Top 10 dos and don'ts for young writers
The process of becoming a professional writer in the sea of competitors will expose you to various challenges.
Lack of knowledge about writing specific works, criticism from readers, demands posed by an employer, agent, or publisher, and constant need for professional development – these are just a few examples of issues commonly encountered by young writers.
As the result, first years of writing for a living are characterized by inefficiency, lack of focus and belief in writing talent, and effort to copy some famous author.
The chances are, you’re experiencing the same thing right now. Let me help you by giving tips that can show you how to become a better writer, faster.
1. DO write regularly
Many writers out there write every day to draw inspiration and practice constantly. Some of them who have other jobs set aside an hour a day to dedicate to the habit while others just write as long as it takes to produce a story.
Whether you are an employed young writer or you just focused all your efforts on writing, make sure you have this habit as well. It may (or already has) become your job, right? People practice their professional skills continuously, which could be said about writing as well.
Takeaway: set a goal of writing a page every day. This habit will help your development as a writer.
2. DON’T feel your age or experience is a disadvantage
Given that you are a young writer with limited experience, there is a lot to learning in your future. Some writers look at the wrong way by perceiving a lack of experience as a significant disadvantage of even an insurmountable challenge.
If a rookie starts comparing the achievements of a veteran, the outcome will always look bad for the rookie. Perceiving yourself as inexperienced is a bad thing for your career and even gives you a mental disadvantage.
Look at in the right way: your youth is actually a great advantage! You have all this time to learn and our age offers great possibilities!
Takeaway: being a young writer is not a disadvantage at all. You can use it to your advantage when working with potential clients. For example, you can help them to reach young customers because you have all this knowledge about social media, technology, trends, and so on.
3. DO expect it to be hard
Some young writers think that getting into the industry and starting to make revenues is easy. Well, the reality is quite different. You may have the best ideas but you still need to abide by guidelines and rules of editors, publishers, and other people you will be working with.
Moreover, being a writer means working really hard every day. And despite your mom says, failures will happen.
Takeaway: expect your achievement to fall short but stay focused on your ultimate goal. Keep going.
4. DON’T write for money
Yes, you read correctly. Let me explain: both young and experienced writers are paid for their passion. This is because the best works are written with passion, not calculation. A novel is not an essay paper written to pass the course. You write it to excite!
If your reader senses that your desire to earn a million overwhelms your desire to write from your heart, you’ll not going to be successful.
Takeaway: passionate writing is the best-seller. Always write with passion and forget about the market.
5. DO start writing
I had a friend who always feared to start writing a book. She would always be enthusiastic about the start but for some reason, she never followed through with her promises. Every time, she would find some excuse, such as being too scared or too busy with other work.
This is a problem faced by many young writers. They just don’t get started or need a year or two.
Takeaway: Just get to writing! Even if you need to pretend that you’re confident, just start! The confidence will come.
6. DON’T be amateur when submitting your work to an agent
Always try to be professional in this case. Find some advice on the Internet about writing cover letters and synopses and please avoid sounding apologetic and squeamish. Agents want as many good books as possible, and yours one is just what they need!
Takeaway: be professional when you submit your work to an agent. He or she will sense lack of confidence and pass.
7. DO provide support for yourself
At this stage of your career, you need to have as much support as possible. Young writers are easily frustrated by the complexity of work, rejections, and other issues. Don’t let them ruin your career!
Takeaway: have a support team ready! Their kind words will be much needed.
8. DON’T undervalue your work
Most young writers lack the confidence to charge appropriate rates even though they produce a high-quality work. They think that they will gain confidence with time. However, the truth is that you are actually undermining your confidence by charging low rates.
Takeaway: treat your writing as a business. Don’t undermine your confidence by charging low rates.
9. DO read a lot
You won’t become a writer until you are a good reader. Read like crazy, especially when writing your own book. But don’t rush to buy the latest bestsellers to know what publishers need. By the time you’re done, they will be looking for something new.
Takeaway: read when you’re writing, and do it analytically. You can discover great tips for your own work.
10. DON’T underestimate the importance editors
These people can help you to polish your work. When I wrote my first book and gave it to the editor, I was positive everything was good in there. When I got it back, I discovered that editor found almost 100 mistakes. Ouch.
Takeaway: find a good editor before publishing your book. Better to be safe than sorry.