I often get emails and messages asking for advice for new and aspiring authors. I do my best to write back, answer questions, and cheer everyone on (because camaraderie is fun, and it’s what I would have enjoyed as a newbie author).
Here are a few tips that helped me and might help you! Remember that every writer has a slightly different process, so if these tips don’t help, just disregard them and keep putting words on the page.
1. Write your rough draft fast. Too often new writers stall because they don’t like the way it all sounds or the perfect chapter isn’t perfect. They never get the thrill of writing THE END and become frustrated. I suggest spitting the story out as fast as you can and making sure that the bones of the novel are there, then go back and edit (because no matter how pretty that first draft looks there will be lots of rounds of editing anyway).
2. Learn from other writers. There are so many great authors out there who share their process on blogs, social media, and at conferences (all awesome sources). My personal favorite is to read my favorite novels and ask myself why I loved it and how the author did it. It’s not cheating to read great authors and study their work!
3. Enjoy the journey! Rejection, constructive criticism, another round of editing…all of this can feel daunting, unless you choose to enjoy the ride. That rejection letter might have a piece of wisdom in it. It might be the “no” that helps point you to your future “yes.” That editor that didn’t love it but made a recommendation might make you a better author down the road. Plus, all those bumps make for great stories later!
4. Get involved in the writing community. Most every author I have met understands that we are colleagues not competition. Busy authors might not have time to read your entire manuscript but most are eager to send a positive word of encouragement and knowing other people have been right where you are is encouraging.
5. Remember that you are an author! If you put words on the page, then you are an author and that’s an exciting thing to be. Enjoy the creative process and don’t worry about how you compare to someone else. Keep writing if it calls to you.
There are million tips that could be shared, but most important – remember why you started writing in the first place!
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