relaxes. All the tension you carry around day after day, and the stress over deadlines, can melt away for a short time. And even better, by reading, you’re supporting your community. Your community of authors. Take the time to read a book or two a week, at the very least, and I bet your ideas flow even better when you do sit down to write. I think sometimes we just need to give ourselves permission to take a break, to enjoy life a little, and to have some “me” time. Forget about that deadline, or the edits sitting in your inbox, for just an hour or two, and take the time to enjoy someone else’s hard work.

I’ve also found that reading helps with writer’s block. Whenever I’m stuck and can’t seem to get anywhere with my current WIP, I take about one to three days and binge read as many books as I can. And somewhere along the way, my story just clicks into place in my head and I’m able to push through that barrier and start getting words onto the page again. And having taken a break, I feel refreshed and eager to write.


Venom by Harley Wilde (Jessica Coulter Smith) cover

Venom (Dixie Reapers MC)

[Contemporary Erotic Biker Romance, MF, Older Man/Younger Woman]

Ridley: I might live in a mansion in South Florida, but my daddy was a biker, and I was definitely Daddy’s girl. When I found out my mom and stepdad had something horrible planned for me, I ran. Straight to the Dixie Reapers, the only place I’d ever thought of as home, but it wasn’t my daddy’s arms I ended up in. Venom is dark and seductive, the type of man who doesn’t take shit from anyone. Despite his hard exterior, being with him makes me feel safe, and his kisses make me ache for so much more. I’ve never been with a man before, but even as inexperienced as I am, I know that being with Venom will ruin me for anyone else, and I don’t care. I want him — all of him — and damn the consequences.

Venom: I hadn’t risen to the rank of VP of the Dixie Reapers MC without getting my hands dirty. I’d been deep in blood and dirty money for over twenty years, could have any pussy I wanted whenever I wanted and how the fuck ever I wanted. But when an angel I hadn’t seen in fourteen years came back into my life, all it took was one look in her eyes, and I was a goner. As a kid, Ridley had been this little blonde cherub who lit up the place. Now she’s older, has curves in all the right fucking places, and damn if I don’t want her. The fact she was the nineteen-year-old daughter of a patched member meant I needed to keep my hands to myself, and I might have, if she hadn’t begged me so sweetly. Now she’s mine, and I’ll do anything to keep her safe, even if it means starting a war.

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