A long while ago, I asked a few of my fellow writers a few questions as follows: When you were a young writer, what advice do you wish you had received? What advice do you have for fellow writers who are either new at writing or have the same experience as you? If a writer gets the hated Writer’s Block, what do you suggest they do?
Hui Lang – Don’t give up and here are the resources to help you get your feet off the ground.
1. Set realistic expectations. If you’ve never written a book before, understand writing is an endurance sport. Start small, write a short story. Scale up by writing another one, but longer.
2. Get feedback on your work and leave your ego at the door. I’m considered a good writer by colleagues, but I still get feedback from readers that say my work sucks and they outline the reasons why. You have to take the criticism in stride.
3. Surround yourself with people who will brutally honest with you, but will support you too. Writing is a journey that never ends unless you die or you want it to end.
Steps for Writer’s Block.
1. Do a story-edit. Go back and read your WIP as if you’re a reader. What’s missing? What doesn’t flow? Do your characters make sense? Typically, as you think through the scenes, you’ll think of new stuff to add into the story to further round it out.
2. Skip to the scene / chapter that you want to write right now. You can always fill in the gaps as you skip around. No one said you have to write the book from Chapter 1 to The End. I’ve skipped around lots of times.
3. Start on another project, work on it for a few days and then come back to the other one.
Amber Cummins – I really wish someone would have told me to just sit down and write. I got caught up in the weeds of all the online information and advice about writing in the beginning. I wanted my first short story to be perfect. It was far from the perfection I had hoped, but it was perfect for my first rejection at the time. I’ve grown since then and regret the time I wasted not writing. My skills were developed by every mistake I made in a manuscript and the feedback I received from the writing community, not from a website telling me where to put my comma.
If you’re attempting to write to make money, don’t waste your time. Writing is a hobby, a passion for people who want to tell a good story. It’s a lot of work and takes time and patience. If you have the desire for those things, then welcome to the writer’s club. Embrace the frustration, because it is part of the process and you are doing something right. Do not skip the Beta reading step and be open to their suggestions. And no, your mother’s or brother’s feedback will not be helpful to improve your story. Reach out to other authors or readers.
Walk away from your work for a bit. (I’m not talking days or weeks or years, either) Go do something else like take a walk or watch a movie. Than come back and start writing again even if it’s crap. You have plenty of time to fix it before you release it. Don’t let it stress you out.
Never stick to just one genre. Spread out, learn everything you can about the writing world, and share what you learn with your fellow writers. You’re never too old to start anything, especially not writing. Never, never let anyone or anything keep you from writing. If you want to write, write. Yes, at some point in time, you will get discouraged, but do not let it be a long-lasting situation. It is your life, and if you want to be an author, do it! There will be plenty of people to support you, even if your closest family and friends don’t. There is always someone who will spend the time and energy encouraging you.