Not every writer will have the same approach and not everyone wants the same outcome. What works for one, won’t work for another. One of the biggest things I have learned over the years is that I am not the same as another writer.
I am me.
And embracing who I am is the only way I can find enjoyment through my writing.
1. I WOULD TALK MYSELF UP, NOT DOWN.
It took me a long time to call myself a writer. I thought a writer was someone who was killing it in the market, their books proudly displayed on the bestsellers shelves in all the popular bookstores. I was embarrassed by my little book which I had self-published, and which mostly my friends and family were buying.
I now have books in popular bookstores, and I have a publisher. But you know what? I was a writer then just as much as I am now. I wish I had owned it more back then. I wish I had enjoyed the process more.
You’re a writer no matter what part of the journey you’re on.
I still remember the first time I said the words out loud. I was at a festival, and someone asked me what I did for a living. “I do graphic design for a small magazine,” I said. “And I’m a writer.” The words felt good. Not long after, the ‘writer’ label was my main one, but I needed that self-confidence to finally get the ball rolling.
2. I WOULD ASK FOR HELP.
I was always too afraid to show people I didn’t know enough, and I never let anyone in on the fact that I was actually clueless. The Fake It Until You Make It motto can be quite helpful, but it can also hinder you from the learning process.
The best way to learn and to improve is to allow yourself to be vulnerable. Don’t feel afraid to ask questions, no matter how big or small they might seem.
The writing community is a friendly one.
I joined a great writing group of people just starting out, and those already well established, and the feedback I got was invaluable. I spent a long time lurking before asking my own questions, and I was always so happy when someone asked a question I had in my mind. Looking back, I wish I had felt the confidence to ask for help sooner. An internet search can only help so much.
On that note, if you’re reading this and have any writing or publishing questions, I would love to chat to you!
3. I WOULD HIRE THE RIGHT EDITOR.
Not all editors are made equal.
My first editor missed so many mistakes, which I only saw once I printed my book. I had no idea what I was doing, and hired someone I could afford at the time. You get what you pay for, right?
My next editor came highly recommended, and while she was a little pricier, she was amazing. It wasn’t just her grammatical skills that were on point, but she also gave amazing feedback to my stories. She liked the genre I wrote in, and spoke to me as not just an editor, but also a reader. I now use her for all my books, and believe she’s an integral part to my success.
4. I WOULDN’T BE SO FOCUSED ON HAVING A NICHE.
Many people are going to disagree with me here, and rightly so. A niche is important, and a good way to find financial success if you’re going to dedicate yourself to writing books.
My biggest problem was that I enjoyed writing in multiple genres, and sometimes my books simply didn’t fit into a particular box at all. It’s hard to market a book that you can’t define.
However, after years of trying to write to market and have a niche, I noticed all the joy I got from writing was no longer there. It’s hard to make a living solely as an author. Even now, I do a lot of other things other than write books. I’m a content and freelance writer, I create writing courses, I ghost write, and I even do illustrations. I may not write as many books as I used to, but I’m okay with that. I love the books I write, and mostly, I love the process. And isn’t that why I wanted to be a writer in the first place?
5. I WOULDN’T TAKE MYSELF TOO SERIOUSLY.
I took everything too seriously when I first started. I beat myself up about every mistake I made, and deemed myself a failure if nothing was selling. I forgot how to have fun with my writing and how to take everything with a pinch of salt. I would get fifty great reviews and one bad one, and I’d spend weeks focused on the bad one.
Would I really change anything if I had to start over? Probably not. There’s no growth in knowing everything from the start. You have to fall, have to fail, and you have to get up and start again. If you feel a little lost, maybe think about why you wanted to become a writer in the first place, and find the joy in the simple act of creation.
Good luck to everyone in this crazy business. If you’d like to connect with me, I’d be more than happy to help you through your journey. Oh, and coffee helps.
If you enjoyed this, please follow me on Medium.