Writer Life & Lessons

Five Years On: S. M. Boyce’s Tips for Aspiring Writers

“It’s very hard especially at first to separate you from your art, because your art doesn’t necessarily define you.” ~ S. M. Boyce 


When we interviewed S. M. Boyce at the end of April 2013, we ended with an “open forum” of any tips she wished to share with us.

Five years later, I still return to these snippets of advice. 

Rather than purely re-post the advice, I’ve added my own thoughts from 2018 in green. 


#1 – Develop a thick skin

“This is art – writing is art and with any art you’re going to have people who hate it and peope who love it and you’re going to have people who hate you because you’re living your dream and they haven’t figured out how to do it yet.

It’s very hard especially at first to separate you from your art, because your art doesn’t necessarily define you. So developing a thick skin is important, and remembering that no matter what anyone says it’s about what’s going on in their life, not about you personally.” – S. M.

Personally, this is one developed by sharing work. I currently have a draft with a beta reader, and although the initial feedback has been positive, I still had to hold my breath as I opened the commented-on documents. – K. R.


#2 Kick Ass Editor:

“I don’t who care you are, or how talented you are, make sure you have a kick-ass editor. A content editor who can go through and tell you when you suck along with a copy editor even before you send it off to your agent or a traditional publisher or especially if you’re going indie. Two different people, preferably.” – S. M.

As an editor of a few friend’s stories, I definitely recognise the value in this! Similarly, this is why a third draft is currently with a beta reader ->  I need to know where it sucks before I move it up the ladder of professional eyes. – K. R.


#3 Patience:

“It takes a long time to write full time. Keeping patience through that and having some means to survive. Most writers have a full time job along with their published work, and just learning how to balance that life with usually your spouse or your boyfriend or your girlfriend is hard and you have to really learn what your limits are and how to say no… and just know that it’s okay to say no.” – S. M.

I’ve been writing novels since 2009. Twice I’ve had two jobs on top of my writing. I’ve even taken time away from writing to get plan a hand-fasting or move house. It’s okay to take your time, as long as you are not moving backwards. – K. R.


#4 FUN!

“And have fun! Of course, have fun! There’s no point doing this if you don’t like it.” – S. M.

A somewhat obvious tip, but often an over-looked one once you’ve been writing a while. This is one reason I am so open to taking my time, to exploring other projects and pausing my writing if life gets tiring. – K. R.


-> Check out what S. M. Boyce is up to over at her website.
-> See my current Works-in-Progress here.

What are your favourite writing tips?

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