Advice for Young Writers
Every now and then I am asked to give a few tips or some advice on writing to new writers—particularly young writers since I am one myself. I started writing novels when I was eleven. I never stopped. I still haven’t, and I hope I never will. (Yeah, I’m pretty sure I never will; it’s a part of me that won’t let go.)
I published my first novel, The Witches’ Sleep, when I was only seventeen. This was a huge accomplishment for me. Do I wish I could go back in time and work on The Witches’ Sleep a little more, make it a little better? Yeah, of course. But a writer is going to wish that on every piece of work he/she publishes. Because your work should never be perfect in your eyes. You should always be growing and striving to become a better writer than you were before. I just released my second novel, the sequel to my debut, World of the Beasts, and I can tell you from the bottom of my heart that I do indeed feel that I have grown as a writer. I know, though, that I will look back at my second book and think to myself, “Wow, I can do so much better now.”
And that’s okay. That’s better than okay. That’s the way it should be.
Now, without further ado, here are eight things I would like you young beginning writers to take to heart.
YOU’RE NOT GOING TO BE GOOD INSTANTLY
Unless you are a microwavable-instant-oatmeal-
YOU’RE PROBABLY BETTER THAN YOU THINK YOU ARE…. PROBABLY
It is true that we are sometimes our worst critiques. It is also true that we tend to hold on to scenes we love for dear life when everyone else is begging us to let it go.
*Insert Disney’s Let It Go song*
You have to find a balance. Be humble and willing to let go of things that just simply don’t work, no matter how much you love it. But also remember to hold on to things you believe whole-heartedly will work, because you’re probably much better than you think you are (and better than others around you think you are). Remember: Harry Potter was rejected over 20 times.
Just be careful. Find that balance. It isn’t easy, but it’s necessary.
DON’T WORRY ABOUT PUBLISHING
Publishing should be the farthest thing from your mind right now. You may need to spend years working on your skills before you can even consider publishing. It’s a good idea to wait until you are fully confident and others are fully confident in your work to think about publishing. Remember that there are so many different avenues to publishing. It simply is in your best interest to wait to consider your publishing path until your skills a matured.
WRITE WHAT YOU WANT TO WRITE, NOT WHAT’S POPULAR OR UNPOPULAR
Simply put: write what you want to write about. This could be what is popular and over-used (vampires, werewolves, love triangles, zombies, etc.) or it could be what isn’t popular (could be anything one considers unpopular. For me, this is where historical fiction goes, but it could be different for you).
FIND YOUR VOICE LATER
When you start writing, you will imitate other writers. That’s natural. Don’t be afraid of mimicking them right now.
WRITE AS OFTEN AND AS MUCH AS YOU CAN—THEN YOUR VOICE WILL FIND YOU
If you continue to write, write, write, you won’t need to worry about whether or not you “sound like” one author or not. As you continue to grow in your writing, you will develop your own unique style—a voice of your own. So don’t worry about finding your voice. It will find you eventually.
THE WORLD IS NOT LOLLIPOPS AND RAINBOWS
It’s a hard fact that the world is cruel. Not everyone is going to love you—or even like you, for that matter—and you are going to need to have tough skin if you want to be a published author. This is important. Don’t become defensive when someone leaves a bad review or says that your book isn’t for them. Just smile and know that there is an audience out there that likes your book.
People will love you. People will hate you. You can’t please everyone. Learn that now so you don’t get too badly hurt later.
FINISH IT, FOR GOODNESS SAKE!
I know of several potentially great writers who never finish anything. They’ll start a project but never see it through. Why? They became bored with it or were discouraged for some reason. Do not let this happen to you. Yes, you may get a little bored, but that doesn’t mean you should let it go. Push it aside for a week or two, if you must, and then get back to it as soon as possible. Find ways to motivate yourself. Get yourself excited for it again.
FINISH THE BOOK.
But overall, always show love to people and never give up on your goals.
Kaitlyn Deann has been telling stories since she was very young, whether through at-home productions with her cousins and siblings or through verbal tellings. She decided to try her hand at writing when she was eleven, and it became a part of her in an unexplainable way. She fell in love with writing, fell in love with the stories she could tell by simply stringing together a few words. As a writer, Kaitlyn hopes to keep a reader turning pages late into the night and give them something to think about long after they finish the last page. She loves her friends, family, and God. Laughing is her favorite calorie burner. She lives in somewhere, Texas with her family.
Her debut novel, THE WITCHES’ SLEEP, has won the Gold Medal for Readers’ Favorite 2013 Annual Book Contest under the Fiction – Paranormal genre.