Any creative writing project is a journey, but making the commitment to complete a novel is an adventure that many embark on and sadly do not complete. They set sail and the water gets deeper, the waves less placid and when the first signs of a storm hit, they bail back to shore where its safe and sound.
But you can’t travel if you stay on shore. And that’s why I am offering three sage pieces of advice.
I started writing when I was 16 years old. I’m now 22. I’ve finished 3 novels and have been wrestling with the behemoth of a fourth that I just can’t seem to get write. But this project, which has given me the most frustration with any writing I’ve ever done, has also helped me mature and develop. I’ve come to a lot of conclusions over the psat year as a writer, and I want to share these tips for new writers that will help encourage them when the sun passes behind a cloud and their faith in the journey starts to waver.
1. You Don’t Have to Know What You’re Doing to Be a Writer
Most writers are inspired by the works of other authors. In fact, I don’t think you can be a writer without appreciating the work of others. But there’s a trap in admiring published works too much. They’ll give you the false notion that you have to be writing something that is as solid as the book in your hands or on your Kindle screen, and that’s just nonsense. Most writers have no idea what they’re doing. Freewriting is a very real thing, and actually how I write pretty much everything, including this post. There’s nothing wrong with taking a vague idea and running with it. Just understand that this means you’ll get tired. You’ll need to stop and rest, refuel and figure out what direction you want to head in next. You ma even back track once, twice, or even five times before you’ve found the right tone, plot and pacing, but that’s all part of the journey and something you should treasure rather than dread.
2. You Don’t Have to Write One Genre
It’s common for writers to pen themselves immediately as “Young Adult” or “Romance” authors, but why lock yourself into a box? Although it can feel like a nice way of securing your author identity early on, don’t rush to declare yourself any specific type of author. In fact, don’t do it ever, because you can’t control the ideas you get and the things that inspire you, and who is to say that some day you’ll have a project that falls under the genre you don’t even read at the moment? (I’ve recently experienced this myself with a fantasy idea. It’s awesome and unexpected, and I want to write as much as I can across all realms, not just one specific subdivision of literature.) However, it is important to know what you’re good and and which ideas you can truly bring to life, which brings us to number 3…
3. You Don’t Have to Do It All
Writing is not a race nor a competition. Having 50 published works doesn’t make you any better than someone who has slaved over their first and just posted it online. You do not have to query agents, or seek publication or even stress about any of the publication aspects of writing if you don’t want to. You also don’t have to be a book blogger, a massive online presence or anything else that isn’t distinctly you.
I have yet to feel the need to go through the process of actually publishing my books, because right now I am just writing the one that means the most to me and hopefully will be able to find a couple people here and elsewhere who connect with it and want to share that experience with me. That’s my reason for writing publicly, but it isn’t my whole reason for writing
Don’t write because you want to become famous, or because you feel like now that you’ve announced that you’re writing a novel, you’re obligated to shamelessly promote it 24/7 and launch social media advertising campaigns. Just write your book. Fall in love with it. Share it with who you’re comfortable sharing it with, whether that’s just you, your best friend or a bunch of strangers over the Internet.
Whatever you do, new writer, make sure that you do it for you and your stories, not for the merit or the money or anything else.