5 Things Every Writer Must Know

By on April 3, 2016
So you want to be a writer? 5 things you should know. - Writer's Life.

Every aspiring writer could do with a little help from time to time, and whether you are simply starting out as a writer or have already begun, here are 5 things that every writer needs to know.

Seek advice

Writing can feel like a lonely game at times, and the sooner you build up your support network the better. Joining writing groups and online writing communities can be really helpful when you are having a ‘lonely’ day. They are also full of people who have had loads of experience in the writing field and are therefore an excellent source of advice.

Talking to other writers about writing is always helpful, be it to get over writer's block, to share experiences or to celebrate successes, so finding friends in the field is a great idea.

Write a bad story

Expect your writing to be bad at first, and be okay with it.

Just like many other crafts, good writing takes time and work. No one expects a novice to sit down at the piano and be able to play a concerto. So don’t put pressure on yourself.

Your first draft of something may be rubbish, but don’t let that put you off writing it in the first place. Once it's down you have something to work from, you can chip away at it, dust it off, and polish it to perfection.

Learn from your mistakes too. Writing is often a long game. You will make mistakes, but you should try to learn from each and every one of them. When you start to understand the flaws in your writing that’s when you’ll know how to correct them.

Just write

One of the main obstacles for a writer is feeling as though they have no material in their head. They sit down to start and nothing comes out. So just write. 

Write the most boring, mundane, poorly written piece in the world if that’s all you can manage. You don’t have to have an entire story plotted out, you don’t even really need to have the bare bones of a plot. Don’t be scared of the darkness ahead, just keep writing and eventually you’ll get there.

Give yourself targets

We know that writers are creative types, but there is nothing wrong with enforcing a little discipline on them from time to time. 

Think about it, if you had a regular job you wouldn’t just decide not to go to work because you were overwhelmed with a desire to sort out your attic/ clean all of the insides of your cupboards/ iron your curtains or any of the other wonderful excuses we use not to sit down and write. 

Set time aside to write and don’t let anything take you away from it. It is so easy to put writing off and before we know it next week turns into next month, which turns into next year. If you want to be a writer you have to make writing a priority, you have to sacrifice other things. Give yourself deadlines and stick to them. Soon you’ll get into the swing of things and it will feel just like any other job.

Get feedback

Getting other people to read your work is crucial. It is often the hardest and most frightening part of the writing process. Start off gently and ask friends or relatives to read your work. After that post it on writing review sites. You may receive constructive criticism that you may wish to take on board or not, but remember, part of being a writer is developing a rather thick skin - you’re not a real writer until you've received your first proper rejection!

Writing is exciting and rewarding, and if you want to be a writer it’s probably because you can’t think of anything else you would rather be, in which case it is almost certainly what you should do!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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