My Advice to Aspiring Writers
Writing brings your dreams to life. Or your nightmares. Depending on what you are writing. When I first started dedicating time to writing ten years ago, I read scores of books, mostly from the library, about writing. So here's the short list of my advice for aspiring writers:
1. Write everyday
You may say, every day? And I'll say, every day. If you start making excuses, it's easy to get out of the habit. Now, I didn't say you have to lay down a bazillion words that day. But you should write and keep in the habit of writing every day. On Sundays, I write letters to loved ones instead of working on my story.
2. Learn the craft
I think too many people assume you either have writing talent or you don't. Writing can be learned. Check out books from the library. Read articles and blogposts on line. Do everything you can to improve your skills. I enter contests for feedback.
3. Don't try to publish too soon
When you've worked so hard to write a book and you've finished, the first thing you should do is celebrate. Writing a novel/book is hard work. Finishing one is a miracle! Then you should let it sit, at least two weeks, before going back over it again. Have patience with your work. Make sure it is in the best possible shape before sending it out to the world.
4. Don't wait too long to publish
This may sound anti-thetical to #3, but don't wait for perfection either, because it ain't gonna happen. I think you'll know when you are ready. Don't give up, but don't keep putting off something until "it's perfect." Be patient, don't be a perfectionist.
5. Don't be jealous of others' success
The green-eyed monster of jealous is an awful creature. He steals your happiness and your energy. Don't let him do it. Be happy for others. Celebrate their success. You cannot become what you secretly despise. Bitterness doesn't make friends.
6. Be patient with your success
Writing and publishing take a long time. It's not an overnight success for most people. Work to build your audience, your fans. Be gracious and generous every step of the way. When you do reach success, mentor others. There is room enough for us all.
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