Monday, July 3, 2017

If you could give your new-writer-self one piece of advice, what would you say?


It's JULY. Wow! How many of you are doing Camp NaNo? With my kids home from school, summer is a terrible time for me to get much writing done, but I know it's ideal for those of you who are in school.

Today's panel question is:

If you could give your new-writer-self one piece of advice, what would you say?


Jill Williamson
Give yourself permission to write terrible first drafts and stop trying to be perfect all the time. You waste so much time rewriting those first couple chapters, but until you get to the end of the book, you don’t really know how the book should start. And you’re never going to get to the end if you keep rewriting chapter one! So take off all the pressure, adopt the NaNoWriMo process of writing fast drafts, and have fun.







Shannon Dittemore
There’s never that one final hurdle and then you arrive. For most writers, it’s cyclical. You have a book, you push, you have success (or not), and you start again. This is not an industry for those who cannot handle being uncomfortable. Authors are almost always off-kilter, fighting to keep writing through the ups and downs of life. This is a job for those who simply must tell stories.







Stephanie Morrill
You have to decide what success as a writer looks like to you, because if you let the industry tell you what it is, you’ll never feel content. There’s always another rung you can reach for, another author who is “ahead” of you, or another step you can take to further your career. While your goals will change and evolve over the years, it’s important that you know what kind of writer you want to be (how much you want to work, what you want to write, etc.) because looking to others to set those boundaries for you leads to unhappiness.






What about you, writers? What piece of advice do you wish you could give yourself as a brand new writer?


26 comments:

  1. Don't threaten to give up like you did twice. That may not have been in your new writer phase, but you should never threaten such things when they aren't true. Don't cringe when you look back at what got you started because it is the story that got you to the point you're at now. Don't put pressure on yourself when you have no pressure being put on you from outside sources. Yes, it might be a good idea to get used to deadlines, but cross that bridge when it comes. Enjoy the process of creating a world and putting people in it. Keep you imagination running. (Not that it ever stops.)

    This is what I would tell myself in my beginning phase and even now. My writing in the beginning may not have been as wonderful as I thought it was, but that doesn't mean it wasn't worth anything. It brought me to where I am.

    God bless y'all. <3

    iviewrites.blogspot.com

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    1. I can relate, although I think I only threatened to give up once, and it made me sob. :p

      Pressure tends to suck out all the inspiration for me. Still need to work on easing up. Great advice!

      -Ann

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    2. Thank you, Ann. Your comments are always so sweet.

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    3. Great perspective, Ivie. Enjoying the process is so important!

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  2. Celebrate the small victories and don't take criticism to heart. Yes, my book needed serious improvement, but it took a lot of work to get to that point. I should have respected my efforts more instead of letting the constructive feedback tear me up inside. Books aren't written in a day anyway.

    Lots of great advice here! I love all your answers.

    -Ann

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    1. Great advice, Ann. Are you published?
      Constructive feedback can be disheartening, but sometimes, it can push us to move forward and do our very best. <3

      iviewrites.blogspot.com

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    2. YES. I'm getting better at celebrating small victories. I'm glad you mentioned that!

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    3. @Ivie B: Thanks! Yes, my family helped me self-publish two books several years ago, and I've written devotionals/articles for magazines here and there.

      You're right, once we can develop a thick skin, constructive feedback helps us stretch our limits.

      @Ms. Morrill: Good to know I'm not the only one who's had to work on it. :)

      -Ann

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    4. That's cool. I'm thinking of self-publishing as well. I'm nowhere near ready, but I kind of want to go that route instead of traditional publishing.

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    5. Neat. How come, if you don't mind me asking? In a nutshell, self-publishing gives you full control and responsibility, which is probably the best and worst thing about it. XP

      -Ann

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  3. Basically what Jill said. It's okay to write bad first drafts. It's okay if there are plot holes. Write a note to yourself to fix it later and move on. Read more than you write and write like no one is going to read it but you. Don't judge yourself for what you write, just write the truth. If you think too much about what other people will think, you'll never write anything unique, much less good. Also, be patient with yourself. Perfection is not attainable, only getting better is. <3

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    1. Lots of good stuff in here!

      I agree. You can't let in the voices of too many people early on or you'll get stuck.

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  4. I would give myself the advice to write more. Write everyday. Don't pressure yourself to do great. Just write. If you try for perfection at first it will always fail, and you will stop writing until you get that perfect idea that probably won't come up until you finish the not so perfect first draft. So write it. Don't give up if you feel like its going nowhere because if you keep writing then you may surprise yourself. Go ahead and move on if you have to from that book but don't stop there in discouragement. Just keep writing.

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    1. I think the ritual of writing every day is so important. Great thoughts.

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  5. A little bit of plotting isn't a bad thing. I know you hate outlines, but at least do something. Also, when you keep rewriting the same chapter over and over, maybe the book needs bigger changes? Just saying, Former Self.

    In case you can't tell, I'm a pantser. I'm doing Camp NaNoWriMo and before I started I had three character sketches and a paragraph that was kind of a summary but not really. I still don't know exactly how I'm ending yet. -Mags

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    1. Sounds like advice that could have been spoken to a younger me as well! Hope Camp NaNo goes well for you!

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  6. Your writing is not perfect yet. It will take time to get there. You still write like a kid, and you will need to practice (and practice and practice) in order to get better.

    I thought I was writing 'the next Magic Tree House' when I was a beginning writer (my first series obsession... :P) and needed very much to tone down with my arrogance.

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    1. Oh, I can relate! I think many of us start in a similar place :)

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    2. I loved Magic Tree House! I remember not wanting to read it at first. My mom often made me read books from the library that I thought looked weird. (I always judge actual books by their cover. Who doesn't?) They turned out to be great. Oh, and 39 clues was awesome, too. They had a bunch of different authors. I never finished all the series. There were different series for that same topic. I finished the first series, but not the others. I may have to look into that even though I think they're middle grade.

      Faith, you brought up some good memories. :)
      God bless you!

      iviewrites.blogspot.com

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    3. When I was in second grade my then-teacher would read them to us every day. I haven't thought of that in a while. As for judging books by covers... yeah. -Mags

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  7. I'd tell myself to write for me. Write what I want. Write how I feel.
    But write. Please write.

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  8. You will not write perfectly. You will NOT write perfectly. Authors do not belt out an amazing manuscript their first try. You must write badly before you can write well.

    I'm doing camp Nano! The story I'm writing now is actually my favorite that I've ever tried to write.

    ~Mila

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    1. Great advice, Mila. No one is perfect and even the best selling authors didn't get it right their first try.

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  9. I would honestly just tell myself to read more.

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  10. You don't realize yet that the fact that you're writing down stories makes you a writer. You don't know yet that you can be a writer, though you know people who are alive today are writing books. You don't know yet that it's possible for you ever to be published. You don't know that in another ten years you'll have written some novels and be trying to get one ready to pitch.
    But you should know you won't be alone. You are now, but someday you'll find other writers, and groups of writers; and you'll be in some groups for a little while and then move on when you outgrow them, but one day you won't be alone in this anymore and that will make a world of difference. They'll tell you that your dreams are possible.

    I'm doing Camp NaNo! So far it's going really well. We'll see if that keeps up.

    https://ofdreamsandswords.wordpress.com

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