5 things to remember as a new writer
As a new writer with very few or no published works to your name yet, writing can seem a daunting task. If you’re relatively new in writing or you are considering it, here’s a few advice for you.
None of this is rocket science, but sometimes you need a reminder on what matters. Hopefully you’ll keep being motivated to write and even get better at it as you go along!
I hope this list of 5 things to remember as a new writer, will help calm your nerves a bit. Especially when you’re sitting by the computer, wondering why no one has discovered you yet or why your books aren’t bestsellers.
Don’t compare yourself to others
It is so important, no matter what business you’re in, not to compare yourself to others. That goes for creative things too, like storytelling and creative writing. All art is more or less unique and depends on the person creating. That’s why it doesn’t make sense to compare yourself to Shakespeare, Jane Austen or J.K. Rowling. Even if you’re writing in the same genre as they are.
Writing stories worth reading is about finding your own voice and style. It doesn’t matter how old you are or when you started writing. Everyone starts somewhere and not everyone goes on to the bestseller list. Sometimes, smaller groups of really loyal fans who love what you create, are better than being a momentary bestseller. Your stuff does not have to be published in 40 languages to be worth reading, remember that!
It’s about the process, not the publishing
If you’re new in the writing game, being published can seem like the only goal worth pursuing. Seeing your book as a physical copy on the pretty shelf in the bookstore, with people standing in line to buy it, is a dream for many a writer. I get it, I really do. It must be wonderful to see something you’ve created, being out in the world like that. But you won’t become a better writer or have fun with it, if that’s your only goal with writing.
It’s all about learning to love the process. Do you love to write, come up with scenes, plots and characters, even when it’s tough and frustrating? If yes, then you’re a writer. If you’ve got that nailed down, you’ll go further than most people. As a new writer, you should be spending your time refining your writing process and get to know yourself better. It’s more about becoming the best writer you can be, than being published. The more you learn about how you write, the better your stories and writing will be in the long run.
Your story won’t suddenly become much better if you’re writing in a certain software program or use a certain fontsize. All that technical stuff can wait until you’re done and ready to send to publishers.
Practice makes perfect – consistency is key
As with any other thing in life, being a writer demands practice in order to become better. If you get used to writing often, perhaps a little every day, you’re training your ‘writing muscles’ and your imagination. If you write more often, it’ll get easier to think of something to write about. Maybe you will develop your language and vocabulary too? There are lots of pros to writing often, like being able to finish a story faster, because you spend more time writing.
I can warmly recommend writing often and maybe use writing prompts or exercises to challenge yourself a little. If you make it a habit, it will be easier and easier for you to write more, and better!
Do your research
For some of you, researching your ideas seem like second nature. Of course you research! But if you’re just starting out, this can be difficult to remember, once you’ve started working on your idea.
If you’re writing a story that takes place in a place like Venice, make sure you know about the infrastructure. That goes for anything you write about, whether it’s a place, culture, myth, person, historical time etc. It doesn’t have to be 100% accurate when you write your story though. You just need to know why you chose to place the royal family on a mountain instead of in a valley and what that potentially means for your story.
As a general rule of thumb it’s totally okay to write about real places. You don’t have to describe them as they are in real life, especially if you’re writing about an alternative world/the future etc. But it’s handy to know how a ship works if you’re going to write a big battle at sea. Make sure to research your themes and elements when writing something specific. It might even help you with your story and unlock new knowledge!
Read and write!
My last advice for you for now is: read and write. A lot. One of the best ways to become a better writer, is reading books by other authors and writing like a maniac on your own things.
If you read a lot of things in your own genre, then you’ll be more likely to know what the readers like and expect. Maybe you’ll find out what clichees to avoid and if your idea is original enough. If you read outside your preferred genre too, you’ll be able to expand your imagination and vocabulary even more. This can help make you a better storyteller, because you’ll be more aware of what the reader’s experience is.
As mentioned above, writing a lot can be a really good idea, in order to become a better writer. It enables you to stay focused for longer periods of time while writing. Maybe you’ll grow to accept that not everything you write is bestseller material, and that’s okay. The more you write, the higher a chance of some of it being really good quality. So keep writing buddy and get to work!
If you need a little inspiration to get started on your writing, feel free to have a look at my resource library for writers. You’ll find writing prompts, exercises and other advice on creative writing.