The following is a post written for Peevish Penman's: My Best Advice for New Writers blogfest
I had the privilege of attending RomCon this past weekend in Denver Colorado. It’s a Romance book genre conference meant for readers; what I noticed, though, is that among many of those readers, I found writers of all kinds. Some were bloggers, some reviewers and yes, most importantly, some aspiring romance writers. Since I had been asked to participate in this blog, I grabbed the opportunity before me, while at RomCon, to ask some published authors what was the best advice they had been given when they, themselves, were aspiring writers.
All of them answered my question quite graciously. “Keep going! Don’t stop because you never know which book it is that will get you published,” or, “Join a local chapter of writer’s groups,” and, “Don’t keep polishing. Move onto the next story.”
These authors had retained this valuable advice, and it’s what they now pass on to those seeking their wisdom and wanting to learn the craft.
I’m a new writer, and by new, I mean I didn’t start writing until August 2009. I have been told many of the same things I listed above, most frequently, “Don’t give up! Keep writing!” and “Show your stuff to people that will give you honest feedback and help you grow.” That being said, it can be scary to put yourself out there. It can be hard to not take the feedback or criticism personally. There will be people who may, at times, come across as being harsh, so it’s important that you find people who are willing to teach you and share what they have learned. The criticism must be constructive or it will do you no good. I have some wonderful and patient writer friends who are not afraid to tell me the truth and to push me. They are also willing to teach me. A big thank you to them!
My biggest struggle as a new writer has been trying to get the visions of the story in my head translated into actual words on the page. I’m finally beginning to string some words together. In the meantime, I’ve written a lot of poetry. The poetry has allowed me to experiment with different words and different ways of expressing my thoughts. This has helped me immensely. However, because I was writing only poems until recently, I didn’t even dare refer to myself as a writer.
This is not to say that I think other writers of poetry are not “real” writers. I truly believe they are. This is my own crazy thinking and only pertains to me, because what I want to do is write fiction. Never mind the fact that this writing thing happened for me out of nowhere.
Me? Seriously? A writer? *gasp*
I’ve had the hardest time calling myself a writer. I was recently speaking with a friend about the short story I had just written. He said, “Do you believe you are a writer now?” Again, my answer was no. Of course, he lectured me.
Here’s the thing: now that I have finally written and finished my first fictional short story, my thoughts have changed. I don’t want to be just a writer. I want to be a good writer! And, I suppose, in my magic mind, until I consider myself a good writer, I will have trouble calling myself one.
On that note, I really don’t think I have any business giving advice to anyone, considering the fact that I am a beginner.
I will say, as it’s been said to me, “If you write, then you are a writer!”
And please, don’t give up before your miracle happens!