Monday, June 15, 2015

Discussion Post: What Advice Do You Have for Writers?

Today, we're talking about advice we have for writers. The thing about writing is, it's so subjective and so personal. A lot of the "tried and true" advice is relative. I'd never tell someone, for example, "write what you know," because that's super restrictive. However, each of us Authorteers DOES have a few words of wisdom to share and inspire writers at all stages of the game.


If you're a writer, then my advice to you is always keep going. Whether you're a debut writer or an established one. Write that first book. Write your next book. Tell the stories of your heart. Sometimes starting is the scariest part, especially if it's your second or third or seventh book. You think it gets easier, but it really doesn't. You just get used to breathing around the fear to start telling that story. 

If you're a writer, you're a writer. Stopping, or not starting, isn't something you can think about without having a different kind of fear. If you're a writer, it's in your heart and head, and those words WILL find a way out, in some medium or another. So let it happen. Let yourself write that ugly first draft. Have fun with it! You can make it pretty later, but if you don't start, you can't fix it. ;)


My best advice for any writer is simple: WRITE. Write consistently and make it a habit, whether it's 200 or 2,000 words. Don't let fear stop you. I've had so many people tell me they want to write but they're too afraid. I get that, believe me, but if you don't at least try, you'll never know. It's easy to say you don't have time or you're not a 'good enough' writer or you don't think anyone will want to read your work. As writers, we're often our own worst critics and are full of doubts, fears, and even excuses, but if you've got the words in you, you owe it to yourself to write them. And once you've started, don't stop. Don't let people tell you to stop, that you're wasting your time, that you'll never get published. Believe in yourself, believe in your writing, and tell the stories that are whispering (or screaming) in your ear, begging to be written.


One of my biggest things is this: Don't censor yourself. I don't necessarily mean that you need to swear (but whatever floats your boat). What I mean is you need to get those words down however you see fit. You can always edit later. It's one thing that can hold you up on your writing if you're stopping to fix something that doesn't need to be fixed.

Also, work at the pace you need to. This is critical. Some people can write thousands of words every day and keep at it consistently. Not all people can do this, though. There's nothing wrong with setting goals--in fact, goals are great. But don't stress yourself if you can't meet a goal. For some of us, writing 300-500 words a day is easy to achieve. Don't balk at the small number because it adds up faster than you think. It's better to set a reasonable goal than to burn yourself out. I've had 1,000 word days followed by 100 word days. The best thing for you and your writing is to write, even if it is just a little bit. Even if it's one sentence. If you make writing a habit, you'll be less likely to break it later.


Don't give up on yourself. When I started seriously writing in 2011, I would continuously hit a wall. Not necessarily writer's block, just that I wouldn't write. I'd make excuses, put it off, tell myself I'll get to it later. It took me two years to finish/publish my first book. Some of the time I feel was necessary for me to grow into becoming a better writer, but a lot of that time felt wasted because I kept putting it off for one reason or another. When I actually hit "publish" the first time, I felt something change in me. I can't NOT write now. It's scary to put yourself out there, but once you do and nothing horrible happens, it's less scary. It doesn't go away because, trust me, I was still nervous when I published my second book, but it's better than the first time. Don't put it off, don't let fear take control, and don't give up on yourself. Stay positive, stay consistent, and be your biggest cheerleader.

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