Have you ever wished you could find a time machine, set the dial back a few years, and visit yourself? If such an invention were handy, what words of wisdom would you like to be able to share with your younger self? Stock market tips and winning lottery numbers aside, what advice would you give?
We’ve spent a few weeks examining this question from a writer-ly point of view. What would we want to tell our younger selves about writing? Robin started us off, then Lucy and Deanna added their insight.
1. When it comes to that beautiful first draft…just write
Don’t stop to edit yourself, don’t search for the perfect simile or metaphor. Don’t even correct your spelling and punctuation! There’s something to be said for letting your creativity flow. Even if you end up with chapters of back story you can never use, or a conversation that goes nowhere, or an extra character you have to later kill off (muwahaha!) just write. Get it all down. You’ll have time to fix it up later.
I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles ~ Shannon Hale, author
That’s right, you can’t make anything beautiful without making a mess first!
2. You can’t please everybody
While Lucy said something similar, I want to focus particularly on criticism. I’ve read some incredible books recently that have inspired my own writing. Stories with unforgettable characters, vivid scenery, and fascinating plots. And then I see on Amazon or GoodReads that somebody gave this story one star. One star?!? How is that possible? What’s wrong with the reviewer that they can’t accept what a great story this is?! That’s right. Books, like all forms of art, are subjective. Which means some people simply won’t like what you’ve written. But. And this is the awesome part…some people will. Some will adore your story. They’ll rave about it to their friends. They’ll submit nice reviews and adorn your story with five stars. Yay! So ignore the critics who talk trash and embrace the readers who love what you write.
3. Read as much as you can in your genre (and others too!)
Like everything else, stories go in trends. What was popular one hundred years ago (or even ten years ago!) might still be popular today, but it might not get published if it were submitted today. Styles change, new topics pop up (can anybody say zombies?), and even point of views drift in and out of popularity. Keeping up-to-date with new authors and new stories can help keep your voice fresh. You never know where you might get a great idea!
We’ve had fun with the series and hope you’ve enjoyed it as well. Maybe there’s something YOU can use in your own writing!