After a decade of serious writing, classes, conferences, workshops, critiques, and six novel publications, I don’t consider myself a “new” writer anymore. But, that takes effort. I mean, I have done this stuff before, am still doing it, yet every time I start a new project, it’s like it’s my first project.
Whether you are brand-spankin’-still-thinking-about-it new or, like me, starting over each time, these tips are for you.
You can write. If you want to write a book…or a poem…or a short story…or a memoir…or whatever—then do it. Go ahead and get started. You don’t need anybody’s permission, and although encouragement is nice, that’s a bonus to believing in yourself.
The only tools you truly need to get started are motivation and a means of recording. Paper and pen, laptop, audio app on your phone. There is no one right way to write. Try ‘em all till you find the one that works for you.
Share your work. Share it because you’re excited about it. Share it because you need input. Share it because that’s how your work gets better. Talk about it, show it off. A writing group that includes shared critique is one of the best resources in your arsenal.
Check the sensitivity at the door. Writing is hard. Writing is personal. Critiquing is hard. Critiquing is personal. Learn to separate the writer from the work. If the people you share with only give you props and accolades, you will never grow and get better. That’s not to say anyone has the right to ruin you. Readers need to be respectful and if you run across one that isn’t, do not share with them again. As for constructive critique, a simple rule of thumb is this, if several people point out the same thing, you might want to take that thing seriously.
Keep going. Even when it gets hard. And it gets hard. Ideas are invigorating! Blank pages fill with ideas and plots and characters…and then…what are words? This is another time your crit group, see Tip 3, will be beneficial. Share your block, talk through your conundrum, read and critique others’ pages to help you work through your own.
There are a million sites on the internet to help you become a writer. I provide five tips here, but really, all you need is number one.