In response to several people reaching out to me for writing advice, I thought I’d put together this list. Each of these require deliberate intent and aren’t always easy or comfortable, but I hope something here helps you avoid learning the hard way, like I tend to do.
1. Trust your instincts, guts, innards, intuition. I’ve had to make countless decisions regarding my novel. Everything from choosing not to work with certain editors anymore, to which genre to market in, to how much and where to cut words from the first draft. You’ll have to make them too, and it can be daunting as hell. You’ll get gobs of advice, some solicited, some notsomuch, and it can be difficult to know what to do. It’s imperative you learn to recognize your intuition and listen.
2. Ignore self-doubt and fear << a different voice than your intuition, which is positive and productive. Doubt and fear are negative and will try their hardest to stop you.
I’ve written a lot about this subject because it’s one of my biggest challenges, but I learned that if you don’t shut the negative voices out and press forward, your work will end up in the trash. That’s no bueno. Never let negativity dilute your creativity. Your story is beautiful and unique to you. If you believe in it, you will soar. WRITE. All of it. Every thought. You can flesh it out later.
3. Share your work. Very tough to do, trust me, I get it. We writers tend to be the reclusive sort, but if you’re not letting others provide feedback, your work will never evolve. Producing a finished product takes a village. Find yours and move forward toward your goals.
4. Reach out to others who’ve done it before you. Network. Ask questions. You’ll be blown away by how supportive the writing/blogging community is. Read blogs by people who talk about the real ins & outs of the writing/editing/publishing/marketing journey. Like this one by author Katie Cross. And this one by author & editor Jeri Walker. And this one by the sweary and hilarious author Chuck Wendig. Those blogs are catacombs of writerly inspiration and knowledge.
5. READ. A lot. All different genres, not just the one you typically write in, and not just your favorite. Reading is the most valuable thing a writer can do. As far as “how to” writing books, On Writing by Stephen King is my favorite.
But know this: You will learn more by finishing your first book than you will ever learn in a class, course, book, or blog. PERIOD.
6. Try Nanowrimo in November. It’s the most insane-eye-gouging-intense writing push you’ll ever experience, but also the most productive. 50,000 words in one month is no joke. It’s amazing what you can accomplish with an inconceivably close deadline. You’ll end up with a heap of sludge, but somewhere in that sludge is a diamond.
7. I came back to add another piece of advice that was left in this here comment section by the fabulous Christine Carter. As soon as I read it I knew it was imperative that I add it. And do you think it’s mere coincidence that this will be number seven??? KISMET I TELL YOU.
Rejection does NOT mean you’re a bad writer. It means your words weren’t meant to be *there* at this time. It means you’re still on your writing journey, which never ends but only evolves at your unique pace. Never compare yourself or your writing to others. It is fruitless. No one can write like you, and vice-versa.
Only compare yourself to the writer you were yesterday.
**This is an uncharacteristically serious post for me. Let’s remedy that.
Anything else you’d add to my list? What part of writing is most difficult to you?