I love being a writer. But as with anything, there are some things I wish I’d known before I got started. The blog Paper Hangover is hosting Friday Fives, where writers share the five things they wish they knew before becoming a writer.
1) It’s ok to be afraid, but do it anyway
I stared writing in my early teens. In my bedroom, door closed. I like to think my family didn’t know what I was doing – they probably did, but we didn’t talk about it. You see, I never told anyone I wrote because I was scared of what they’d say. Sometimes my doubts made me stop writing all together. I lost valuable years of developing my craft thanks to my fears. And I regret that every day as I try to keep moving forward with my writing years later. It’s ok to be afraid – writing is a scary thing, putting your thoughts and feelings on display – but never stop writing. You can only get better, and soon enough, those fears will fade.
2) Seek out all the opportunities available to you
I hate the fact that I was too intimidated to take a creative writing class in college. I was good at studying, got good grades, but terrified at trying something more creative in a room of my peers, even though I had been writing on my own for some time. Now I realize that it was foolish to let my fears hold me back like that. Today I would kill for an opportunity to take a creative writing class with my peers. Now I constantly cull the local paper for writing opportunities and events. I got involved with two writing groups. I make sure I know when readings and author events happen near me. If you want it, work for it. Make connections. You never know what will pan out.
3) Don’t just read books – study them
You’re going to read a lot of books. For fun, for school. Books you want to read. Book you hate. But the best thing you can do is become an active reader, a critical reader. Don’t just read a book because you have to or because you want to pass the time. Read for craft. Why does the author write something one way and not another? Why is one book a page turner and another one isn’t? How would you make the content of a dry history text come to life? By asking yourself these questions as you read, you will have internalized the techniques of other writers and be able to apply them to your own writing.
4) Remember to experience life
If you know you want to be a writer, that’s great. And it’s important to work towards that goal. But don’t forget to experience life in you quest for literary greatness. Go to that party. Watch TV. Walk in the rain. Talk to that person you never talk to but always see. Live. And write. The more you experience, the more fodder you will have for your stories.
5) Don’t give up
Writing is a long journey. It can be lonesome. It can be terrifying. But it can also be exhilarating. It can also be energizing. It can tell you who you are. But it takes determination, patience, and hard work. A few good writer friends won’t hurt either. You will be rejected, you will get discouraged. But you will still pick up your pen or type on your keyboard, because you are a writer. You write.
Be sure to check out the other writers participating by going HERE.