Writing is hard. I know that many of you out there deal with others making less of what you do but let’s be honest…they are wrong…writing is hard. While I would love to tell all of you aspiring writers out there that it gets easier…it doesn’t. People will always make light of what you do and you will never get the credit you think you deserve and, in the end, you will stand mostly alone behind your work. It is the nature of the beast. No one can make it better and only time will tell if you have the tenacity to see it through.
The thing about writers is that we are writers hard or not. Even though it is one of the most thankless jobs running we will do it anyways despite the ups and downs because we can’t help ourselves. So since I can’t stop you young writers from jumping in I have come up with a few pearls of experience that may help a little. Veteran writers will nod their heads to each one of these because we all learn them somewhere down the line…and if you haven’t learned them yet, you will eventually.
1. Talent is nice but not necessarily necessary – Let’s be honest here, talent is great but there are more than a few writers out there who had a spark that they nurtured into a career. In the end, to be a good writer requires hard work and dedication as well as that spark. Pure talent would be nice but the Universe doesn’t work that way. Persistence paves the way.
2. Write everyday – This is a biggie…you have to make the time to read and write every day no matter what. The sad thing is that it is incredibly easy to blow off writing time for life in general. We spend our lives with folks telling us that what we do isn’t all that important and so it’s easy to put it off….fight that. To hone the craft requires an everyday commitment.
3. Be honest with yourself – If there was a number 2 on the actual biggie list this would be it. As a writer you must be honest about your writing. It is a complete waste of time to work on stuff that isn’t working and to waste time on things that are all wrong. Commit to the work every day but be honest about where that work is headed. If it sucks, start again.
4. Everyone needs a neighborhood – It takes a village of sorts to write a book. Networking is important both during the process and afterwards. Build your reputation and make those connections with writers, publishers, editors, anyone who can help you spread the word. Sometimes the difference between being published and not is a simple handshake at a book signing.
5. You need a mentor – No one, and I mean no one, does it alone. We all need someone to aspire to, a mentor who will see our work through experienced eyes and help when things are going stupid. A good mentor will lend you their experience, expertise and support.
6. Read – I can’t stress this enough. Not reading as a writer is like being a chef who doesn’t eat…it’s pointless, how else will you know what “good” looks like? Read to study, read to compare, and most of all, read to be inspired!
These are just a few of the things I wish I had known in the beginning; it would have saved me time. Honestly there will always be some things that you have to learn by tripping over them but if those of us who have been around for a while can help you newbies, we should…it’s only right.
© The Writer’s Advice, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.