So, an awesome thing happened. TheLadders.com are currently running a project where they seek out specific career advice, and they asked me to share my own advice for people looking into writing as their career. I thought, sure why the heck not?!
I’m still pretty new to my writing career, even though I’ve been blogging for four years and writing fiction for over ten; I have SO MUCH to learn! However, here are a few big things I have learned.
1. Helpful criticism is your best friend.
Everybody thinks they know this, but it’s another thing to have your work returned to you with more than just a few glowing remarks on your genius. Generally, unless they’re anonymous internet trolls, people simply want to be honest. If you’ve asked specific people for their feedback, trust that they’re wanting to help you. Even if you don’t change or do every single thing people suggest, it is smart to hear a reader’s perspective on your work.
I learned several years ago that my writing improved when I swallowed my pride and listened to the feedback people had to give. If you can take helpful criticism, you and your writing will improve quicker than if you didn’t.
2. Go out of your way to learn more about writing.
I’ve exhausted my library’s creative writing section for a couple of months now, looking for books that talk about building characters, plots, worlds, grammar, story flow, ect. On can learn so much from doing this, especially if you’re going out of your way to find. Finding online articles about writing strong and better is even more convenient! Find anything that could expand my knowledge as a writer and give it a try.
I’m currently reading six different books on writing at the moment and they’ve already changed the way I view my craft. I strongly suggest all writers should learn from others shared mistakes and success to see what might help your individual needs and weaknesses as a writer.
3. Unless you dare to try or to take risks, nothing will happen.
To be a writer is to take risks, to move forward when you want to move backward, to be open, to be insecure, to have gnawed finger nails. I hit these crossroads a couple of years ago myself. I discovered a platform for self-publishing but became scared people wouldn’t like what I wanted to publish; that it stunk; even worse, that people wouldn’t be interested to even try reading it. I saw two choices: keep rewriting till the story turned to mush out of fear that my work wasn’t good enough… OR take a risk to move past my insecurities and publish despite my inner voice of doom.
I realized that if I didn’t at least try I would never know either way if my work was good or bad. So in the end I hit publish and the response to my first short story was encouraging and kind: And people wanted more of it! I’m always thankfully I took that jump because it has led some wonderful success!
4. WRITE. Everybody says this, but that’s because it’s important.
I don’t care what you write, but the more you write the better you get. This is the simplest piece of advice I’ve learned yet and hopefully most of you seriously considering writing already know and do this as often as possible.
These some the most valuable lessons that I’ve learned the past four or five years. If a writer’s career is the life for you, well, welcome aboard. Tighten your seat belts since the goings usually rough…just remember that the view is worth it.