There comes the point in life when you look back at what you’ve done, what you’ve accomplished, and what you dream of doing in the future. Life is full of little moments. Whether they are good or bad. If you laid your life out as a story, you could see all of these moments, or scenes. Even the moments when you wish you knew then what you know now.
For fun, I thought about what I would tell my younger self about my writing. Maybe you can see yourself in these as well. I’ve narrowed it down to fifteen points, but I could have continued.
- If you want to write, then write. Man, I could have saved myself a lot of years of waiting if I would have majored in Creative Writing way back then instead of waiting till I was in my thirties. Stop making excuses.
- If it scares you, write it. When I first started writing, I was writing chick lit because I was afraid to write a book about spiritual warfare. But it was on my heart to write fantasy. Follow your heart.
- Set achievable, realistic goals. Start small and work your way up to bigger goals. You hit the easier ones consistently it builds up the discipline to make the larger ones.
- Find a mentor. Don’t wait to find someone who is where you would like to be. Soak up their wisdom. Learn from them.
- Return the favor. Just as you need someone to mentor you, find someone to be a mentor to. Give back to someone else.
- Grow a thick skin. You will not be everyone’s cup of tea. But take the critiques and find some way to grow from it.
- Be disciplined. Write every day. Find a routine that works for you and rinse and repeat.
- Be consistent. This helps you stay disciplined.
- Be teachable. Always be willing to learn, receive, and grow. Look for ways that you can improve in your writing skills.
- Find your writing tribe. Don’t go at writing solo. You need people who love the same books, movies, and interests that you do. These people will understand on a level that no one else will. Make sure there’s a mixed bag of experience. Some that are more seasoned to give you help. Some that just starting out to keep you excited. And some that are where you are, so you can challenge each other.
- Don’t compare yourself to other writers. You have your own unique voice. Use it.
- Don’t be jealous of other writers. Sure, they may be where you want to be. But you don’t know what they’ve had to walk through to get there. This may be their season to reap. It may be yours to take root and build a good foundation.
- Work hard and repeat. This thing called writing isn’t easy. If it were, everyone would do it. You can’t go halfway and expect more significant gains.
- Build your audience as soon as you start writing. Don’t believe the lie that you have nothing exciting to say. If God has called you to write, then He’s already given you all the necessary tools to do it. Find your target readers and hang out where they are. Make connections, and provide value to conversations.
- Never stop reading. I’ve heard so many authors say that don’t have time to read. You have to be where the readers are, and guess what? They are reading. Read books in your genre and find them online. (These will be your readers one day) Read other genres to learn and grow. Read craft books in between books for fun.
Erin R. Howard is a Developmental Editor, Fantasy Author of The Kalila Chronicles, and has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing/English from Southern New Hampshire University.
When she’s not writing, Erin enjoys spending time with her family, fueling her craft addictions, and teaching writing workshops.
Erin is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the KenTen Writers Group. She resides in Western Kentucky with her husband and three children.
You can find more about Erin and her novels by visiting her website. www.erinrhoward.com