I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I began writing stories and poems in middle school and haven’t stopped there!
However, once I started trying to get published, I realized something that no one bothered to mention: The writing world is intimidating.
Everyone has advice on how to succeed, critiques about your book ideas, rules to writing bestsellers, and more. Plus, it all seemed very contradictory, so I did what any shy writer would do.
I didn’t want to invite criticism and hatred about my works, so I shoved them into a folder and vowed to keep them to myself. I still wrote them, but no one got to enjoy them, and that’s no way for a writer to live!
Thankfully, I slowly crept back into the writing world, and I’m so glad I did!
Now, I can share with you some advice about the writing community, it’s various rules, and how to find your own path among the pages.
1: You Don’t Have to Write Everyday.
Yes, practice makes perfect, but it isn’t nearly as strict as other authors make it out to be. The truth is, there will be days when the words won’t come. Your muse has fled, your well is dry, and the keyboard is mocking you. It happens, and anyone who says otherwise is lying.
Instead of beating yourself up about something you can’t control, try writing something unrelated to your current project. Even if it’s just five words, you’ve written them! Then, celebrate with a treat and try again tomorrow.
2: You Can Break the Rules.
“Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist.” I love this quote by Pablo Picasso, and I believe he’s absolutely right. In the writing world, there are rules for just about EVERYTHING.
Learn the relevant ones (because a poet doesn’t need to know the rules of writing Historical Fiction), so you can break them with ease. And, if breaking the rules makes your story work, then do it!
3: Your Story CAN Resemble Something Else.
Listen, it’s hard to create original content nowadays. We’re all influenced by the books, movies, podcasts, and other media we consume, so it makes sense that our writings reflect that influence.
So, if you get half-way through your writing and realize it’s just a modern-day Robin Hood, take a deep breath and keep going!
Your story could have the exact same plot as something else, but how you tell it will be different than anyone else’s interpretation- and that’s what matters!
4: It Doesn’t have to Be Perfect- EVER!
Every writer knows that their first draft is often a mess of a thing, but guess what? None of your drafts will ever be perfect- and that’s ok! Your story doesn’t have to be perfect to be enjoyable. Plus, nit-picking it to death may make it worse, so get it to a point you can live with and leave the rest for the editor.
5: Day Dreaming is Part of the Process.
How will we find inspiration if we can’t daydream a little? Letting your imagination run wild is part of creating, so if you find yourself in a situation where you haven’t written all day, embrace it and find somewhere to let your mind go. Then, set a timer and see what happens!
Or, if you’re not the type to sit still, you can let your brain relax by doing a repetitive shore (like dishes or sweeping), reading a book, working on a puzzle, or listening to music. Then, write down any ideas you had during that time. Voila! Easy idea generation.
6: It’s Ok If You Don’t Write Like Someone Else.
So what if your horror doesn’t read like Stephen King? Or your Romance falls short of Danielle Steel?
The point of writing isn’t to imitate others but to find a voice and style that’s uniquely your own. Take inspiration from your idols, then turn them into a story that makes YOU happy!
Someday, someone will do the same with your writing.
7: The Story is YOURS.
Everyone will have advice about your story. They’ll want to fix the plot, make your characters act a certain way, add or cut scenes, and mess with your dialogue.
Whatever the situation, remember that the story is YOURS. You’re welcome to take their advice and make changes if it fits, but you also have the option to ignore them. It doesn’t matter who it is- unless they can give you a valid reason to change a part of your story, you have no obligation to listen to them.
8: Someone Out There Will Love Your Work!
It may take some time to find them, but there are people who will read your work and fall in love with your imagery, characters, writing style, and plots. Write for them.
9: Its Easier to Find Cover Artists, Book Formatters, and Editors Than You Think.
Seriously, they’re everywhere on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. There are also websites devoted to connecting authors with the services they need. Check them out, find one that aligns with your vision, and see if they have any openings. That’s it!
10: Traditional Publishing is NOT the Only Way to Achieve Success.
Society may tout traditional publishing as the end-all, be-all goal for writers, but it’s not the only path. Many self-published authors have hit the bestseller list, which proves that it doesn’t matter how it’s published. If the story is good, people will love it.
The writing world can seem intimidating, but it’s truly a wonderful place full of support, opportunity, and encouragement where you can find your voice, hone your craft, and make your story the best it can be!
What writing advice do you wish you’d known at the beginning? Let us know in the comments!