I had a friend recently ask me – “If you knew then what writing/marketing/being an author would be like years ago when you started would you still have become a writer?” I stared at her for quite a few moments and thought about the years that had flown by since that first story I wrote in 2004. Would I change things?
But boy have I learned a long the way!
I’ve always had a passion for reading. Whether it be articles in a newspaper, nine hundred page encyclopedias, romance fiction, biographies, “True Story” articles or Reader’s Digest, I needed to read everything I could get my hands on.
I shouldn’t have been surprised that once that first story was done, I wanted to write another and another, and more voices started nattering in my head – incessantly – but that’s a great things too! *g*
But over the years I’ve learned many things, and remembered a time or two that I can’t please everyone, and not everything I write will be everyone’s “cup of tea”. I’ve adapted as much as possible to the publishing industries changes, the over saturation of some genres and learning to navigate through it all while still being true to who I am.
Some sage advice – after my post last week about the benefits of team work, this goes deeper into advice that might help you as each bump in the road presents itself, I can offer to remember as doubts come and go, and people try to hold you back.
Whether you’re an aspiring author or a seasoned author, things that I’m glad I’ve learned over the years…
- Develop a very thick skin. This is probably one of the most important pieces of advice given to me, and it’s something that has become my mantra. Like I said above, not everything I write will be every reader’s favorite story, and reviews can cut like a knife. Just remember it’s subjective and though it’s not always easy to do, continue to believe in yourself and learn to take the good with the bad.
- Have these materials near you every time you write – dictionary, thesaurus, “The Elements of Style” especially. They will all become your best friends.
- Read, read, read!! Read as much of the genre that you’ve chosen to write in. If you don’t do this, you will not have the accurate knowledge/tools to succeed at this genre. And kick it up a notch by simply reading everything you can get your hands on.
- Take the advice of other authors (critique partners), and your editors. If they are offering you advice on how to enhance and how to push your boundaries … take their advice! Or at least think very long and hard about it (and take their advice!!) but also be true to the writer you are. Don’t immediately close the door on those individual’s advice. Wrap your head around it, turn it this way and that, then put your spin on things. Their advice is just that, but YOU have to be the one to fix it. Fix it in the ways that suit you.
- Get that first draft written before you edit anything. There’s nothing worse than not knowing how a story will evolve if you’re continually going back to the beginning over and over again. Save the editing until the draft is done.
- You won’t succeed if you do not try. Don’t let the word “can’t” be a part of your vocabulary. Ignore any voices that use that word.
- Do not, please DO NOT, step on anyone that has helped you along the way. When you start seeing big sales, have an agent, start seeing success and obtaining whatever success you feel is your highest, do not forget those that helped you arrive there. Don’t step on people while climbing that ladder. It’s a business but you don’t have to be an ass along the way.
- Dig as deep as you can. Even if it hurts you, dig so deep that you’re typing through your tears. Surprise yourself on just how awesome each story will be. Don’t hold back. Take the pleasure and the agony that comes with each story…it will make every story thereafter even more remarkable.
- To write well, you must practice. Consistency is key. Write whenever you can. Invest in many notebooks/pads of paper/pens. Take them everywhere with you. Never leave home without one.
- Take pride in who you are and your stories! They are your blood, sweat and tears. Your words are YOUR truth. Only YOU can write it.
See you next week! Happy Reading.