There’s nothing as exciting as discovering your calling. If you’re anything like me, then you knew from a young age that writing was your deal. Now you’ve decided to get serious about it. You want to take your hobby and turn it into a career, following in the footsteps of your favorite authors.
You want to write fiction so compelling, a mass of crazed fans dress up as your fictional characters for Comic Con.
Here’s the thing though: some writers enter the game with a skewed vision and find themselves giving up prematurely. So I want to share four things all young, fresh-faced unicorn writers like you must understand about the writing journey before you even begin:
- Writing is hard
- You must write for the love of writing
- It’s not about the finish line, it’s about the journey itself
- Joining a community of writers is a must
So let’s break this down a little more…
1. Writing is Hard
You probably already figured this one out. Writing is never easy, especially when you put pressure on yourself to write your best all the time.
Great writing takes time. It also takes patience, perseverance, and repetition. If you aren’t dedicated to the process, you’ll wander with no ultimate goal in view.
There are also universal rules to writing great stories that can intimidate and confuse writers. Those rules can potentially leave you feeling inadequate.
So can you still do it? Absolutely.
You don’t have to write your best work all the time. In fact, you must allow yourself to fail because hey- you’re not perfect- and you can learn from your mistakes.
You don’t have to write for hours at a time to achieve great results. Just twenty minutes a day uninterrupted will fine tune your voice.
Writing isn’t all about the rules. It’s 50% about the rules and 50% about YOU: your voice, your message, and your unique perspective. Honestly, even giving the rules 50% is generous.
2. You Must Write for the Love of Writing
Let’s get real for a sec: writing just to become a famous author will get you nowhere. And it certainly won’t get you through the hard times. You must write only for the love of writing. This love will be the fuel you need when times get tough, people get rough, and fans don’t come tearing down your door.
Your book will not become a bestseller overnight. Or even in a few years. Heck, your tenth book JuSt MaY make it. Maybe. Will this fact deter a number of writers who think the odds are against them? Sure. Are you one of those peeps who will let a few facts and figures get you down?
I didn’t think so 😉
You write for the love of writing. And that love will help you defy the odds and produce a bestseller!
Now, the one thing your book is sure to get are some nasty reviews. Does that mean your book sucks, you suck, and you should start building wooden Yoda trinkets for a living instead? Nope. Writers have to have a thick skin. And although it’s completely ok to cry oceans over a stranger’s remark about our book, it doesn’t mean you aren’t destined for greatness.
Many famous authors’ best-selling books received scalding reviews. In fact, after one particularly bad review, Hans Christan Anderson (The Little Mermaid) was found just sobbing while laying face down in the dirt! (Poor guy, he deserved a hug and a cup of tea.)
So how do you combat critics? You keep writing. And you keep writing because- yep you guessed it- you love writing.
Now, this doesn’t mean you MUST love writing all day every day and never hate it. Some days you are going to swear off writing forever. Some days you will swear your book is only good for kindling. And some days you’ll 100% believe you’ll never write another word. And that is ALL ok. All of us go through that. John Green goes through that. Marie Lu goes through that. It’s totally ok, you sweet gumdrop.
The point is, though, that you get back up. You dust yourself off, and you get writing again. Because dang it, you just love it too much to ever quit the stuff for good. Yes, your love for writing acts as a shield in the battle to reach your goals. It will protect your desire no matter what life catapults your way!
3. It’s Not About the Finish Line, It’s About the Journey There
Surprisingly, what often weighs us down are our magnificent goals. Becoming a best-selling novelist, writing popular fanfiction, or having a movie made after our books are all awesome goals we can achieve. But those glittery goals can sometimes be the very thing that slows us down– even stopping us dead in our tracks.
The problem is, we become so focused on that goal, we become so obsessed with that sparkly vision, that we lose track of the value found in the little steps we take to get there. When we don’t appreciate the journey, the journey becomes a burden. And that is a travesty, my precious padawan.
Falling down, making mistakes, accepting direction and changing course- all of these things make us the next best version of ourselves. And if we don’t appreciate them in the moment, we resent them and therefore give up on ourselves. We believe we are never going to be that glittery best-selling novelist. And that’s just not true.
Never forget that the journey makes you, not the finish line.
4. Joining a Writing Community is a Must
You can do this alone, but it will be much harder. And as we both know, writing is already hard enough. When you join a community of writers, it becomes easier to overcome the challenges of the writing game.
Giving support to others’ works of fiction will encourage those friends to support your work of fiction as well.
So if you join online communities like the one found on Twitter, Instagram, or my own community on Facebook you will learn from new friends, celebrate writing together, and build your tribe one step at a time.
I am hosting a teen writer’s workshop in CT, where young writers just like you will come together to learn the fundamentals of writing, brainstorm ideas, and share your unique stories. Find out more about that Here.
Writing is a wonderful, painful, thrilling calling that you’ll lose sleep over if you do it right. I know you’re going to write amazing fiction that will blow us all away. But never forget to enjoy the journey, love the process, and write no matter what.
I believe your story matters and I want to help you understand how to write it and share it with the world.
Find out more about Barely Hare Books and me, Rae Elliott, right here, right now:
In the comments section below, tell me about the story you’re going to write about. This is a safe community where all ideas are welcome. Or, if you prefer, tell me what step you’d like to take next in your writing career. I’d love to talk shop with you, friend 🙂