There were so many things that I didn’t know as I ventured into the field of writing. I started professionally as a corporate copywriter then went on to freelancing before novel writing. In all three areas of writing, as a newbie, there were times when I wanted to give up, quit. I didn’t understand that the life of a writer isn’t just roses and ice cream — sometimes there are thorns and lactose intolerance. Here are a few things new writers can add to their survival kit.
1. Don’t take it personally. Not everybody is going to like your story (or subject for nonfiction writers). There will even be some people who’ll give your book a low rating or poor review because they didn’t like the behavior of the characters. Don’t take it personally. It’s not about you. And unless they say so, it’s not about your writing.
2. Talk less, write more. Talking about your book doesn’t get it written. Sure, sharing ideas or bouncing a situation off of a trusted advisor/friend/co-writer is fine. But the more you’re talking about the story, the less writing you’re doing. Spend more time writing the story than talking about it.
3. Don’t cave. At some point, you may be pressured to do something that doesn’t feel right to you. It could be changing a character’s personality or a story outcome. It could be just about anything. If you don’t feel good about doing it, don’t cave into the pressure.
4. Get a mentor. There will come a time when you need someone to mentor you, particularly after your first book is on the market. You will be surprised the gamut of emotions and self-doubt you will endure if your book doesn’t sell well or, if it is selling well, the fear of the follow-up (or next) book falling short. I call that the writer’s obstacle course. Having a mentor could help grow you through the obstacles.
5. Enjoy the journey. Sometimes we get so mired down with “creating” that we forget to enjoy ourselves. Celebrate each accomplishment: fleshing out a character’s conflict, completing a scene, filling a hole in the story, overcoming writer’s block — celebrate all of it. The journey will be that much more enjoyable.