Becoming a writer is actually easy (see #1 below). But being a happy, content, creatively satisfied writer — that’s a whole other issue.
Part of it has to do with motivation, and what you’re really want (to write, or to “have written” — there’s a big difference, I think. See #15). Part of it also has to do with what you’ve been led and allowed yourself to believe about writing.
Here are 25 things about becoming a (happy) writer that I wish I’d learned years earlier than I did.
- Just write.
- Write for an audience of one — yourself.
- Ignore trends.
- Take feedback, good and bad, in stride.
- You’re allowed to suck.
- You’re allowed to really, really suck.
- A good editor is a gift from the gods.
- Your friends are not your editors.
- A writer without an editor is a ship without a sail.
- You can do way better than tired cliches (see #9).
- Stop worrying about what family and friends will think.
- Share what you’ve written.
- Don’t read reviews.
- Fame is fleeting, but your words can endure.
- Understand the difference between “writing” and “having written” — which do you really want?
- Know that real writing is a lot of rewriting.
- Your voice will find you.
- Get out of your chair and see the world.
- A healthy body leads to a sharp mind.
- Don’t compare yourself to other writers.
- Set a goal, and write it down.
- Writing is both art and craft. Craft you can learn, and then the art will come.
- Pain and conflict are foundational, embrace them.
- But always have fun.
- And always finish.
Looking for more writing advice? This 25 Things About Creating Characters list is one of my favorites.