A monthly roundup of Tiktok videos related to writing and the writer’s life, showcasing writers and writer-adjacent folks, and their advice, prompts, exaltations, and reality checks.
I’ve seen a lot of prompts, advice, and new perspectives on TikTok that have helped me with my writing life, and I hope that they will help you as well. I will try to keep the videos as recent as possible, but if I find something juicy I think will help us all I’ll be sharing it with you regardless of how old it is! I hope this helps you to find creators you connect with who are making content that appeals to you. Maybe it will even inspire you to share your own perspective on the platform!
Please remember, while I may share content related to publishing, or paths to publishing, I firmly believe that being traditionally published is NOT the only way, nor does every writer dream of that avenue.
Without further ado, here are this month’s videos, brimming with tips and advice, commiseration, and support.
Becca the Writer is a ghostwriter and nomad. Here, she gives her opinion on ChatGPT, and why most of us should not be worried about it. She breaks down when ChatGPT may be a helpful tool, and why she doesn’t think it can possibly replace writers. As Becca says, automation happens in every industry, and what we need to do is panic less and prepare more.
Breanne Randall (twitter), writer of the forthcoming The Unfortunate Side Effects of Heartbreak and Magic, details her journey to publication, which took eight years, 600 rejections, and four manuscripts. It can be daunting (and exciting!) to watch others get offers of representation and book deals. The reality is, there are often years of hard work we don’t see buried beneath the surface of that success, like a treasure chest filled with jewels that will never get discovered. I saved Breanne’s video to remind myself that this is a journey and a process. Save this to remind yourself, too, or to show it to your great aunt who keeps asking when your book is coming out.
Hugo-nominated Editor Brit EB Hvide reminds us that at some point we need to stop dreaming about writing and worrying about how it will turn out or what others will think, and we need to instead focus on doing the work. Her Manuscript Wishlist is here and she tweets here.
Claribel Ortega is a New York Times bestselling Author of Middle Grade Fiction. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram as well as Tiktok. In her video, Claribel reminds us that writing isn’t always hours and hours spent hunched over a computer ignoring all of your responsibilities (even though sometimes it is that!). Writing is not a luxury only those with a lot of time can afford. Writing can be done in small increments. That one paragraph or page whenever you can squeeze it in will add up. As writers, it can be easy to get lost in how much output others seem to create. But writing is not a race. Just go slow and steady, and the work will add up. You’re living your life – not theirs.
Kelsie Sheridan Gonzalez (twitter here) jokes about getting a complicated plot out of your head and onto the page. We’ve all been there – we get this grand idea for an intricately plotted novel with multiple timelines and dozens of fleshed out characters, with a little romance, action, and some fantasy thrown in… and then we sit down to write and it almost never translates onto the page properly, at least not on the first try.
YA author Liz Lawson (tweet tweet) has some querying tips for us! The video is really fast, so you’ll want to pause it to read. Liz has sold four books to Random House (two forthcoming), which is impressive in this day and age where many authors no longer stick to one publishing house – often for reasons outside of their control. In her video, she shares helpful hints for getting the query letter right. As we all know, the query letter is simple and terrifying. There are a lot of rules and opinions about them, and they are your first introduction to any potential agents you would like to work with. It’s a lot of pressure to put on a few paragraphs!
Mary Robinette Kowal has won many awards, including the Hugo and Nebula awards, for her work. She writes Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Historical Fantasy. She also shares her wisdom on the popular and informative podcast for writers, Writing Excuses. In her video, Kowal talks about the dreaded thing that happens to all of us – when we, or someone else, point out that we have “started the book in the wrong place.” Rather than panic, she encourages us to keep going, because, “every chapter that we write further into the book helps [the writer] understand what [chapter one] is supposed to be.” I highly recommend checking out her page if you’re looking for craft tips from a reliable source!
Megan Jauregui Eccles writes Speculative Young Adult Fiction and teaches Creative Writing. In the past, she has worked at a literary agency. She tweets here, and posts a lot about writing on her Instagram. In her TikTok video, she shares her perspective on how to make the most of your comp titles by thinking beyond the obvious! I struggle a lot with comp titles because I often get stuck on plot – here, Eccles offers alternatives to plot that she thinks will help make your query letter and pitches shine.
Whereas Kelsie Sheridan Gonzalez laughs about how hard it is to make a story idea concrete for yourself, I think most of us can also relate to Zoe Lea’s tiktok about trying to explain a story idea to someone else, especially a non-writer. It really humbles you how quickly they get confused! Zoe Lea writes psychological thrillers. You can read her substack here!
That’s all for now! Thank you so much for reading. I hope within these videos you’ve found tips, laughter, and motivation. Thank you to all of the writers, agents, and the writing community at large for generously sharing your knowledge and experience with us!