Hey, gang! Time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) post... or as I like to call it, the We're A Hot Mess And Damned Proud Of It Support Group. (Can't really blame Alex--founder of IWSG--for not calling it the WAHMADPOISG, can we.)
Actually, the group is more about encouraging other writers by confessing our insecurities, talking about how we overcome them, and generally keeping it real.
This month marks the two year anniversary of the IWSG, and I'm really proud to be a part of this group. For more info on the IWSG, and to learn how you can take part, click THIS.
IWSG - 10 Tips For The Beginning Writer... A Mostly Serious List
As noted, this list is only mostly serious. Like being "mostly dead", mostly serious mean it might also be partially silly and inapplicable to anyone but me.
Let's get started!
1. Being a good reader is a very important part of being a good writer.
2. Being a good reader does NOT make you a good writer.
3. You should write about what you know... then twist the hell out of it until you're convinced you know nothing about it anymore--after all, that's how most of your readers will enter into the deal.
4. Write the craziest, bravest, most devious, and over-the-top characters you can dream up. Then make them crazier, braver, even more devious, and so over-the-top your grandmother will blush at their brazenness. That's when they become unforgettable.
5. No one is ever going to give you a letter grade, stamp of approval, keys to a magical 'For Writers Only' grotto in the Alps, or any other kind confirmation that you are indeed a writer. So just think of yourself as one as soon as you type that first sentence and get on with being one.
6. Write like you have millions of fans dying to read your next story, even when you're pretty sure your dog is the only one who cares when it's done--and that's just because you'll finally take her for a walk. It'll keep you writing through the inevitable 'dark' days.
7. Dark days will come when you feel like you're no better a writer than you were when you started (insert number) years ago, and that you're no closer to your goals than when you hadn't started at all. It's best to embrace them, and eat a buttload of chocolate, go for a run, shop, sulk, piddle on the Internet, consider a career as grizzly bear tamer because it would be less emotionally dangerous or do whatever it is you do to cope with crappy days.
Then, when you have a little perspective, go find a mirror, look into it, and say, "I'm a writer. Being a writer means I'm going to suck some days. It's just part of the job." Now go back to the chair and do the other parts.
8. The more you think of writing as a very cool, very necessary and very difficult task or job that needs doing--and doing well--the easier this will be for you. Writing is not magic. Becoming a good writer does not require an altered state of being, a muse, Da Vinci-esque levels of creativity, or unicorn-horn dust.
It DOES require patience, an inquisitive nature, being humble as it relates to your own ability, having an appreciation for getting most everything wrong before you can get it right, a dogged determination, and being willing to learn at an almost constant rate.
9. Don't try to write like anyone else, and when you discover you are (and you will), figure out how and change it up a little so people say, "ooh, this reminds me of XYZ... but different!" Also known as the Colonel's secret recipe for voice.
10. Writing is a paradox in that it's a solitary task that can't be done alone. So make friends with other writers as quickly and as often as you can. They get you, they get this writing thing like no one else does, and they'll likely be your first and dearest fans. That's why groups like the IWSG are so important.
What about you? Any tips you wish someone had given you before you started your writing pursuit?
"Being a writer means I'm going to suck some days. It's just part of the job." Click to tweet.
"write about what you know... then twist the hell out of it until you know nothing about it anymore" Click to Tweet.
"Writing is a paradox in that it's a solitary task that can't be done alone." Click to tweet.