I’m not an accomplished writer by any means yet, but often I hear people ask about writing advice. These are some things that help me.
As with any advice, take it with a grain of salt, as what works for me may not work for you. But it’s something to consider.
1. Don’t be afraid to write badly
Don’t be afraid to write badly- a first draft is for getting the idea down, subsequent drafts are for perfecting it. Write like no one other than you will ever read this version, and for a first draft, that’s really how it should be.
2. Try to write something every day
Try to write something every day, so it becomes habit. This is not the definition of a writer- many people don’t do this. But for me, it reinforces the idea that I have to make time, and make it happen. When you have a busy life, and fitting time in is hard, you will be thankful if you made yourself squeeze in those extra 20 minutes when you were able.
3. Try to stick to one WIP at a time
Try to stick to one Work in Progress at a time, it will help focus. Bouncing around between projects diverts your mind and distracts from making real progress on a single work.
4. Don’t feel bad if you don’t like it
Don’t feel bad if you don’t like your WIP at points. Every writer faces doubts, especially in the drudgery of the middle bits. It can be easy to have a bad day, or a bad week, and let doubt creep in and grow a voice. The work usually comes together later on if you persevere, and if not, that’s what revision is for.
Having a finished draft, even a bad one is gold. It is an accomplishment to celebrate and be proud of. It’s something most people never accomplish in their lifetime. And, it can be the motivation you need later on, even if just to remind yourself, you can do this.
6. Your first novel may not go anywhere – that’s OK
Many new writers think their first novel will be their breakout hit- the thing that launches their career. For most writers, that is not the case. Don’t be upset if your first novel doesn’t go anywhere other than your bookshelf. Most writers don’t ever publish their first work because as good as you do, in the end it is practice. It is the effort you need to become good. Feel OK if the first novel is the biggest homework assignment you ever do. Writers learn from writing and that has value in itself.
7. Don’t give up.
Don’t give up. You have a wealth of people to help you and your entire life to perfect the craft. As well, I encourage writers to visit and make friends on Twitter – join the #WritingCommunity and see how big of a support system is out there.