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.
Summer is winding down, the sunflowers are growing tall, and the smell of sunscreen floats in the air. I hope you’re all getting plenty of whatever you need – writing time, or relaxation. I am getting neither. I have been watching Tiktoks though. All in the name of sharing the best of the best with you. Let’s dive right in! Get it? Summer, diving, pools. Yeah…
Young Adult author Alexa Donne is not only prolific with her work, but is so generous with sharing craft and industry tips (see her youtube). Donne is the author of science fiction books Brightly Burning, and The Stars We Steal as well as mystery novels. Her video is about something that happens to all of us when we write: when you have a grand idea in your head that the WIP never seems to match, even if you’re an experienced writer. The novel you write will never be perfect and will never meet all of your expectations, and Donne assures us that this is completely normal, even though it might feel unique to you. Here’s an Ira Glass quote that gets me through times like these. But honestly, this feeling makes sense. You’ve conceived of a world, characters, and situations, and you thought about it endlessly for years. Even though it can’t or won’t live up to those expectations, it’s still beautiful. It’s a product of hard work, perseverance, and love. Ultimately, your story ends up falling in the middle of the venn diagram between what you set out to write and what the story needs to be. Because the fact that your story doesn’t live up to your big vision does not mean that you’ve failed. Instead, you’ve succeeded in writing the story that was always meant to exist. Find Alexa on instagram here.
Screenwriter Ashlee Stormo (instagram) gives tips on writing romantic subplots (as opposed to tips for writing romance novels). I love this piece of advice: “Consider making the romance up the stakes of the main plot.” How does love stand in the way of the things your main characters want? How does their love challenge the methods in which your MC might go about getting what they need? Ashlee has a lot of great advice on her page so be sure to check it out and see what she might have that you need!
Freelance writer and chapter book author Britnee Meiser talks about something she calls “the gift you give yourself.” This is something similar to the “drawer tip” I’ve shared in this column in the past. Essentially this is something mentioned early on in the story that seems innocuous, yet it pays off big time later on. Britnee uses an example from The Hunger Games. What is a quality or detail about your character (such as a special knowledge, or a summer at Clown Camp) that can come in handy later in your piece in a satisfying way?
Elle Caruso is writing a fantasy novel and sharing her journey with her viewers. In the following two videos, she shares what she’s learned so far.
1 – Don’t be disheartened by what you perceive as the disinterest of others.
2 – Who is the friend who WILL hype up your every move as a writer? Find them and share your work with them, rather than the person who seems disinterested.
Hannah jokes about how embarrassing it feels sometimes to share your work with friends or other writers. Why does it feel like walking a tightrope between two NYC skyscrapers to share your work-in-progress sometimes?
Hope Woodward is an influencer/content creator. In her video, Hope shares a passage from Rick Rubin’s new book The Creative Act & talks about the concept some creatives have that ideas are their own beings. Ideas do not belong to you – they simply visit you, and if you’re unwilling to take them on and put in the work, then they will go find another conduit to bring them fully into the world. Elizabeth Gilbert talks about this in her book Big Magic which I highly recommend as well. I love Hope’s interpretation of this quote and the thoughts she adds to Rubin’s passage.
Rebecca Thorne is a hybrid author, which means she has both self-published and traditionally published work. Thorne writes both middle grade and adult fiction. In the two videos I share below, she explains how the AI is getting and using our data. She calls out Google Docs specifically as training their AI with our words. (And have you heard about the chatGPT lawsuit that many of our favorite authors are joining?) *cries in google docs girly*
Brittney Hart, in a related video, explains what to do about this, and why it’s important. I LOVE writing on Google Docs, so I am so sad, but my work is worth it to save, and so is yours. As a person with executive dysfunction and general life ennui, I’m super upset about all the additional tasks to do here but let’s make Flash Drive Stock soar!
Author VE Schwab (who writes for all ages from early middle grade to adult) is one of my favorites. I’ve read all of her adult novels as well as the phenomenal YA Gallant, and I wrote about her incredible outlining and writing method in my Masterclass for Write or Die. Check her out on Instagram. Victoria doesn’t post a lot on Tiktok but everything she does post is a gem. In this video she talks about the very real urge to put “today” in the fuck it bucket when you were so busy being a human with errands, responsibilities, and chores that you didn’t have time to write yet. It’s so easy to say, “It’s too late to write today, so tomorrow it is!” once it hits 3pm, unless you’re a night writer (to which I say, show me your ways!) I am a morning writer. Sometimes afternoon inspiration catches me unawares, but if I don’t have anything done by 11am, forget it. Tomorrow, it is.
If you’re anything like me, you’re thinking about wool socks, whipping, whistling winds, jack o’lanterns, and pumpkin spice. I live in the Pacific Northwest where it rains from October to May, and I’m eager to trade my shorts for leggings and my tank tops for sweatshirts. I imagine myself spending cozy afternoons inside with the heat on, writing my novel, hiding from the elements. (Watch surprise bonus Tiktok video by author Bryn Donovan here). But I know some of you are dreading that, because you write best in the summer, outside on your porch, or by the pool. Isn’t it fascinating how writing is one thing, but we all do it so differently? I’d love to hear about your writing routines. Also – if you have any creators I’ve shared on these columns that you now follow or interact with, please let me know.
Until next time!