It's here! The week of epic writerly advice from writers across the globe at every stage. Please join Carrie Butler and myself as we journey around the blogosphere to read what some amazing and talented writers have to say about how they found the Write Path.
Dear New Writer,
I know how you're feeling: Fired up and bubbling over with ideas. Eager and Motivated. And maybe a little freaked out at the same time.
I welcome you to the ranks of writer-dom.
I wish I could say it gets easier as you go, but the truth is, there are only different degrees of difficulty. But it's important that throughout all of it, you lock a way a tiny bit of that passion you're now feeling in a safe place deep inside you, because you will need to unlock it again and again to remember why you started this journey.
Let me start with the bad news:
- There will be rejection.
- There will be readers who don't get your work.
- There will be missed opportunities because you can't do everything.
- There will always be some other writer with a better book deal, more sales, faster production, etc.
- There will be other writers who don't consider you the same caliber of writer because of your unique path.
- There will be insecurity because you missed a typo, or ignored sage advice, or published or submitted too soon.
- There will be days when you don't know what to write, or how to make your story work.
- There will be days when you don't know why or how you ever thought you could be a writer and be good at it.
- There will be days when everything feels like crap.
- You can't, nor ever will be able to, please everyone.
Welcome to writer-dom.
But don't run away screaming yet. Remember that little treasure chest of passion you locked away? Good, because you will be able to access it whenever you want. It's all yours. And no one can ever take that away.
It will remind you of everything good:
- You're a creator.
- You have unlimited access to your imagination.
- Every word, sentence, and paragraph you slave over will make you into a brilliant writer.
- You spun an intricate tale out of nothing. Like magic!
- You've laughed, and cried, and got pissed off all because the characters in your head came to life--a life that YOU gave them, and now they're as real to you as your next door neighbor. Others will find them real too.
- You can spend hours alone, creating, and never once feel lonely.
- The feeling of accomplishment that gives your body a full rush after typing THE END is all yours. You did it yourself.
- Total satisfaction when a critique partner, beta reader, reviewer gets your story--and maybe even sees things you never realized before. That's because something magical and inexplicable happens when you create a piece of art--like casting paint over canvas, from blank page to finished story--each person will see something different.
The ups and downs of being a writer elude no one. So I warn you now, if your vision consists of sitting in sunshine while putting your feather plume pen to parchment, wake up and smell the coffee stains. Then, roll up your sleeves and prepare to get dirty in your own blood, sweat, and tears. And above all, remember the three Ps:
- Never give up--because you'll never be able to tell how close you are to getting there.
- Remember why you started writing in the first place. Always and forever. Remember it, and revisit it. Matter of fact, write it down right now and tuck it away or post it over your desk.
- There will be so many times when you think you're there--when you've worked so hard--but the truth is, you're just not. You won't see it. You'll be frustrated. You'll want signs you're moving in the right direction. There's a reason why they say it takes a million words to become a decent writer. Remember your passion, and remember that no matter how much of a failure you feel like, KEEP WRITING.
Always keep writing. Use your emotion to create new stories.
And read, read, read.
A writer MUST read. After every story you write, read a bestseller. Figure out why it's a bestseller. Take notes. Then go back and re-read your story. How can yours be better?
Find reliable, honest critique partners and hold onto them as if they're gold. They are. Don't fall into a trap of negative partners. The only negativity you should have to endure from a critique partner, are their polite suggestions for improving your stories. And that's not negativity--that's growth. Don't fall into the trap of partners who are TOO polite either. Honesty is key, and always have at least one writer who's more skilled than you, read your work. At every stage of your writerly path, find someone who knows more, and who has been at it longer, to critique your work.
And in conclusion, I'll leave you with my favorite piece of advice to writers at all stages--advice I came to on my own, from years and hours of trial and error at the keyboard:
Not every story will turn into something great, and that's okay. Write it anyway. With all your heart and soul, write it. Because although it may not be the masterpiece you'd hoped, it's a necessary step along the path to making YOU into a great writer, and looking back on those stories that amounted to nothing, will show you how far you've come.
In the end we regret most, the chances we do not take.
Now go ye forth and write! Create! Unleash the passion!
Peace, love, and inspiration,
Author of the Butterman Travel series
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For more letters like this one, please head over to Carrie Butler's blog for the list of participants. And there's still time to sign up. All week, writers of all stages will be sharing their advice and encouragement. And you are most definitely welcome!
Did you find any of my advice relatable? Do you have any of your own to share in the comments? I love hearing from you ...